The Covid-19 pandemic is new territory for all of us. There are many unknowns and uncertainties. And we are still in early days. 

However, there are key indicators that non profits should take into account as it relates to fund development:

  • Donors and prospects’ daily lives are being affected in drastic and unprecedented ways. 
  • The stock market has crashed and we are likely bound for a recession. 
  • This crisis is likely to last through Q3 and have lasting repercussions through Q4 or even beyond.

Regardless, your organization’s work was important before pandemic erupted — and still is. The key is that you are communicating that role authentically with donors and prospects in a variety of ways.

I break it down like this:

  • Some organizations are directly involved in crisis response efforts. You are getting food to hungry kids who have to stay home from school. You are doing outreach to homeless communities. You are bridging healthcare gaps here in the U.S. and in countries where you work. You are pivoting your resources or expertise to respond directly.
  • Some organizations are indirectly involved in crisis response efforts. You are advocating for vulnerable populations like immigrants, refugees or imprisoned populations.
  • Some organizations may not be directly involved in crisis response, but are absolutely impacted. You are trying to carry on your important work, but have been derailed by the crisis.  You are taking your advocacy efforts online and you are organizing virtually.

No matter the category you fall into, you have an important story to tell and you should be telling it.

If you haven’t yet, please create a fundraising and communications task force. This group should:

  1. Develop messaging points for how you authentically describe your efforts as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Plan a weekly touch calendar. How are you communicating your role? How are you giving donors and prospects agency during this time of social distancing? Can you provide concrete actions for them to take — like Amnesty is doing to advocate for refugees and asylum-seekers? Can you provide brand-worthy distractions — like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live daily medit-ocean? Can you provide a clear case for giving during COVID-19 — like BRC providing essential services — including healthcare — to 3,000 homeless people in NYC a day?
  3. Finally, plan to have your plan change. This crisis is moving quickly and you likely will need to adapt your tone and asks accordingly.

We are indeed living through uncertain and anxious times. But that’s why transparent and authentic communication is critical right now.

We can do this.