As you are planning for the unknown day after day, I continue to hear stories of inspiring messages and acts of caring. Please continue to share your social media posts, website updates and ways you are supporting your community.

Today’s pivot fundraising FAQs are about planning for the unknown:

Planning for the Unknown

Question 1 – Nonprofits that Aren’t Providing Emergency Resources
Can you give an example of what a nonprofit organization hugely effected by their closure but not providing emergency resources is doing? If our mission isn’t able to be acted on, but we face a massive financial crisis by closing, how can we best communicate with our donors?

Lori’s says:
I have to give an answer I don’t like: It depends.

• On how many staff your organization has.

• On whether or not you have any cash reserve built up.

• On the clarity of your vision, mission & solid core programs.

Some organizations are holding virtual events to be ready when the crisis ends. Others are holding online donor stewardship experiences. More on these next week.

Some of you are regularly giving your donors & volunteers specific ways to give time, talent, stuff, or money. Others are desperately working to figure out how to raise money with no staff and uncertainty about planned events.

Here’s an excellent example of pivoting from the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. They can no longer allow members to use their facility, so they’ve suspended membership fees – BUT they are inviting members to contribute the monthly membership amount to their emergency fund.

Their inspiring call to action is: Become a Cause-Driven Member Today.

The bottom line:

Planning for the Unknown in times of crisis

1. Make your plan for how to pare way down.

2. Share updates with your donors about that plan.

3. Invite contributions.

4. Put a face to my impact if I give now.

5. Please share how your budget is changing. Share you money story.

6. Pick. Up. The. Phone. – Enlist board members, former board members, other donors to reach out to your supporters. Find out how they are doing and share a short update with them.

Question 2 – New Tax Law Fundraising 
Curious how are you incorporating the new charitable deduction tax laws into donor communication?

Lori’s says:
If anyone says they have an answer to your question about how the tax laws are affecting giving, they are making up an answer. Not enough time that has gone by to understand how the health crisis will affect charitable giving. Nor do we know enough about WHAT is affecting people’s giving habits right now.

After working through both the 2001 and 2008 financial crises — many people DO give. Some will give less. Others will give more. And don’t forget, political campaigns inspire billions in financial contributions with no tax benefits, whatsoever.

We are truly in uncharted waters. My advice is to follow the best practices of inspiring communication, especially gratitude. Don’t forget to stay focused on: what do you want people to FEEL, DO & BY WHEN, as you craft your communication.


Four spaces availableYou’ll receive four 1:1 one hour long coaching sessions with Lori for your COVID-19 fundraising & communication plans.

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