After all these weeks, ‘business as usual’ still isn’t. Fundraising plans that once seemed strategic no longer seem relevant. Which is why I’m writing a lot on Clairification about what to do during this extraordinary time. I’ve also hosted two live Q & A on Zoom for Clairification School students, and am doing it again today. We’re going to be hanging out more these days because… it’s important!!! Not enrolled yet? Now’s a great time to join in and connect with your peers.
Meanwhile… why not dig into some of these amazing resources I’ve collected for you across the web? I’ve read everything I’m recommending and wouldn’t share it if I didn’t think it was useful. Lots of wisdom to help you mitigate the pain now and prepare for the day when things evolve to a new normal. Crisis has a way of forcing us to re-evaluate what’s important, and what’s not. Seize this opportunity to innovate, adapt and tweak what you’ve been doing so you’ll come out on the other side even stronger than you were before.
Also take some time to pat yourself on the back. You are making the world a better place. This was true yesterday. It’s true today. It will be true tomorrow. You are on the front lines of enacting values other people care about. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be your supporters. So please keep the faith in your vision. I promise you, it is one that is shared.
What you do matters. A lot.
It is my privilege and pleasure to help you do with as much joy, optimism and effectiveness as possible,
P.S. Many thanks to Bloomerang for sponsoring the Clairity Click-it. Please remember to bookmark the Ask an Expert page — my fundraising advice column on their website! Ask your question here and see this month’s How to Balance Your Nonprofit’s Budget in a Crisis and How to Communicate an Event Cancellation.
Clairity Click-it, Your Nonprofit Ticket to…
SPECIAL CATEGORY: Tips for Not-So-Normal Times
Click-it: How to Let Donors Know New CARES Act Offers Deduction Opportunities. Changes made by Congress encourage increased giving to nonprofits feeling the strain of operating during this pandemic. But the majority won’t find out about these incentives without your help. See how to encourage donors to take advantage in my new article on the Bloomerang blog.
Click-it: Avoid the 3 Biggest Mistakes of Fundraising in a Recession. Mark Pitman, The Fundraising Coach, reminds you not to cut off your nose to spite your face. Don’t assume people don’t want to hear from you right now, and don’t make communicating with them impossible because you’ve laid off development and marketing staff. These functions are mission essential right now for nonprofits – at least if you want to make it through this pandemic and economic downturn.
Click-it: What would Warren do if he were a fundraiser? Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now, is right on point here quoting Warren Buffet: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy. when others are fearful.” This is a time to be bold with your fundraising.
Click-it: How a Monthly Giving Program Helps in Times of Crisis. I’ve been advocating for years to have you add a monthly giving program into your mix of fundraising strategies. Why? Because it increases donor retention by leaps and bounds. In this article for Sumac, Erica Waasdorp explains why now happens to be the perfect time to build your program.
Communications and Marketing
Click-it: The Letter You Hope You Never Have to Send. Joan Garry wrote this to help you in the times we’re in. But her “Every Communication is about Audience” template is evergreen. As is the recommended, immediate follow-up.
Click-it: How to Let Donors Know New CARES Act Offers Deduction Opportunities. In this article written for the Bloomerang blog, I explain new ways to encourage tax-deductible donations — right now! – to your nonprofit.
Click-it: Heartbeats and Remarkables of Nonprofit Communications. Vanessa Chase Lockshin, The Storytelling Nonprofit, explains how to make your communications stand out as relevant.
Click-it: How to Fine Tune Your Marketing for Relevance During Uncertain Times. The folks at Stelter are masters of planned giving marketing, yet this advice holds true for all your communications right now. Get some great advice about messaging, frequency and more!
Click-it: From In-Person to Digital: How to Host a Virtual VIP Dinner. Some great ideas in this post from NeonOne. How to show you’re creative and think outside the box.
Click-it: 6 Ways to Engage Peer-to-Peer Participants and Increase Donations for Your Virtual Events. Learn from Cathexis Partners how to get others to sign up to fundraise for your organization’s event, even when you can’t hold it in person.
Click-it: 4 Steps to Secure Emergency Grant Funding During the COVID Crisis. Opportunities abound from all sorts of funders, including donor advised funds. How do you find them? The Qgiv blog hosts Dana Textoris for this practical article to help you get a piece of this important emergency funding pie.
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: How to Talk to Your Donors in COVID-19 Times. Whatever you were raising money for before, that was then. Andrea Kihlstedt, Capital Campaign Masters explains how to pivot now. It’s excellent advice for the times we’re in.
Online Fundraising and Marketing
Click-it: Communicating during a crisis: Ideas for staying connected through email. This post on the 4aGoodCause blog highlights five specific examples of emails that work during the times we’re in, explaining specifically what’s good about them. You’ll find one which I highlighted on my blog (see here for greater detail). Additional communications strategies are also suggested.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: The One Thing Every Executive Director Needs Right Now. Joan Garry, Nonprofits are Messy, always has terrific advice. This tip is positioned for EDs; I happen to think it’s applicable broadly to other constituencies as well. You’ll see what I mean (I hope).
NOTE: You’ll find more of my own ‘what to do in this crisis’ articles on Clairification (just scroll to the bottom of the Click-it).
