Last week we presented ways to pivot your fundraising to serve your needs in a crisis. This week, I’ve made a short list of the five most frequent bits of damaging misinformation we are hearing from our clients about fundraising in these days of the Coronavirus epidemic.
On the surface, you’ll understand why people who haven’t thought carefully believe them to be true. But one after another, I’ll set you straight with the TRUTH.
5 Coronavirus Fundraising Myths
Not only are these opinions misleading, if you take them seriously, you will do your organization a huge disservice.
Myth 1: People Don’t Have Money to Give
TRUTH: Some people have more money to give now.
While it is true that the stock market is in turmoil and the world wide economy is more uncertain than at any time in recent history, it is NOT TRUE that people don’t have money to give.
Most people at retirement age continue to have consistent income from their social security and their retirement funds. Though the value of their holdings may have tumbled precipitously, their bank accounts have not. In fact, when people stay in, as people are doing these days, they spend significantly less money. All kinds of expenses have gone down – eating at restaurants, car expenses, entertainment, and clothing, to name just a few.
While some of your donors may not be in a position to give now, a good many of them may be able to give more now (and want to give more now) than ever.
Myth 2: It’s Bad Taste to Ask Now
TRUTH: It’s never bad taste to invite people to help!
Since when has it been deemed bad taste to ask people to help in times of crisis? We know that people want to help in times of crisis! And you should be giving them opportunities to do just that!
It’s bad taste at any time to shame people into giving or to tell them what you think they should do. But it’s never bad taste to let people know how they might help and give them an opportunity to do that!
Myth 3: Your Organization Doesn’t Serve an Important Need
TRUTH: If your organization served an important need in the past, it serves an even more important need now during these difficult times.
Just because your organization doesn’t serve a critical need in the current crisis like providing healthcare or making sure people have food and housing, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you matter less. In fact, this is a wonderful time to reconsider the relevance and importance of your organization.
In normal times, it’s all too easy to take the relevance of your organization’s mission for granted. But now, in this topsy-turvy world, you have a chance to remind yourself of why your organization matters and what you can uniquely do to support your community in this time of crisis.
You may even find a new-found relevance that you hadn’t realized before.
Myth 4: Donors Don’t Want to Hear from You Now
TRUTH: Your donors will be happier to hear from you now than ever before.
Your donors are at home. Their lives have slowed down. And they’ve been forced to be apart from their normal communities. You are likely never again to have a better opportunity to get in touch with your donors. They will be happy you thought to connect.
Take this time to find out how they are doing:
- Are they safe?
- Are they healthy?
- Are they anxious?
- How are they passing the time at home?
Share with them what your organization is doing to serve your community. Tell them how you have reshaped your program and what plans you are making for the future. Tell them a good story about how your organization made a difference in someone’s life.
Myth 5: You Should Stop Work on your Capital Campaign
TRUTH: Don’t stop. You’ve got important campaign work to do!
Though you shouldn’t go about your campaign business as usual, you should not put your campaign and your project on ice. You’ve got some important things to do for your campaign right now.
Call each of the people who have already made leadership gifts to your campaign. Find out how they are doing. Talk to them about their campaign pledges. If the fall in the stock market resulted in their gift being worth less than they anticipated, let them know. If they have outstanding pledge payments, ask them if the schedule they decided on will still work for them.
Explore the opportunities the new situation might offer. Your project costs may go down. You may be able to borrow money at extraordinarily low rates. Call your campaign committee together to look at your options. Rather than delaying or postponing your project, you may find that this is the time to speed up.
Once you have a plan, start talking to the donors still in your pipeline. Find out if they are willing to talk with you about a campaign gift now or if they’d rather wait.
5 Reminders to Ground Your Fundraising During the Coronavirus Crisis
We’ll close with these five reminders to keep your fundraising on track throughout this unprecedented crisis.
- Make a special gift to an organization you care about.
- Reconnect with your organization’s mission. Why does it matter even more now?
- Care more your donors than your bottom line. If you do, your bottom line will be just fine.
- Always look for specific opportunities for your donors to give.
- Tell your donors what their gifts make possible. Then ask them to give again.
Managing Your Fundraising Campaign in Uncertain Times
Stability has a way of lulling people into complacence. When the stock market is strong and donors are happy, you probably don’t imagine that in not much more than the blink of an eye, that stability can be shattered. And when that happens, the best laid plans for your capital campaign will seem uncertain.
Download our FREE eBook
This essential guide is designed to help you raise funds throughout the COVID-19 crisis (or any other crisis).
- Practical advice to keep in touch with donors
- How to deal with economic instability
- The best ways to continue fundraising through the crisis
Download your free copy today to help you navigate the current crisis with confidence.