The good news about the COVID-19 crisis

The crisis we’re living through right now is stressful and painful. But one of the interesting side effects is that donors are stepping up with record generosity.

And that means a lot of amazingly successful fundraising.

I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I’ve never seen fundraising results like we’re seeing now!

Let me give you a few examples I’ve heard recently…

Everything is working

We’ve got about 45 clients raising money hand over fist right now. Email open rates are through the roof — as high as 60%. Most organizations are doing better than normal with their e-appeals AND acquiring significant numbers of new donors. Direct mail has been performing spectacularly — double the normal net revenue, and major donor call-completion rates are off the charts. It has all lead to a record-breaking March and April.

Steven Screen, The Better Fundraising Company

Too many responses

An organization I know — not a frontline health or poverty-fighting organization — sent out a crisis direct mail appeal a few weeks ago. Shortly after it was sent, they went over to the post office to pick up any responses, not expecting very many just yet. When they got there, this slip was in their PO box:

Toomuchmail

That’s right — so much response to their fundraising that it wouldn’t all fit in their box!

Zooming to a new record

We’ve raised nearly $400,000 so far this year. To compare, last year was our best year ever — we raised $527,000 — all year.

20-fold more revenue

Historically, our direct mail campaigns bring in around $3,000. Our emergency mailing brought in $60,000.

Broken records

  • Our emergency appeal raised more than £40,000 which is roughly 400% more than we have ever raised from an appeal
  • So far I have received 96 donations, 70 from donors who have never given before.
  • Our crisis appeal looks set to hit $200,000. It has had the biggest and fastest response of any appeal we have run

Some of the many reports posted members of The Fundraisingology Lab members-only community on Facebook.

There is one group that’s suffering terribly.

The organizations that are silent.

Those who believe it’s not appropriate to give donors the opportunity to make a difference in hard times. Who feel fundraising now is exploitive or “tone deaf.”

Their fundraising revenue is somewhere in the neighborhood of zero. Some of them will go bankrupt as a result. Others may manage to hang on through this initial crisis, but loss of donor revenue and the steep increase of donor attrition will echo through their budgets for years to come — and they’ll finally have shut down next year or later.

That’s a terrible fate they don’t deserve.

The good news is, you don’t have to hurt your organization that way.

It’s true some donors are facing financial hardship and be unable to give. But don’t decide what they will do for them! That’s their call, not yours. Respect and love your donors by giving them the chance to make a difference. They will love you back with money and loyalty.


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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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About the blogger

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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