Talk to your Donors

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

By Sharon Danosky

What really good fundraisers know – is how to stay close to their donors.  Organizations that raise considerable money put their time and resources toward that purpose.

While people are sheltering at home and hungry for human interaction, it is an opportunity for you to allocate your time to building relationships with those who care about your organization.

We often refer to our donors as members of “our family.”  This is the time that families are connecting; making sure everyone is okay.  Taking time to re-connect.

Use this time to get closer to your donors.  Call them on the phone and have a conversation.  Call a few donors every single day.  First thing in the morning; right after lunch; mid-afternoon; last thing in the day.

When you call them – first ask how they are doing. Then share how you are doing.  Let them know what is happening with people who work at your organization and how your organization is doing.   How is everyone faring?  What is happening with your programs?  What are your organization’s immediate plans?  Be reassuring.  Be authentic.  Show empathy.  And ask them if they would mind if you checked in again in a few weeks.

If they aren’t there leave a message.  A nice one; that is kind and caring.  Not business like – but as you would a friend or a member of your family.

You will develop relationships with your donors in a way that you never have before, while significantly increasing future philanthropic support for your organization.

COVID-19 Stimulus Package

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

The recent stimulus package included resources for Small Businesses, including nonprofits. They range from forgivable loans to bridge loans repayable in 12-18 months, to working capital loans at low interest rates. The links below take you to several sites which describe these loans and how to apply. Also, the Chambers of Commerce are hosting weekly and bi-weekly conference calls where the heads of various agencies provide greater insight. If you are a member of the Chamber, look for these opportunities.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance

Nonprofit Quarterly: How Nonprofits Can Utilize the New Federal Laws Dealing with COVID-19

Funding Resources for Nonprofits

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The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy has been compiling a comprehensive list of coronavirus pandemic resources for nonprofits and funders. CLICK HERE to see the incredible support that is growing — a testament to the outstanding job the nonprofit sector is doing in helping people in this country weather this storm.

Staying Afloat; Managing Risk

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

We are starting to hear a lot about business continuity plans (BCPs). These are an essential part of an overall risk management strategy and can provide a roadmap for remaining operational during a crisis. While many might think this is closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, it still might be prudent to take stock if you have 90 seconds to think about it. According to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center the four building blocks of a BCP are:

  1. A communications plan that identifies all your constituents, what you need to tell them, how to deliver the message and how frequently you should update them.
  2. A list of “Must Do’s” — what your organization needs to keep doing so you can provide vital services or just keep things afloat (these can be as simple as processing payroll or moving to a remote workers policy; or an all-out effort to safely engage volunteers).
  3. Which programs and services must continue and which should you suspend. Within the context of COVID-19, what programs are vital for the welfare of your clients (i.e., food, transportation, healthcare) and which ones could put your community or your staff needlessly at risk. Then consider how will you provide those vital services safely over a period of time?
  4. Finally, how will you resume business once things have stabilized? Yes, this will be over at some point and you should have a plan on how you will resume services and continue your mission going forward.

Skip The Event: Raise More Money

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

A Note from Sharon Danosky

Your donors want to support you. Period. They don’t need an event. But they might need a reason and they need to understand what you are going through and what you need.

If you are currently cancelling or postponing your event this is the perfect time to pick up the phone and talk to your event sponsors. Let them know how much you depend on their sponsorship support and ask them if they will contribute the sponsorship even if you are unable to schedule the event. Do the same thing with people who have reserved tables. You can even send out a request to all those who have or would have purchased tickets.

Let your sponsor/donor know how you are coping. Share what you are seeing on the ground; talk about your efforts to keep your own employees working and what they are doing during the crisis. Bring them into your world and help them understand.  Invite them to check in with you periodically. Let them know how you were able to raise the needed funds without the event because everyone pitched in.