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Take the Long View

For at least the foreseeable future and maybe even longer than that, the world has changed.

Many nonprofits have dramatically altered the way they plan and operate. The question we’re asked almost daily is What do you think we should be doing right now?

One thing is very clear: we all must look at this crisis from a long term, rather than short-fix perspective. It should be obvious that talking to your supporters about the same things you talked to them about 2 months (or even 2 weeks) ago is silly and misguided.

Too much has changed.

I’ll bet you’d give just about anything right now to go back to the way things were at the beginning of March when things were “normal.” So, I thought, would I, at least until I came across the following this morning:

Nothing should go back to normal.

Normal wasn’t working.

If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lesson.

May we rise up and do better. (Thrive Global)

Now, mind you, I’m not even sure I agree with the sentiment above. It is a bit pessimistic, isn’t it? But it did make me think about what the lesson is for all of us to learn from this. There’s got to be one, right? If we don’t learn from it, won’t everything we’ve been through have been tragically sad?

Your supporters are looking to learn from this too. That’s why I’m suggesting that your donors urgently need something that they may not be getting very much of right now and that’s hope.

When I talk about hope what I’m really referring to is giving them a “sense” that something better is coming and how they can help. You can do that for your supporters. You really can. How? Well, though there doesn’t seem to be any immediate end in sight to what so far has claimed the lives of over 80,000 Americans (as of May 12), there is hope.

I don’t blame you if you’re thinking to yourself that hope is a cliche. But I’m fairly sure your donors and others would appreciate it if you provided them with a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moment.

Providing this hope, this sense of anticipation of better days ahead, is quite possibly the most important thing you can do right now for your donors and yourself.

This is doable. If you're in touch with your various constituents you should ask them to share stories of positivity that they have experienced. Ask them to share something inspiring that will give people that “hope,” that “sense” of better days ahead.

If you’ve ever seen the musical “Annie,” these words from one of the show’s songs may sum up best how to give your supporters the hope they need:

The sun’ll come out


So you gotta hang on

’Til tomorrow

Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow!

You’re always a day


Call us if you need us. And stay well.

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