COVID 19 has turned our world upside down and lead to uncertainty amongst all; right from a daily wage earner to SME, to the white collar employees, to the biggest conglomerates. It’s a global crisis and even charities and Non profits are fearing a huge impact on their work. They are concerned about the reduced donations. You would have probably come across soothsayers, claiming years of dedicated social work experience saying..
“ We should cancel our fundraising appeals and not ask people to donate. How can we even imagine our donors making a donation, when they are already stretched?”
“Our fundraising campaigns will fall flat on its face. Let’s not waste our precious resources on fundraising, instead we should conserve our resources and relaunch later”.
This is reacting to the crisis, while what we need is a well thought, considered and structured approach.
It may happen that some donors may overlook our appeals, some may be affected, so they may decide to postpone their giving, some may give a little less than what they would normally give, but there would be others who would appreciate what you are doing and would give more… They would give more because they were looking for opportunity to help, and your fundraising appeal gives them the right opportunity.
It may be worth bringing forth the TWO GOLDEN RULES of FUNDRAISING
Firstly, Never assume things, without looking at the data, and
Secondly Never stop asking. You don’t know what your donors could give. Period.
I have heard from quite a few charities that “ Fundraising in crisis is putting money down the drain. Let’s go back to writing grant proposals and forget about small donors..”. The statement is a huge presumption on the back of inflated ego and arrogance. Nothing could be further away from truth.
There is no data to that donors don’t give during crisis. On the contrary, then are piles of evidences available to prove that donors give more.
The reasons are very simple. The donation received is a direct outcome of nos. of asks and in the times of crisis the nos. of donations per ask goes up, because people understand that there is need, they see it on television, they read about the suffering in the newspaper, and THEY WANT TO HELP.
Through your fundraising campaign you give a chance to people who wish to reduce the pain, and suffering of the disadvantaged lot… They donate because they want to heal the world.
To do list for your “fundraising standing tall during COVID 19”.
- Launch a very focussed appeal with clear communication.
- Ask everybody and ask again and again till the time need is there.
- Bring cause to the centre of your appeal.. Drop your fancy jargons. If you are giving meals to the daily wage earners, please talk about “ Giving food to poor people, who have not had anything to eat for days” instead of “ Providing fortified calorie balanced diets to marginalized and impoverished on verge of starvation”
- Focus on the needs of your community with which your donor can easily relate to, rather than talking about something happening 500kms away. Donors pick up, what they can relate to..
- Talk about what you are doing, not about what you “would like to do”
- Use action pictures* in your appeals where people are receiving their meals instead of two suited guys smiling in front of “ 3000 tonnes of Relief materials ready for distribution”
- Kick up your communications, bring bulletins, send updates, post pictures of your field work…. Your donors should see your action in the field.
- Involve donors, ask for volunteers to support, reach out to community, get to local businesses, invite media, seek help…. The more the nos of people you involve the more successful would be your fundraising.
NEVER TO DO List.
**Never presume that your donor can’t give. Nothing could ruin your fundraising other than your presumptions
Kunal is the founder of Centre for Fundraising ( www.centreforfundraising.com ) and www.donatio.in . He is an active consultant for fundraising, branding and communications, with non-profit clients across India, Middle east and South East Asia.
Photo credit: Rise Against Hunger India
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