This post was contributed by GiveCentral.
The impact of the pandemic on the world is nothing short of extraordinary. Every industry functioned differently at the beginning of this year, and the situation right now certainly isn't the kind we expected then. There is an entire shift of environment in offices and nonprofit organizations are no exception to this.
When it comes to fundraising for nonprofits, there has been a lot written about driving social media engagement or strategies to achieve the eventual goal. Work from home has become the new norm and online connections have become mainline.
With 53.6% of COVID-19 donors enrolled in a recurring giving program, this article aims to help nonprofits navigate through fundraising during difficult times. Here are the trends and strategies that are realistic and feasible that may shift your focus.
1. Volunteering Time
This is an ideal time to focus on your volunteer management strategies. Even when your supporters aren't able to contribute financially, a lot of them are still looking to donate their time and a helping hand. While being physically present for a fundraising event may not be practical during social distancing, there are different ways these volunteers can help:
- Preparing, packing, and delivering meals to people in need
- Checking in on elders and neighbors
- Online mentoring and coaching
- Social media campaigns and posts
Time is precious and you should position your fundraising as an occasion that will be worth the time of your supporters.
2. Focus on Major Donors
The world has suffered from the biggest lockdown, but this is the moment where you can reach out to your major individual donors and communicate with them:
- Send personalized emails highlighting the moments of how their donation changed your organization.
- Ask for feedback and let your major supporters tell you how they would like to see your nonprofit grow. They may see other opportunities and present you with a new path.
- Be transparent about your current situation and reiterate how thankful your organization is for their donation.
3. Remote Giving
For most industries, 2020 is the year of going mobile. Shifting to digital operations isn't just a form of crisis management. Instead, it's actually a fantastic way to promote organizational growth and expand your reach to wider audiences. Mobile giving and text-to-give are two of the best ways to promote remote donations and executing your fundraising process.
There are numerous software providers that offer mobile giving tools with a simple user interface and seamless technology, such as Handbid. Think about features that your organization would need such as bidding, gamification, notifications, and live streaming. Then take the initiative by researching software that provides these solutions.
4. Virtual Events
It is normal for planned fundraising to get canceled, but at the same time, returning the ticket amount is not mandatory if you provide different options to your supporters. Once you announce that your event has to be canceled due to the pandemic try to:
- Give your donors an option between taking their ticket money back or donating it for the cause. You will find that many of your supporters will choose this option.
- Find a replacement for your event. Virtual fundraising for nonprofits through online platforms is a growing trend.
GiveCentral, for instance, has enabled a direct donate button on their video conferencing platform which helps the donors to donate easily and without any hassle. Engagement during your virtual event should be given importance — your audience must be able to interact with you throughout.
5. Social Media Campaigns
In order to win at fundraising during COVID-19, it is extremely important to get your social media strategy on point.
For instance, Staples is currently running a #ThankATeacher campaign on Instagram and Twitter. In this campaign, parents of school students nominate a teacher by tagging @StaplesStores and using the hashtags #Sweepstakes and #ThankATeacher. The winner wins $10K in Staples gift cards. This particular social media campaign focuses on making a lasting impression and increasing the visibility of the brand.
It is necessary to identify the type of campaign that would work for your nonprofit.
- Gather your team to brainstorm different campaign ideas
- Re-assert your nonprofit's goals and mission
- Understand your audience
- Promote your campaign
- Execute and monitor the outcome
6. Influencer Outreach
This particular trend might seem like a smaller portion of a bigger campaign. Using social networking platforms and different nonprofit groups, identify and reach out to different nonprofit influencers and request them to talk about your cause on their social media handles. When you approach the right people, they would be more than happy to help you.
Influencer outreach opens up doors in a number of ways:
- Promoting your specific fundraising campaign
- More visibility and outreach to a new community
- Increase in the number of audience members
- Opportunities for future collaboration
7. Sensible Communication
As you talk about your campaigns and giving methods in newsletters, emails, and social media, make sure that your content is appropriate for the current time. Address the situation that the world is in and how we all need to stick together.
Thank your donors and ask about their well being. If possible, give them information on how the nonprofit industry has been impacted by the pandemic and how your organization intends to work towards the betterment of the situation. Then proceed with your ask and appeal:
- Use thoughtful images and videos
- Personalize all communication
- Give concrete details about a cause you need to be funded. For example, new blankets, office supplies, or gas cards.
Fundraising for nonprofits can still be made fun and engaging with the right strategies. You can keep reading and researching about different nonprofit strategies for difficult times that your nonprofit can adopt and put to practice. Looking for the perfect solution to solve all problems will be a hard task, but as nonprofit professionals, there are goals that need to be met and missions that need to be fulfilled.
Guest Author: Vish Vass
I believe in helping to perfect the act of giving. In the process of helping nonprofits fulfill their mission through the power of GiveCentral, I've had immense learning that I would love to share with my fellow professionals. Modernizing nonprofit fundraising with the use of technology is my core focus, blending with the trend helps in bringing about the necessary growth.
Senior Vice President and Managing Director at, GiveCentral