Donor engagement COVID-19 style

Ever since my state’s coronavirus stay-at-home went into a effect in mid-March, it has been raining webinars in my email inbox. And with time on my hands, I decided to participate in LOTS of them. However, more than a month later, I think I’m finally a little webinar-ed out.

Interestingly, I think almost every webinar presenter drove home the point that regardless of whether your non-profit is on the front-lines or not, you should be “engaging” your donors during this pandemic.

I recently started a side gig working 8-hours/week for an organization doing some resource development work. I thought it might help keep my skills sharp. So, as I started thinking about how to help my organization “engage” its donors more deeply, here is what I cam up with:

  • We’re now sending out a Constant Contact e-update with coronavirus motivated content every Monday using donor-centered verbiage and content
  • We’re now posting every day on our Facebook page and sharing that mission-focused content to other popular community Facebook groups when appropriate
  • We put a script together and asked board members to make “Checking In To Say Hello” phone calls with key donors
  • We recently pushed out a survey asking donors to weigh-in on important questions that will impact how we move forward once the stay-at-home order is lifted (e.g. how likely will they be to attend events, are they comfortable using video conferencing services, what does charitable giving look like for them over the next 12-months, etc)

The response has been good. Donors really seem to appreciate these efforts. And why wouldn’t they? After all, fundraising professionals are always telling donors how they are “part of the family.” And isn’t it a natural inclination for many people to reach out to family during difficult times? I think so.

OK, there are so many rabbit holes I could go down with this blog post, but I am going to stop here. I’m simply going to resist pontificating on the how’s and the why’s associated with this topic.

Instead, I’m inviting all of you to use the comment box to share what other “donor communications strategies” you are employing or see others doing. And how are you personalizing those communications strategies?

We can all learn from each other!

Erik Anderson

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