As we in the United States enter a new, more open phase of the pandemic, Mark and I are wondering, “How fast will the rubber band snap back to business as usual when it comes to fundraising?”
In our latest study on midlevel giving, we found that the pandemic accelerated growth of many midlevel fundraising programs — with organizations devoting a significant amount of investment in stewardship and cultivation of these critically important donors.
If you missed it, the study was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy last week.
What remains to be seen are what tactics and investment will persist beyond the pandemic.
Many organizations who participated in the study had strong fundraising years despite the economic uncertainty wielded by the pandemic — as folks not directly impacted financially doubled down with their giving.
But whether these donors will stay donors or continue giving at their pandemic-level is not known. And retention is top of mind for every midlevel fundraiser with whom we spoke.
When it comes to cultivation, the bar pre-Covid was really quite low. But during the pandemic, fundraisers were able to make a case for increased staff to steward an influx of midlevel donors. They were able to redeploy public facing staff and volunteers to thank and engage midlevel donors. And they took empathy to great heights — checking in on donors who were struggling through wildfires, Texas winter storms and, of course, the pandemic.
Groups are going to need to make sure we don’t disappoint donors who may have gotten accustomed to a certain level of cultivation and stewardship.
Intimate-feeling cultivation at scale should not be a post COVID casualty.
For more insights from our midlevel study, download the full report here.