Have You Reached Out to Your Monthly Donors?
This is a time when everyone feels overwhelmed, with email inboxes exploding with nonstop news of the pandemic and the pressure of having to homeschool kids who might now want to be homeschooled.
Many fundraisers are trying to figure out how to work from home in the middle of all the family distractions. And then, of course, there’s the worry about how to make up for the fundraising difference with postponed events, or in some cases, canceled events.
I’ve been spending a lot of time watching Hallmark movies, and one of my favorite expressions in some recent movies is — “You’ve got this!” — so that’s my message to you today.
You’ve got this! You’re a great fundraiser, and we will make it through. Most importantly, now is the time to reach out to your donors and ask them how they’re doing.
Now is the time to give them an update on what you’re doing to help the people, animals, environment, etc. you serve (with the donate button on the bottom).
Now is the time to give your donors a call. I’ve heard from several fundraisers that they like the intimacy of their own home to make calls to their donors, because nobody else can hear what they’re saying, and there’s less pressure to “say the right words,” unlike when the boss is in the next room.
Now is the time to send a little note. Don’t worry too much about the branding if you can’t get to the office to pick up your organization stationery. A thank-you note on something you have at home is just fine.
Now that we know the $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill has passed, it may be a good time to ask your donors for a special gift or a monthly gift. Just keep it short and sweet, but do let them know you need them. I’ve seen great results with a few organizations that did just that.
Try staying the course as much as possible on your appeals. Printers, letter shops and post offices are working overtime to help you stay on track. While you may expect a lower response than in other years, you’ll at least get some money in the door, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
From my years working through times of disaster, I have hope that it will get better, and those organizations that stayed the course always did better than those that pulled back.
So give yourself a break to watch or read something positive, and then just look in the mirror and say out loud: “I’ve got this!”
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.