Fundraising Lessons Learned From Haiti
The response from donors following January's earthquake in Haiti came in fast and furious — to the tune of tens of millions of dollars flooding in through every channel imaginable. From online donations to mobile text-to-give to traditional mail, the response was overwhelming.
But questions also arose about today's giving environment, especially in a crisis. How do you keep new donors engaged? Is this the sign of a mobile revolution? How can you mobilize funds quickly and efficiently? How do you prepare for emergencies?
Fundraising software provider Blackbaud did its best to answer these questions in a webinar series titled "Lessons Learned From Haiti." FundRaising Success spoke with Steve MacLaughlin, director of Internet solutions at Blackbaud, about the topics addressed in the series and what fundraisers can take away from the Haiti relief efforts.
FundRaising Success: What did fundraisers learn from the Haiti earthquake disaster?
Steve MacLaughlin: There are a couple of key things. One, it's really important to understand that after a disaster or major event happens, there's really a limited window of time to reach and engage supporters. So it's very important for nonprofits to be able to react quickly, respond quickly and then also follow up in a very short period of time.
If organizations wait for the emergency situation to happen, it's already too late. After the first few days following a major disaster, the amount of giving really begins to trail off. It's a very narrow window to reach people before other things take over.
It's also important for all nonprofits, no matter what they do, to be prepared in advance for an emergency. Certainly there are groups like the American Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders [where] a lot of their work is involved in disaster relief. But really, colleges, universities, museums, faith-based organizations, just about anybody, there could be an emergency situation that happens — so being prepared in advanced is really important.