Hard times for fundraising? It’s largely up to YOU

When the pandemic started, many nonprofits hunkered down and went silent on their donors. They said, This is a difficult, scary time, and we should not burden our donors with our fundraising.

Not everyone though. Some organizations doubled down on fundraising, because the pandemic really created additional need — either because of lost revenue or because increased need for their services. Or both.

Those who went silent raised nothing.

Those who connected with donors mostly had recording-breaking results.

Now, as the pandemic wears on — shrinking or even ending in some places, growing in others — many nonprofits are now crying coronavirus fatigue!

They’re cutting back, cancelling (or continuing their silence) because they think donors are “tired of hearing about the pandemic.”

Guess what: Those who are still connecting with donors are still raising funds. The numbers aren’t quite as astoundingly huge as they were in the first months, but they are mostly still good. Better than usual for this normally slow time of year for most.

What does this tell us? Well, as Fundraising Coach says: Donor generosity is astounding.

Nonprofit leaders and fundraisers are skilled at making excuses for not asking people. “This isn’t a good time” or similar thoughts crop up. These thoughts seem to make so much sense. We see awful news on the TV and social media feeds that justifies our “wait and see approach.”

The truth about donors is this: They want to make a difference.

And They give because they want to give. Giving is not an unwelcome annoyance. Giving part of a lifestyle that’s healthy, satisfying, and success-oriented.

Donors know that.

But a lot of fundraisers don’t.

If you get real about donors and stay in touch with them in relevant ways, you are going to do well.

Early indications are that this spring has been a financial disaster for fundraising in general.

But it has been an historic high-water mark for those who have stayed active.

You can choose the path you want!

It’s true that donor interest in specific topics waxes and wanes. It’s likely that we are heading toward a time of lower-than-normal response — that’s usually what happens during recessions.

But the smart response is never “Just be silent.”

Connect with donors. Be relevant. Show them love. Be clear and strong and urgent.

And let the donors decide whether or not to donate.

Shutting down your fundraising means you are making the decision for them.

That’s arrogant.

And very expensive.


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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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