Your charity has years of experience talking with would-be donors, so you understand people’s diverse reasons for giving or not giving. Many times, a no stems from a financial need or the potential for a future need. This makes sense. What’s different in 2020—and the foreseeable future—is that these money uncertainties aren’t so much the exception as they are the rule for many. Still, in order for your nonprofit to endure, you need some ways to network with donors during a pandemic that are both effective for you and caring for them. Continue on for some ideas that’ll help.
Assume an Empathy-First Posture
To begin, filter all of your messaging through a lens of empathy. Scrutinize each newsletter, putting yourself in another person’s shoes before hitting send or mailing it out. Challenge your assumptions and check how you generalize based on your own experience of the pandemic. Acknowledge donors’ plights and give space on your social media accounts for them to talk through their experiences.
In general, focus intently on them. This is one of several ways to gain donor trust so that, even if their giving falls off as they lose income, they may come back later on because they felt respected and cared for.
Reconfigure Your Planned Events
Charities rely on big, in-person events to sustain themselves. Because those are no longer possible as intended, charities face down the following question: How do we have valuable face-to-face conversations with donors? You crave human contact, so they need creative solutions. Rather than getting a coffee, you can host a virtual coffee chat to check in with donors. Instead of a service day, you can advise to people how they can do good in their own neighborhood and then report back on their experience.
Social media will take on a whole new level of importance as well. With in-person contact not as viable, the immediacy of socials makes them the next-best options for responding in real-time to donors’ questions and concerns.
Tell Them How You’re a Force for Good Right Now
Our final way to network with donors during this pandemic is to talk about the good you’re doing in the midst of this crisis. Some people may be okay financially and eager to make smart use of their donation dollars. If you are on the front lines of this health and economic crisis (perhaps you run homeless shelters), communicate the urgency of your mission and how each gift allows you to provide more support.