A physician was once seeing his patient, the principal of his high school alma mater. Asking how the school was doing, the principal shared they were trying to raise money to improve classroom technology. The doctor asked, “How much would that cost?” to which the principal replied, “We think around $50,000.” At the end of the appointment, the doctor offered to write the school a check to cover the full cost. Surprised, the principal asked, “Are you sure?” “My friend,” the doctor replied, “if someone says they want to give you $50,000, don’t ask them if they’re sure. And yes, I’m sure.”
True stories, like the one above, should tell us that there are generous people in the world who want to give back. A pandemic may change a lot of things, but this fact remains. Still, from both current and past clients, we have learned that COVID-19 has presented a challenge to reaching their annual giving goals. Here are four strategies to consider for preserving – even growing – support through annual giving during this time:
- Keep asking! Though it may seem like a foregone conclusion, sensitivity to donors’ circumstances in the wake of COVID-19 must not dissuade you from asking for their continued support. In fact, Lending Tree’s recent charitable giving poll revealed that those whose jobs were negatively impacted by COVID “were among the most likely to donate.” You may be both sensitive to your donors and sincere in asking for their support.
- Use a small, specific initiative as a gateway to attract new recurring gifts or to invite increased support from current donors. Though your organization may have many needs, consider choosing one to highlight – such as classroom technology from the above story. Perhaps more than usual, people understand the need to support nonprofits. The same Lending Tree poll revealed that during COVID, some Americans (9%) made a one-time donation to a new organization and others (5%) initiated a recurring gift to a new organization. By promoting a specific need, even a one-time gift or short-term pledge to it will offer you the opportunity to grow that relationship into a long-term one.
- Realize the power of personal invitation. After more than two decades and billions raised, Steier Group knows that the most powerful appeal is made person-to-person. Enlist the help of your most dedicated community members to personally reach out to others to ask for their support. Having equipped them with the information they need and empowered them to advocate for your organization, your volunteer’s personal contact will overshadow the letters your donor is receiving from other organizations.
- Let us help. If you are a church, consider Steier Group’s Church Stabilization Appeal services. If you are another type of nonprofit, our team remains committed to helping all of our clients reach their fundraising potential. Please contact us and we’d be happy to talk with you.