In these unprecedented times, our meetings have been cancelled and our routines upset. We’re focused on our livelihoods, taking on the role of teacher for our kids, checking on our loved ones, and mentally adjusting to social distancing. Many organizations are realizing this might not be the best moment to conduct traditional fundraising asks. This does not mean your Fundraising Department needs to shut down. Here are 7 (Important) things you can do to stay productive at home.

  1. First, and most important, is to reach out to your donors. For once, you know you can catch them at home! Call and ask how they’re doing and share how your organization is dealing with the pandemic. A quick chat can go a long way to maintaining a relationship. Text and email can work too, depending on how the individual usually likes to communicate.
  2. Review your policies. This task is so easy to put off when you’re running from meeting to meeting and responding to a flood of email. That’s why now is the time to review these policies that are the foundation of your development department. Consider reviewing or creating policies for donation acceptance, planned gifts/bequests, third party fundraisers, and investments (just to start). If this is too easy move on to your board manual.
  3. Create or update your stewardship plan. With or without a pandemic, you always want to show appreciation for your donors. You can never thank them too much, as long as it is genuine. Review this plan at least once a year. Include an evaluation method for each section so you can actually track what makes your donors feel the most appreciated. Add at least 10% of new ideas every year to replace ideas that are worn out or don’t connect with donors.
  4. Keep scheduling meetings! Use video conferencing for meetings that need to happen now, but also get meetings on the calendar for summer and fall. Scheduling will be overwhelming when we can all leave the house and you want to make sure your donors already set time aside for you. Also, when you reach out to schedule it gives you another opportunity to touch base with them.
  5. Try out new technology. If you’re like me, you appreciate technology once you know how to use it but getting to that point can be frustrating. This is a good time to test out features on social media, donation apps, virtual meetings platforms, video grams to your donors, and so many more! Ask a co-worker to assist for some social time.
  6. Beef up your marketing materials. Who has been using the same brochure for the last three years? I bet there are some things you could change. Look at your key materials with fresh eyes, gather updated stats, write or ask for a recent testimonial, and find fresh pictures. Send a draft to friends, family, and some of your major stakeholders as an informal focus group until you get the content just right. Feeling inspired? Keep going and review your website and social media plan.
  7. Catch up on research. To be an expert in any field, you have to stay up to date on trends and new ideas. Now is the time to read that book, explore articles about a new giving pattern, compare your organization’s data to national statistics, learn about tax/regulation changes, or arrange a video conference with some of your peers and swop ideas.

We’re all trying to do the best we can with limited resources. If you would like help figuring out how you can be productive through this time, please contact Dr. Ivy R. Buchan to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss options at ivy@helixllc.org or call 717-857-7432.