As the pandemic continues to change our lives we are constantly finding new ways to operate. A lot of organizations have decided to avoid face to face communication to allow for social distancing. It may seem challenging to foster donor relationships as events and meetings have been canceled, but it is possible to have meaningful conversations even when we can’t leave our homes.
Now more than ever it is important to continue to reach out to your supporters and communicate with them on how you're navigating through the pandemic. Your database and digital tools are key to ensure that you know which of your donors to contact, what types of conversations to have and to record any actions for follow up. With a robust task tool and comprehensive, easy to read data reports and visualizations built right into Donor Engine, understanding your donors and your stewardship efforts will be easier than ever.
Here are some ways you can connect and communicate with your dDonors during quarantine.
Reach out As a Friend
Even if you don’t have a close, personal relationship with a particular donor, it’s always nice to reach out to someone to see how they are doing. This is a stressful time for a lot of us, so even though we may not be able to do much from our homes just letting someone know you are there for them can mean the world. Consider holding a thank-a-thon and invite your senior leadership and board members to reach out to your major donors and sponsors, checking in and letting them know you care.
Has your organization canceled or moved events online? You can still use the event as a reason to reach out to your supporters. Donors look forward to galas as it is a way to celebrate the success that they helped contribute to and socialize with others. Try to find a way to maintain that personal connection by brainstorming other meaningful ways to commemorate the milestones they have helped you achieve. A personal video or online events are some ways you can do this.
Give Updates on Your Organization
When giving updates, have your CEO or other executives communicate with donors as they most likely want to hear from your organization’s leader directly. They’ll want to know what their perspective on the crisis is as well as plans for moving forward.
It’s also important to consider which channel is being used to communicate. An email is more formal and should be used to explain how your organization is following precautions along with your long term strategy. Social-media on the other hand is more intimate and can be used to communicate immediate actions.
You may want to consider also sending a specific message to donors and prospects giving an in-depth perspective, and ask for their thoughts or reactions.
Work on Stewardship
Showcase your nonprofit’s expertise. Remain close to your donors and prospects by keeping them updated on how their gifts support research and other efforts relating to Covid-19. This is the time to let them know how they have helped grow your organization and get creative with your response. You can create content for your blog outlining the work your donors have supported over the years
Hold Virtual Events
Try to capture the essence of fundraising events online. A conference call or webinar allows donors to view presentations about gift opportunities from home. This may require some extra coordination and technical skills, but it’s important to keep the conversation going.
If you had to cancel an event, listen to how your donors react. If they mention they’ll miss a certain aspect or activity from this event see how you can translate it to a digital experience. For example a virtual concert, an online tour of your facilities or an online auction.
Let Them Know How They Can Help
A lot of people are facing uncertainty but if there are ways your donors can support you beyond a monetary donation, let them know, and this can be as simple as asking them to keep your nonprofit in their thoughts. Offer suggestions on how they can give their time to volunteer in a safe way like picking up groceries for the elderly or helping with social media.
Fostering that emotional connection will go such a long way. It may seem intimidating to ask for help without knowing a person’s personal situation, so let your donors know that you are compassionate of their own situations and understand if they are unable to give at this time.
As we adjust to the world’s changes, operations may be overwhelming and in some cases frustrating. Even if you don’t know what to do, know that you're not alone and donors will understand if things aren’t operating as usual.
Pro Tip: Remember to record any meaningful conversations or information into Donor Engine's task tool. This will allow your team to report on and access the information for future stewardship. You will also be able to track which emails had the highest open rate or raised the most donations, allowing you to put that knowledge to use for future campaigns.