It was almost an entire year ago that I packed up my office essentials and transitioned to working from home.
Admittedly, like many of us, I thought we’d be back in no time. A year later, I still share my office with my wife, three kids and three dogs.
The impact of the pandemic is widespread and will be long-lasting. For most of us, our lives have completely changed. Outside of fear and grief, we’ve experienced disruptions in almost every aspect of our lives—including, but certainly not limited to, our work.
How is your organization rebounding from the initial impact of COVID? So far at Stelter, we’ve learned…
1. WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE PLANNED GIVING MARKETING.
We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: The organizations that best weather economic storms plant seeds years in advance.
Asset-based giving is a powerful, long-term solution, and can help your nonprofit not only survive, but thrive in trying times. In fact, this sentiment is being proven right now. Donors are evaluating their estate plans, and many of them are looking to carry on their legacy by including a nonprofit. Organizations that are staying the course and marketing planned gifts are receiving promising real-time response.
To learn more about the gravity of planned giving, read “How to Make the Case for Planned Giving: 3 Fundraising Truths” or watch our webinar with philanthropic guru Russell James, “Raising Major Gifts of Assets During a Pandemic.”
2. HOW TO HAVE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS WHEN FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS ARE ON HOLD.
Getting real with donors in this virtual age is a challenge, but it’s not one we can’t overcome. Here are some ways you can continue to show up for your donors during this difficult time:
Focus on the “why.” Planned giving can tend to emphasize the how (i.e., gift vehicles). Now, it’s more critical than ever to focus on why your donors care about your mission, not how they can support.
Keep flexing your empathy muscle and let your guard down. This time at home has broken down some professional barriers. Take advantage and show your donors your human side; they’ll be glad you did.
Be a trusted advisor.
Offer assistance and provide resources that can help donors, when they’re ready, with any planning questions.
Be a storyteller.
Share stories of the great work your organization is doing during this time of need. Highlight examples of the investment donors, like them, have made in the past that are making a difference today.
3. HOW TO BETTER STEWARD YOUR DONORS FROM ANYWHERE.
No matter what the current climate is, stewardship remains of utmost importance. Here are some not-so-traditional tactics to continue to engage your supporters:
Send a personal postcard or even a video, “just because” or in lieu of your in-person annual event. View the video we made for our clients back in April, just after the onset of the pandemic.
Set up virtual town halls featuring essential administrators. Keep loyal, longtime donors in the know about how your organization is making an impact right now.
One of the best tools to create a two-way dialogue with your donors is survey. Content consumption and interaction have seen dramatic increases since lockdowns began. Surveys allow you an easy, noninvasive opportunity to extend your discovery.
Be social (as in social media).
Many of us use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., as a means for connection. Meet your donors where they are and regularly update them on the channels they use most.
To aid your engagement efforts, we’ve created this Donor Meeting Planning Guide just for you. Use this resource during your donor/prospect calls to have more productive and insightful conversations with your supporters.
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
Prepare for your next big call with our Donor Meeting Planning Guide and tell us how it went! Are there any tried-and-true questions or conversation elements that you swear by? Share your experience with us in the comments.