Stay responsive

March 31, 2020

As the Coronavirus continues to impact lives, and the emerging economic situation hits home for individuals and families, the best action you can take is to stay in close contact with your supporters and constituents.

This is a time to communicate even more – and do not stop fundraising.

Even if your nonprofit isn’t on the frontlines of helping Americans overcome this crisis, your cause is still relevant. Your cause is still worth funding. The communication and fundraising you do today will help ensure that your organization will continue to exist and thrive to serve your mission on the other side of this health crisis.

Remember these tips to keep your fundraising and communications relevant:

  • People want to know you’re in this with them. Make sure messaging is responsive and acknowledges the situation we all face. If a subject line or message could have been written two weeks ago, or two years ago, re-think it. Demonstrate credibility by being willing to reach out. Be outgoing.
  • People are seeking information. Keep people up to date. Don’t hesitate to share what you know, and then share it again. Be a connector to trusted or helpful resources, even if they don’t originate from you.
  • People are seeking predictable routines. As more communities comply with social distancing measures, it can lead to frustration as routines fall away. As appropriate, let donors know when they can expect updates or communications from your organization, and then follow through on that. Be a prominent part of the new normal.
  • People are seeking comfort and reassurance. Whether you’re working on the front lines, and can assure your constituents that you are working hard to support people’s health, or perhaps you’re an arts organization, and the performance season that was your lifeblood was interrupted, but you still share a beautiful online moment to remind people that art is still here to enrich our souls. Ultimately, your donors want to know that you will be there when life returns. They still want to be connected to you, and to be a part of sustaining you. Be the content you want to see in the world.
  • People are seeking connections. Whether your role is as an expert, or as a provider of an escape for overwhelmed minds, approach your communications as a person, a friend, a helper, a human. This is not the time to look or feel corporate. Be present for people.
  • Keep your program moving forward. Continue to plan your next mail campaign, with messaging that is appropriate for this time and place. Work with your fundraising partners to develop timelines that are crystal clear about when you can make final adjustments so messaging stays of the moment. And in the meantime, expand your digital footprint with more emails for cultivation and fundraising.

And remember, we’re all in this together. As Fred Rogers said, “look for the helpers”. Right now, that’s you.

Stay active. Be reliable, relatable, and credible. Keep your audience close and keep your mission alive.