This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a new series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
Over the last three months, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What now?” multiple times as you’ve navigated the struggles and challenges that come with our current economy. That moment of panic is never comfortable, especially when an overall strategy is uncertain.
Now that we all have some experience in this ‘new normal’, fundraising leaders are emerging and communicate those strategies to their fundraisers. Finally, we’re collectively pivoting from panic and setting out on a deliberate course of action. As these changes come down the pike, it’s useful to consider what leadership is thinking about. Consider these points as you and your organization pivot from panic.
Identify Changes to the Fundraising Workflow
When change is afoot, I always find it helpful to take inventory of precisely what is changing. It keeps me focused on the new objectives and goals. It’s motivating to openly acknowledge that what I’m doing is different, hard, and something that I’m committed to for the sake of driving future success.
The gift officer’s process is changing greatly in today’s world. For example, face-to-face meetings and travel -- those are two routine aspects of the job that are unlikely to come back as we know them. And, fundraising events are often amazing opportunities to build or deepen relationships -- but as those move to virtual events (or canceled), gift officers will have to embrace a more digital workflow to continue bringing in donor revenue. As we enter the post-COVID environment, there are sure to be more changes on the horizon.
Say Hello To Your New Goals
Just two months ago, appeals were being sent, asks were getting ready to be made, annual giving days were this month. But the economic impact of this pandemic has altered many donor’s capacities to give as much as before. Goals will change and the majority of us don’t have an economic model to tell us exactly where these new goals should be set.
As you receive new goals, rather than being overwhelmed, mindfully focus your attention on the actions you control. How can you direct consistent and meaningful engagement with donors and prospects to move toward those goals? What feedback can you give leadership if you are falling behind or uncover an opportunity? Can you help them better understand how to achieve success amid the pivot?
Get Out There & Bring Value To Your Donors
Many organizations have realized that they are in a position to provide unique value to their donors during these difficult times. For example, colleges and universities have transitioned to offering amazing job resources for young alumni. Nonprofit organizations have created amazing content that’s kept us engaged, informed, educated, and entertained throughout this crisis, in addition to serving our most vulnerable populations. Hospitals and medical institutions have literally kept us alive.
In this pivot, remember that it’s OK to brag a bit about your organization’s value during these times. Can you quantify where each dollar goes, develop statics showing your unique impact on your community, or celebrate wins? Donors and prospects who can help want to, and they’ll want validation that their dollars are going to a cause they value.
Make it Personal
Automated newsletters and mailers are filling donors’ inboxes right now. But are they receiving the personal attention that inspires new relationships and drives giving? Keep in mind that you, as an individual fundraiser, are the greatest asset your organization has right now. Your personal appeal can be the difference between a gift that makes an impact or a mass-marketed message that sees little return. Use your phone, email, or even video conferencing if you prefer. You got this!
As your organization pivots from panic, you have an opportunity to become the best gift officer you can be -- no matter where you are in your career.
If you’d like to talk with me or the Gravyty team about how we’re helping customers stay nimble during this difficult time with fundraiser enablement, powered by artificial intelligence, click the button below to get in contact. We’re happy to show you how the right mix of strategy with the art and science of fundraising can elevate your efforts.