Fundraising in the time of COVID-19: Seven things a Christian fundraiser can do in the next 30 days!

14th April 2020

Right now, you are working from home all the time. Perhaps, you put your Easter fundraising appeal aside and sent out a ‘thank you for your past support’ letter to your donors instead.

You cancelled your exhibition stall at Spring Harvest or New Wine, as well as your meetings with major donors and presentations in local churches.

So, if you are wondering what to do next, here are some things you can do to increase the effectiveness of your fundraising:

1.      Keep telling donors they are important and valued: now you have the time to send some handwritten, personal cards to your major donors, and to write engaging letters, emails and social media posts focused on thanking donors for supporting your cause.

Maybe you can create a series of short impact stories, short videos, image collages, etc that show how donors’ gifts have impacted lives in the last 12 months. You can roll out this content via your thank you letters, emails, and social media channels.

2.      Invite prayer requests from your donors – don’t just say ‘we are praying for you’ or ’we will pray for you’ but check in with your major donors, legacy prospects and other key donors you have ongoing relationships with. Pick up the phone and talk to them, ask them how they are how you can pray for them.

 Create a special email campaign and social media messages that link to an email address or page on your website where donors can send in their prayer requests. Distribute the prayer requests to your team or special intercessors to pray for people and follow up by sending encouraging emails or notes in the post.

3.      Re-work your fundraising plan for the rest of the year. Talk to the partners in the mission field, get stories and ideas from them, identify projects or areas of ministry that might require urgent funding and get on with the task of creating special emergency appeals.

In the last two weeks I have sent out two emergency e-appeals for clients and they have done well – donors have responded generously and the money is coming in, more slowly than usual, but its coming.

If some of your ministry’s programmes and activities have stopped – think about creating appeals that can convey to donors the plans you are making and what you are putting in place for when the pandemic is over. You can still communicate clearly with donors and ask for their help to make vital work happening in the future. 

4.      Create some online content people can interact with at home – you might want to talk to your church partnership team or to anyone else who works on an outward-facing role in your ministry.

Brainstorm together about resources you can create – mission infographics, creative prayer resources, online training sessions, face time videos sharing stories from your mission, Skype interviews with missionaries on location, etc – the kind of things that will help you to continue to raise awareness, prayers, and support for your cause.

5.      Brainstorm together for future fundraising campaigns. Host virtual meetings to brainstorm with team members about your Christmas campaign, Giving Tuesday campaign, any other campaign you might want to do later this the year. I know that fundraisers rarely have time to brainstorm and think and discuss creative ideas so here is your chance.

6.      Learn more about your charity’s projects and programmes – what are some of your ministry workers or partners are doing now that donors might find interesting? How about reading those reports from partners you received in January and you have just looked briefly at?

Identify some key communications that you might want to focus on and spend some time reading them, making notes and gathering insights you can use when you go out and meet your charity’s major donors or legacy prospects.

7.      Research new major donor prospects – whether you are a sole fundraiser in a small charity or a major donor fundraiser in a medium-size or large charity you know how time-consuming this type of research can be. But now you may have some time to focus on this.

You can host a virtual meeting with your charity’s trustees and other key members of your leadership team to identify new prospects who might be interested in your cause, carry out the research about them online and through your connections and set up steps for engaging with them in the future.

Take time now to plan for fundraising in a post-COVID world and bring your plans to God in prayer. You will be glad you did. The chances are your fundraising might suffer from this pandemic now but if you are productive now you will recover quickly.