To say that this has been a challenging few weeks would be an understatement. As things change by the hour, we are having to make evolving personal and professional decisions. The “normal” life as we’ve known is uncertain and has drastically changed in just days as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts our community and the world. Fundraising and philanthropy is just one of many sectors being impacted at unforeseen levels.
Healthcare organizations and hospitals are deeply affected, as this is a healthcare crisis that has not been seen before. Patient visits are off the table. Galas that unite our most passionate contributors have been cancelled. Many of our donors and friends are in the most deeply impacted population and at risk. Doctor, nurses and healthcare staff are facing unprecedented challenges and our partnerships are furthest from their mind.
The virus is especially hitting universities, as many have transitioned to e-learning only and closed campuses for visitors and events. March Madness, the hallmark of spring for college and universities nationwide, has been cancelled. College fairs and open house events designed to recruit new college freshmen have been put on hold indefinitely.
Advancement officers and those who work in fundraising across all sectors are seeing COVID-19 change the way we do our work. Employees are being sent home and many organizations are not allowing one-on-one donor meetings. Cultivation and stewardship events are being cancelled or postponed and fundraising campaigns already in process are being re-examined in light of the economic impact of Coronavirus.
While we all face an unknown future, especially over the coming weeks and most likely months, it’s important to realize that the good work you do to cultivate relationships and future fundraising success does not need to stop. And while donor visits and fundraising events may be cancelled, so much of what we do as fundraisers is not cancelled.
- Phone conversations with donors and prospects do not need to be cancelled
- Hand-written notes are not cancelled
- Emails and passing along articles to donors and prospects are not cancelled
- Relationships will not be cancelled
- Writing and telling stories virtually about your organization’s impact does need not be cancelled
- Listening is not cancelled
- Caring is not cancelled
- Online learning and professional development need not be cancelled
- Writing donor strategies is not cancelled
- Working with your natural partners to strengthen best practices is not cancelled
- Reviewing and cleaning out your portfolio is not cancelled
- Reading a great blog or article is not cancelled
- Adding strategic time blocks to your calendar to ensure you are focusing on your most important work is not cancelled
- Your organization’s good work is not cancelled
- The impact your organization has on the community is not cancelled
- Focusing on our future good is not cancelled
- Hope will not be cancelled
How you choose to utilize this opportunity is up to you. While a pivot of this extreme is new to many of us, the core foundational elements of our work are not.
Use this opportunity to build relationships and expand your professional development. Strengthen your phone skills for all levels of the donor pipeline. So much of our good work can be done over the phone and many of our prospects will have more times for those calls. Reach out to prospects and donors and ask them how COVID-19 is impacting their life. Write the stories that you may not have had time to share. Thrive in a time of uncertainty so you can emerge stronger than before.
Our organizations need our strengths, strategic mindsets and continued diligence to the causes that matter most. We will survive this time of crisis, just as we have with those that came before.
KDD Philanthropy can coach your fundraising shop remotely (both individually and your teams) to build your teams toolbox. Topics include qualification and donor meetings via phone, Skype and Zoom; portfolio management; creative and impactful stewardship and driving written strategies that work. We also offer virtual coaching and professional development while travel may be suspended. Contact us today.