Virtual-Fundraising Tips During COVID-19

And bam! Just like that we have all settled into the “new normal” of COVID-19, ready to chart a clear course for successful major gift programs in the months ahead. Our brave non-profit industry leaders have many balls in the air and often not enough time to think about how to ramp up momentum for securing major gifts. Here are 3 simple steps to building a robust major gifts system in this new era of virtual fundraising:

Know where your organization stands and set realistic goals.

Many NPO’s have upcoming events and special appeals already scheduled. While it is hard to predict the future, organization leaders need to focus on the end game — factoring into their timelines the impact of this pandemic andadjusting major gifts goals and strategies accordingly in order to stay on course.

Look for open windows of opportunity.

Can or have you already identified new sources of potential gifts? Perhaps a new foundation has awarded funding support, or an individual donor has stepped up to help bridge funding gaps. Now is the time to re-align and re-design your major gifts strategy with your organization’s most loyal supporters. Consider launching a new monthly giving club or a 1:1 major donor challenge match. Many of my clients have realized new success with challenge matches because they offer what all donors desire: a set goal, a timeline for giving, and a tangible purpose.

Don’t let the virtual setting weaken your game plan.

Fundraising is a business. Carve out time to plan a mindful approach to this new virtual style of donor outreach. Think creatively about how to establish a personal yet professional setting to keep donor meetings on track. Compile virtual collateral kits to send within 24 hours of scheduled meetings. Produce a compelling video clip or slide show that tells the story of your organization’s proactive response to the pandemic. Prepare talking points well in advance. Establish a time frame for the meeting and stick to it. Always take time in the beginning to ask how the donor is doing. This is not small talk, but your best way to connect authentically. Be sure your appearance and virtual background appear as professional as possible. Most importantly, if a virtual “ask” is on the agenda, strategically plan who will deliver it and how. If the purpose is cultivation or stewardship, listen for clues of increased interest, and plant seeds to keep the dialogue open in the weeks and months ahead.