Like many people around the country, Kate Leone, Feeding America’s Chief Government Relations Officer, has recognized that the “network of member food banks across the country are witnessing unprecedented and sustained increases in demand for charitable food assistance.” Much of this increased demand for food has been a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but shows no sign of slowing down post-pandemic.
These heightened levels of food insecurity around the country will sustain for decades due to factors that existed even before COVID ravaged the nation. Leone explains that “families are making impossible decisions between paying the rent and putting food on the table while food banks are working tirelessly to keep up with the increased demand.”
Back in December, the federal government passed the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provided $400 million in funding for food banks. However, food banks, like the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, are concerned about what the future holds when the deal ends. Brett Meredith, the CEO of CFBCA says that they anticipate a 50% decrease in stock later in 2021.
With all of this said, food banks have received an influx of support from individual and corporate donors-many of them first time participants. While this increased level of support is critical, so is retaining these first-time participants. When the pandemic fades, food insecurity is still going to remain. However, as more and more people are vaccinated each day, some fear that the systematic awareness that this pandemic has brought to food insecurity will drop off. So, while keeping busy with incredible demand, along with increased supply of donor participation, how are food banks expected to handle this with the future in mind?
"Families are making impossible decisions between paying the rent and putting food on the table while food banks are working tirelessly to keep up with the increased demand.”
Food bank leaders and employees are being pulled in many different directions at once. They are busier than ever, which means that meaningful administrative tasks fall by the wayside. At Gravyty, we provide the tools necessary for these fundraisers to efficiently complete these tasks like relationship cultivation, gift acknowledgement, and other stewardship duties, while preserving the personalized nature of these actions. From this, first-time donors become repeat donors and no one within the organization’s donor pipeline is forgotten. Every single donor or prospect is accounted for and managed personally.
One of our partners, the Gleaners Food Bank in Indiana, has seen an influx of over 7,500 first-time donors, and they are able to acknowledge and cultivate these individuals personally, while also weathering a 106% increase in demand for food with the purpose of ensuring that these first-time donors return to support next year.
How is it all possible? In our on-demand webinar, Debbie Russell of Gleaners Food Bank shows us how her team efficiently manages stewardship at scale during one of the busiest years in history for giving for food banks. Download for free today.