Covid-19 and fundraising one year on

24th March 2021

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the first lockdown in the UK to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Over the past year, I have shared regularly via emails, on LinkedIn and Facebook about giving trends, the data CAF and Stewardship have collected, and the strategies that are working for my Christian charity clients.

Today I will share some insights on how to strengthen fundraising in the weeks and months ahead.

Sharpen your charity’s key messages and your organisational case for support to address questions like: “why partner with us? why give now?”

Explain why your work is especially important in the turbulent times ahead.

Communicate how you are prioritising your projects. How you are using funds wisely. How you are partnering with other organisations and local communities.

Don’t be a prophet of doom and gloom. If you are facing difficult financial times ahead do not base your appeals on the danger that you will have to close if the supporters don’t give now. 

Few supporters are likely to want to give to a charity that might close its doors in the next few months. 

Share the stories of your mission partners. If you have mission partners who are contributing funds or volunteering locally share their stories in your emails and newsletters.

Help your supporters see that they are part of a bigger team and you are in this together with the communities you serve.

Don’t ignore the challenges of the pandemic. Your supporters are thinking about it. Some of them might have lost loved ones. Others might be worried about their jobs or their children’s future.

Show empathy, acknowledge the donor’s pain, and shower them with gratitude for their generosity and commitment to your work. 

Be intentional in showing supporters how their donations are being used. Don’t send out generic thank you’s. Be as specific as possible. “You gave a teenager like James a chance to return to school. His first day will start next week!”

‘If you can’t fix it, feature it.’ Do not tiptoe around the challenges your beneficiaries are facing. Do not speak in niceties and paint pretty pictures.

The opening paragraph in every letter should scream “mothers like Samia hurting, they have nothing to give to their children.”

The opening words over the phone should be “I hope you can join forces with us in this venture …”

The first words in your Zoom meetings with major donors should be “income is down and we desperately need you to stand with us TODAY.”

Look after your donors, make them feel good, and go the extra mile to offer the best service you can.

Love your donors, pray for them, and bless them.