Emergency Appeals

Nonprofit Horror Story: The Last-Minute Fundraising Appeal
August 16, 2016 at 10:06 am

I can remember the day just like it was yesterday—that dreaded moment when my director of development approached me and said: “We need you to get an appeal out. And it should have gone out last week.” To provide context, I was a mere two weeks into my job and had been pulled off task so frequently that I still had no idea what this particular organization had done in terms of past grants...

The Rush of a Good Crisis!
May 19, 2016 at 11:28 am

We all love a good crisis. Don’t we? No, you say? What did you do the last time you passed a traffic jam on the opposite side of the expressway? Did you slow down and rubberneck to check it out? What about that fire that you just happened to drive by? Did you park, get out and watch?...

PETA Rakes in More Donations As It Denounces SeaWorld
February 17, 2016 at 9:20 am

Preaching against SeaWorld apparently has paid off for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA recently told potential benefactors that it is under attack by "wealthy and organized opponents" to its causes, especially the fight to free captive orcas at SeaWorld parks. "Please help PETA stand up to those trying to thwart our…

6 Tips for Effective Nonprofit Crisis Planning
May 30, 2014

Bad things happen to good nonprofits. During my career in nonprofits, I have been involved in handling a client's death during my organization's program, a product tampering that threatened our biggest fundraiser, an athletic scandal and a mass shooting on a campus.

I was naive until the first time. After that I became obsessed with being prepared.

Here are my suggestions for better crisis management by your nonprofit: Don't wait. Realize that crises take many shapes. Develop a logistical plan and communications plan. Get your social-media house in order. Prepare to speak. Provide media training.

The Crisis-Responsive Fundraiser
November 14, 2013

The bottom line: Be prepared. When a crisis is flaring up, it can be hard to think rationally and implement systems that have to be fast-tracked.

Is Your Nonprofit Prepared for a Crisis?
October 10, 2013

How quickly an organization responds to a crisis and how transparent it is in its communications will determine how rapidly it will emerge from the crisis and, in some cases, its long-term survival and reputation.

Crisis communications planning is a long-term, comprehensive process. But here are a few key points to keep in mind: 1. Have a crisis communications plan. 2. Make sure your plan is updated. 3. Practice your plan on a regular basis. 4. Don't let your plan gather dust.

Communicate NOW on the Government Shutdown Impact (Case Study)
October 3, 2013

Dramatic and quickly implemented changes like the United States government shutdown are challenging to respond to promptly and well. Nonprofit marketers like you are already limited in bandwidth and budget so when a change of direction comes fast, it can be hard to redirect. But it’s imperative to jump on these opportunities communications-wise if your issue or services are likely to be directly effected and/or you can "newsjack" this top-of-mind story to bring attention to your issue or cause. Relevance rules but has a short lifetime!

How to Communicate in the Midst of Tragedy: 9-Step Checklist
April 16, 2013

Like you, my heart and head are heavy in the wake of the bombings in Boston. Especially since I feel so helpless. I had a completely different post planned, but wanted to respond ASAP to the questions, worries and just totally wrong communications I’ve seen going out since the bombings Monday afternoon. Most of this outreach was harmless but simply a mismatch with what’s on our minds right now. Because most of us are feeling horror, sadness, fear, uncertainly, and a sense of helplessness and vulnerability. Here are my right-now recommendations for your organization’s response.

7 Tips for Quick Fundraising Response During a Time of Need
November 1, 2012

The first days following a disaster or other emergencies — like Hurricane Sandy that hit the East Coast this week — can be crucial for organizations as they reach out to supporters and request help. At a time when many organizations may not have the time to outline a formal strategy, here are seven tips that can help any organization make the greatest impact during this time of need.

Are You Prepared?
March 1, 2012

Given that even the most seemingly innocuously missioned organization can find itself in the center of a crisis, the question is: Are you prepared to deal with it?