We’re being asked a lot lately what other nonprofits are doing during this time. Let us answer it this way.
Consider the following scenario:
Non-Profit Staff Meetings During March/April: It would be insensitive of us to ask our donors for a gift this Spring. They’re probably not going to give until this pandemic goes away. Let’s just wait this thing out and then we’ll let them know how we handled it (and ask for a gift too).
March/April Donor: I wonder how my favorite charity is handling this coronavirus crisis? Gee, I haven’t heard anything from them. No call, no email, no letter informing me of what they’re doing. I wonder if they’re going to be sending out an appeal asking for money? I sure would appreciate hearing from someone in the development office. I’m really surprised by their lack of communication. Don’t the people they serve need support more than ever right now? I guess not. Oh, well. Let me open these letters I’ve gotten from these other nonprofits.
At Rescigno’s we know that there’s lots of suffering going on right now. But what we also know is that it’s those organizations (and people too, for that matter) who persevere that come out stronger in the end. In the fundraising profession, that means trying not to get discouraged to the point that you don’t do anything.
Right now people need hope. You can provide your donors with that hope through the communications you send them. Tell them how you are addressing the needs of those their gifts have supported in the past. Tell them about the strain this crisis is having on your ability to continue to provide that level of service.
There’s nothing wrong with being honest. Your donors will respect that and many will want to help now because they will clearly understand the need. Some may not be able to and that’s ok. Others, though can give and will.
But our best advice is to do it now. Keep your donors closer to you than you ever have before and, as always, if you can do it within the framework of a story, all the better). That’s what others are doing.