FUNDRAISING DURING TURBULENT TIMES
5 Things to Consider When Needing to Raise Funds During Economical Challenges
The world as we know it is changing, and with change comes varying degrees of impact. One thing we know for certain amid the COVID-19 pandemic is that social activities may forever be altered. The effects of these reformations will most certainly have a tremendous impact on non-profits and other charitable groups that rely on fundraising efforts to support their philanthropic endeavors. While society is still navigating these uncharted waters together, it is important to remain proactive under these current circumstances by pivoting, planning and executing. Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” We couldn’t agree more Mr. Einstein, and we look forward to the possibilities that await!
With that we would like to offer several things consider when needing to fundraise during turbulent times:
1. Don’t rush your audience.
Remember, your current and future supporters are also experiencing global times of uncertainty. While 1% might easily continue to support non-profits, a large percentage of the remaining population is concerned about the ambiguous state of forthcoming job and financial security.
2. Make decisions based on regional/world events and what is best for your organization.
"Can my event be done virtually or digitally?"
"Can we conduct the same or similar social events with far less people and still raise the same amount of money?"
"Do we postpone to a later date or cancel?"
"Would moving or changing our event date create a risk of losing money already out of pocket such as deposits?"
"If we reschedule for this year, will it be too soon for many of our supporters to feel comfortable gathering with hundreds of people (especially our senior citizens)?"
Know what is going on in your local context and outline all of the facts before making any firm decisions. Take into consideration the pros and cons and create a strategy to minimize risks, especially those that could result in financial loss.
3. What does my event look like when it does happen?
"Do my ticket prices and sponsorships levels need to change?"
"Should I still combine the big dinner, awards, or auction with my other main event (like golf, gala, walk/run)?"
It is important to research other formats for your main event and (especially) to get creative. Consider a golf-a-thon which only requires participating from 20-40 golfers to raise the same amount of funds as you would have raised with 144 golfers. As far as auctions and opportunity drawings are concerned, fortunately the technology that is available to us today provides a multitude of options for putting fundraising at your fingertips. Auctions, both live and silent, can be done online and can be separate from your main event. If you already have auction items that expire this year, don’t give up on them… get them online and up for auction sooner than later.
4. Strategize with your board and committee and then relay the updates to your supporters.
Collaborate within your organization to create a message that is solid and orderly before making any sort of public announcement. Make sure that the facts are the same across all forms of communication – whether it be email distribution, social media posts, website updates, or personal phone calls – consistency is critical. Clearly convey why you made the decision(s) regarding your event and be sure to let your supporters know about any subsequent activities they can expect for the remainder of the year and in the years to follow.
5. Lean on your production partners and vendors.
If your organization is lucky enough to have partnered with a production team to help you put on a successful fundraising event, work with them to come up with creative options. Remember, they do what you hired them to do on a recurring basis and are skilled in their talents. They have the industry insight and should be keeping up with current trends and new ways of orchestrating events. Pick their brain and alter their scope of work as needed.