Stepping into the Fundraising Void
Okay so every event you planned has now been cancelled or postponed well into the future. How are you supposed to raise funds to continue your mission?
For many nonprofits, events are the engine that provide the lion’s share of funds needed to be effective. A shortage of funds during this crisis doesn’t need to be the end of the world. You may not be able to make up all the funds, but you surely can get enough donations to keep the doors open and your constituents served.
Many nonprofits are not maximizing the online opportunities to stay in front of their donor base, their members and their volunteers. The dismal conditions in terms of the virus, the deaths and the economy have thrown a great malaise over otherwise very sharp and creative fund raisers. If you are depressed, you cannot see the forest for the trees. The solution, at least a temporary one is right in front of you.
The news is consumed with COVID19 and the battle to contain it. Every day we are bombarded by the numbers, the shortage of this that or other important items needed and the deaths. It is bleak.
Your organization needs to be among the reports of not enough. If you do not have a public relations arm to get coverage in the media, you need to do it yourself. You need to flood the internet with who you are and what you do for your constituents and clients. Are they not as important? Your story needs to be on all the social media platform you can access. Not just the usual Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but also LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is ripe for fundraisers. Your position and profile give you entrée into a vast universe of business professionals of every stripe. There are groups of people who connect based upon their status such as CEOs and Executives, their industry such as legal, accounting, medicine or science and even their alumni networks. You need to explore those avenues and put yourself in front of them.
Your first goal is to get recognized by building connections. With a little bit of research, you can find important individuals that can become your entry point to their networks. For example, I have been utilizing LinkedIn for many years and have thousands of connections, and my connections have millions of connections. You see how that works. If you hit the right note you will get your message shared and reposted to LinkedIn groups you have never reached before.
Beyond getting connections you can post stories, articles and news about the great things your organization is doing and gain followers. Use vignettes and personal testimonials that focus on your importance to your clients in their current state due to Coronavirus. And yes, you can make direct appeals and drive donors to your donation pages.
All of this can be done very inexpensively but you must have a plan, a strategy and a schedule. One and done is not the way of online.
The frequency, timing and content of your posts, on all platforms, is a fine balancing act between being productive and being just plain annoying. As fast as you can build connections or a following, you can lose them just as quickly. Posting regularly is key, posting to different groups and platforms at different days and times will keep you from being over exposed. Finding the balance may require the help of a professional because you don’t want to damage a solid effort due to inexperience. You know what you know, but don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I will share a personal example to encourage you and let you know that donors are out there and paying attention. Years ago, my family established a family fund with the Long Island Community Foundation and contribute to it annually. A few of us were so moved by the news, various appeals and online requests for donations that we were prompted to make two gifts in support of the frontline doctors, nurses and hospitals. A small thing, but it proves if you reach the right audience you will be successful.
You need to adjust to the dramatically changing landscape of society if you are going to continue your mission, serve your clients and constituents and outlast the crisis to emerge in a better place.