Click-it: 5 Harmful Coronavirus Fundraising Myths [Watch free on-demand webinar]. Agree 100% with what capital campaign guru Andrea Kihlstedt has to share in this message on the Bloomerang website.
Click-it: How To Design and Lead Interactive, Inclusive Virtual Meetings [Register for free webinar, 4-28-2020]. Join Renee Rubin Ross for this timely episode of the Bloomerang webinar series. She will share and practice simple virtual tools to lead meetings that get participants sharing ideas, interacting and moving towards investment and action.
DOWNLOADABLE GUIDES & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
Click-it: Notes from Nathan: 3 Things to Do [Listen to quick, on-demand video]. Nathan Stelter, Stelter Co., shares some essential, simple ‘to-do’s.’ Sometimes the basics mean the most.
Click-it: Nonprofit Fundraising and Events Coronavirus Survival Guide. You can postpone your events, convert them into giving day celebrations, convert them into virtual events, or try something completely different. The folks at FlipCause go through each option, including how to navigate refund conversations, in this awesome, actionable virtual event conversion guide. There are even templates for having conversations with supporters!
Click-it: 3 Phases of the Coronavirus Crisis and How Your Fundraising will Improve and be Stronger as You Move into the Third Phase [Listen to free video]. Listen to Steven Screen, The Better Fundraising Co., encourage you to follow experience-based best practices. Ask now, while we’re in the ‘bump’ and not the ‘slump.’
Click-it: COVID-19 Resources [Download free research and guide]. The folks at Merkle have pulled together key news and emerging trends and paired it with insights, arming marketers with vital information they will need to navigate this unprecedented time. Find industry-specific research and insights – including for nonprofits specifically.
Other Articles: The Beat Goes On
Click-it: Newsletter Headlines That Work. This is a useful article packed with great ideas you can borrow and tweak for your organization. From Steven Screen, The Better Fundraising Blog.
Click-it: What the purpose of your newsletter SHOULD be. Steven Screen, the Better Fundraising Co., shows you how to create donor-delighting, money-raising newsletters.
Click-it: What’s Wrong with this Donor Newsletter? Spot-on advice from Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now, about the importance of thinking from your donor’s perspective.
Click-it: 5 Simple Words Will Make You a Better Fundraiser. Roger Craver explains the power of seeking critical feedback on the Agitator-Donor Voice blog.
Strategy and Management
Click-it: How Edginess Can Be a Nonprofit Virtue. We’re taught patience is a virtue, yet sometimes the opposite can be true. In this article for the Bloomerang blog I write about how innovation can be a huge competitive advantage. In times like the ones we’re in, sticking with the status quo, or moving slowly, can put you in in danger of becoming irrelevant.
Other Learning Opportunities
WEBINARS & ON-DEMAND AUDIO RESOURCES
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: The Game Plan: Winning the Planned Giving Conversation [Register for free webinar, 4-29-2020]. If you’re unsure what to say when talking to a prospect for a legacy gift, this presentation from Stelter, with Bob King, J.D., Sr. Philanthropic Advisor, Children International and Dalia Pineda, Director of Advancement, University of Houston Bauer College of Business, is sure to be helpful.
Click-it: How to Captivate and Engage Constituents with Your Website [Register for free webinar 4-28-2020]. This may be a terrific time to focus on making your website more compelling and user-friendly. Join Jay Wilkinson of Firespring to get practical tips and researched best practices. His webinars are always action packed!
Major and Legacy Giving
Click-it: Legacy Fundraising: The Best of Times or the Worst of Times? [Download free white paper]. Dr. Russell James and Michael Rosen, M.L.Innovations, collaborated on this excellent guide to legacy fundraising sponsored by Mal Warwick-Donor Digital. It holds true for good times and bad, yet is especially relevant right now as people are planning more than ever how to take care of their families. It’s a great time, actually, to be doing legacy fundraising. Yet it’s crucial to be sensitive to people’s fears and not lead with the subject of death.
Click-it: Visual Planned Giving: An Introduction to the Law & Taxation of Charitable Gift Planning [Download free book]. This introductory book from Dr. Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP, addresses all major topics in planned giving law and taxation (updated for U.S. 2018 tax law) and features over 1,000 full-color illustrations and images that guide you through complex concepts in a visual and intuitive way. Thanks to Market Smart for making this available.
Trends and Strategy
Click-it: Coronavirus and Economic Challenges: What History Tells Us and Steps Forward [Download free whitepaper]. The Veritus Group shared this paper from The Moore Group covering what has happened to giving during economic and social shocks of the past. It also charts a way forward that will help you frame your fundraising efforts.
Did You Miss My Recent Articles?
Here are links to the most recent articles on the Clairification blog. I think you’ll find these fairly practical. Hope so!
- Should Your Nonprofit Participate in #GivingTuesdayNow?
- How to Discover Your Unique Coping Strategies
- Should Your Nonprofit Legacy Program Be on Hold?
- No-Nonsense Strategies for Nonprofit Crisis Fundraising
- Anatomy of a Coronavirus Nonprofit Email + Thank You
- Coronavirus Fundraising: Steal these Ideas!
REMINDER for Clairification School students: Don’t forget to log in to your “My Clairification/Subscriber Dashboard/Monthly Tips” to grab your exclusive, timely tips for each month! If you’re not yet an enrolled student, you can get in on the fun here!
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