6 Keys to Successful Fundraising During a Pandemic and Financial Crisis

April 10, 2020  |  Richard Gabrintina

The developing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will have long term impacts on the day-to-day operations of every business sector in America, including nonprofits. Many organizations are being compelled to pivot and adapt their strategies, often at the last minute, such as implementing working from home or switching to virtual events. Carrying out mission-driven work is more important ever, and raising the funds to keep it going remains a critical task.  

Last week, EveryAction put together a four-part webinar series to help nonprofit organizations adapt to these unusual and uncertain times. Melissa Wyers, Executive Director at EveryAction, hosted the “Raising Money and Staying Sane during a Pandemic and a Financial Crisis” webinar, which addressed how fundraisers can adapt their messaging and transition away from in-person communication. Here are some quick highlights from the webinar, and you can watch whole video on-demand for in-depth discussion of these points and more.  

1. Don’t stop fundraising 

Giving is a value choice as much as it is a financial choice, and most donors want to be part of the solution right now. Keep asking, but ask smarter - let your donors decide whether and how they want to give. 

2. Be flexible and have realistic expectations 

Keep in mind that the path to recovery won’t take place over night, and plan around that as much as possible. Make backup plans and expect to have to pivot some of your strategies based on unpredictable events. 

3. Update your messaging 

Your communication should not be about you or your organization. Instead, focus on your donors and how your work is relevant to their life right now. 

4. Stewardship is more important than ever 

Don’t just ask for money, increase donor retention by using regular, personalized messaging. Recognize the impact of their past contributions and remind them how grateful you are for playing a big part in your organization. A personalized touch can go a long way during these isolated times. 

5. Use data to get a predictive edge. 

Analyzing your own donor data can help increase the likelihood of a donor upgrade. Especially in sensitive situations, making the right ask at the right time is critical, and your data can tell you what and when to ask.  

6. Upgrade one-time donors to sustainers. 

Sustainers are especially valuable during uncertain times. Identify your best sustainer prospects, ask them to upgrade across different channels, and thank them when they do to increase long-term value and build a reliable income stream.  

Looking for more in-depth knowledge on how to best fundraise during a pandemic and financial crisis? Watch the full-length webinar, “Raising Money and Staying Sane During a Pandemic and Financial Crisis,” to get all the information you need to raise more money, gain new donors, and increase the value of existing supporters. Still want more? Read our Nonprofit Funraising During Uncertain Times guide and check our resource library for nonprofits adapting to COVID-19 to gain even more insight.