Why suspending your fundraising now is the worst thing you can do

Tell me if you’ve heard a nonprofit leader say this about raising funds during this crisis:

People are scared and financially hurting. Asking them to donate now is just plain mean! There’ll be a massive backlash with many, many donors vowing to never give to us again in their lives! Our entire fundraising program could collapse!

There is no evidence that this is happening or ever has happened in past times of crisis. In fact, organizations that are out there with clear fundraising messages are typically doing better than normal.

Yes, many donors are hurting right now. Some may not be able to donate. Or donate less than usual. Or defer their giving to a later time.

But that’s their decision. Not yours. Don’t arrogantly make the call that they can’t or won’t give. Go to them with clarity and respect (as you always do), and some will say no, while others will say yes. Same as always.

Your donors are your donors because they care. Give them the opportunity to do something good.

If you are afraid your fundraising program could collapse, shutting down your fundraising now is the most likely path to that possibility. The money you don’t raise now — the donors you don’t engage with now — will not come back.

Your silence now will be a big hole in your revenue that will affect every year for the next seven years or more.

Going silent now, while you’re nervous and things are uncertain, is the worst possible move you can make.

Believe in the importance of your cause. It mattered before the crisis. It matters during the crisis. It will matter after the crisis.

And believe in your donors. Those are the people who get it. They want to make a difference, even if some may be less able to.

Shutting down means they can’t be the heroes they are. Fortunately for them, someone else will be there with the opportunity. The revenue will go somewhere. Just not to you.


Comments

4 responses to “Why suspending your fundraising now is the worst thing you can do”

  1. Shannon Avatar

    Thoughts on print pieces v. online. We’re moving mostly online, but I’m concerned about going several months without doing any kind of print pieces… even if it is during a time of the year when we usually do less mailing (summer months).

  2. Shannon Avatar

    Thoughts on print pieces v. online. We’re moving mostly online, but I’m concerned about going several months without doing any kind of print pieces… even if it is during a time of the year when we usually do less mailing (summer months).

  3. I have already taken three non profits into virtual fundraising using peer to peer virtual fundraising platforms. If you have email lists and caring supporters, it will be a success. It works and it shocks me how many organizations are missing the boat. Anyone sitting around waiting will be sorry very soon as others move fast, gain supporters and raise needed funds.
    This is as close to a no-brainer as I’ve ever seen in my 35 years managing fundraising campaigns.

  4. I have already taken three non profits into virtual fundraising using peer to peer virtual fundraising platforms. If you have email lists and caring supporters, it will be a success. It works and it shocks me how many organizations are missing the boat. Anyone sitting around waiting will be sorry very soon as others move fast, gain supporters and raise needed funds.
    This is as close to a no-brainer as I’ve ever seen in my 35 years managing fundraising campaigns.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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