Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Fundraising during lockdown... It seems so strange to be thinking about this again. We'd all hoped this would've been done by now right?
You may well have had your New Year activity mapped out and planned. You may be wondering if you should still go ahead with your events, appeals and campaigns
Here are my top tips for thinking about your activity in the coming weeks.
Your supporters still want to support you. Remember that phrase same storm different boats? This is the time when many people will look outward and see what they can do to support others. The sense of community during the first lockdown was unparalleled. I’m hoping if nothing else, that same pulling together feeling comes out of this lockdown too.
Be sensitive. Having said that, there are going to be a lot of people who are just trying to weather the storm. This is the time for understanding, messages of kindness, and stories of positivity. What can you share with your supporters that may bring a moment of relief from the lockdown, or perhaps raise a smile and a moment of joy. Your social media, your emails, getting on the phone to your supporters. Be there for them with no asks, no requests – just being human. And if a supporter calls to cancel a donation - please treat them with a little extra kindness and thanks. They're probably feeling really guilty, so instead make them feel amazing for all they have given to your charity.
Your supporters may need you as much as you need them. A virtual event such as a quiz (ok maybe no more quizzes!) may be the break in routine a family were looking for. A Zoom coffee morning and chat may be something isolated supporters desperately need.
What else can you offer? Do you have children’s activity packs or learning resources? Can you make those freely available? Reach out to your school supporters and let them know you have lesson plans. You may help an over-worked and stressed teacher. Get a piece of paper and scribble down everything you could offer.
If your charity needs help, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s your job as a fundraiser to ask. But in a time like this, it’s your job to ask honestly, truthfully and sensitively.
This beautiful quote from Lisa Sargent has been ringing in my ears, and I couldn’t have said it better.
Be vulnerable. Whether you are writing a fundraising appeal or a thank-you letter, you should adapt the tone of your message to reflect what people are experiencing and how they are feeling, says Lisa Sargent, a fundraising copywriter and donor communications consultant. “What I tell people is, you say the bravest, truest thing that you can,” she says.
This is quoted from an article on Philanthropy.com You have to subscribe to read, but it’s free to do so.
Bring your teams together. This is not the time for 1001 asks. If you can, minimise the number of asks (ideally down to one) and clearly share what your supporters can do for you right now. And then empower each team or fundraiser to make that ask to supporters. If you’re running the next phase of an emergency appeal, this is not the time to ask community groups to do a cake sale. Ask them to spread the word. Can they put a link to your appeal in their emails out to members? Can local residents or special interest groups on Facebook share it? Your community supporters and volunteers are valuable because they are a link to many other people. Their gift to you is getting the word out.
This post started as a thread on my Facebook group for Public Fundraising Specialists but became too long for a post. We're continuing the conversation there. Please do come and join us and connect with other fundraisers who work in individual giving, community and events.