13 May We are Thinking of You
Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones during the pandemic and to those who have lost jobs, businesses and resources over the last few months.
We are grateful too for the tireless work of doctors, nurses and first responders throughout the country who put their lives on the line each day so that others might live.
We at BCC & Associates are thinking about what the fundraising landscape will look like once we return to a more “normal” posture. What trends will emerge? What practices will change? How will campaigns be conducted in the future? Our take on these and many other issues will be shared with you in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we’d like to offer a few tips on fundraising and stewardship that you may find useful.
Above all, we wish you and yours good health in the days and months ahead. Amidst all the gloom painted in the news each day, stay positive. This too shall pass.
1. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DONORS, YOUR MEMBERS AND YOUR VOLUNTEERS
- Use various platforms to update your most committed friends about how you are dealing with the crisis and don’t be shy if this is impacting your bottom line.
- Remember that most of your donors are AT HOME, and many are alone. Communicate with them by phone, email, text or regular mail. As you are doing with family and friends, do the same with top donors, volunteers, leadership and membership.
- Your CEO should communicate personally with your board and key stakeholders and thank them for their wisdom and strategic guidance, as well as support. Be sure to share with them your crisis management plans and get them to sign off on what you are proposing or to provide advice on what should be done. Use your executive committee if you need immediate decisions.
- Appeal to your house file if you have a need directly related to the pandemic; be sensitive to the plight of many, but aware that Americans always rise to the occasion in times like these. Be mindful there is a difference between being opportunistic and exploitive.
- Adopt the WWII British mantra: “Stay calm, carry on.”. Stick to your mission and the fundamentals of fundraising.
- Let your donors know details of the CARE Act and how it can impact their charitable giving immediately. Please make sure you consult your legal and/or financial counsel if possible.
- Survey your foundation donors for opportunities to submit special requests if appropriate. There is a call now for foundations to increase their percentage payouts to non-profits. You could be one of them.
2. Use the time to plan, update materials, and perform prospect research on prospects but make sure you have a plan to meet your annual operating budget first. It is important as a message to use with your donors, if you are projecting a shortfall and deficit.
3. Numerous organizations and firms such as AFP and American Philanthropic are hosting regular webinars on how to deal with this crisis from a fundraising perspective. They are well worth the the investment of time.
4. Consider moving all events, or certain portions of them, such as auctions, onto the Web. In most cases you should not return any advance commitments, but be sure to ask your sponsors, underwriters and donors to consider fulfilling their commitments — preferably through a personal contact.
5. Meet regularly with staff via Zoom or other platforms to discuss current actions as well as to discuss your organization’s and their personal action plans in the post-Covid-19 environment.
Again, all best wishes from BCC for health and safety as we all navigate this crisis. Contact us for any need whatsoever. We are here to help.
Mike Brodie, Managing Partner