My last post was titled Time to Put on Your Oxygen Mask. While you may be able to assist others for a short time, if you don’t take care of yourself first it’s impossible to provide support to others over the long term.
This may seem raw to some but I believe it’s time to fundraisers to stop and think about our donors on a deeper level than you may have ever before. Those at the greatest risk from Covid 19 are elders, people who are 80+. The next most at risk are people in their 70’s, 60s, and people with chronic conditions.
1. Which of the donors that support your nonprofit are in their 60s, 70s, or 80s?
2. Who has a chronic condition of which you are aware?
I have little doubt that many of the most loyal and generous donors who choose to include your organization among the group which they support fall into one or even both of these categories.
I was reminded of how an older person might feel at this time by a fellow campaign committee member. This a man in his 80s who is a highly respected and valued member of the organization for which the funds are being raised. Couched in an email chain was a line that read something such as
“While I hope to see this project come to fruition I don’t know how much time I have left given the spread of this virus.”
This note was gut-wrenching. My eyes teared up when the reality behind his statement hit me. This person whom we have loved and respected — who has given his time, talent, and treasure — feels he might be measuring his life by a much shorter time frame.
If you have ever read “How to Say it to Seniors” (David Solie) you know that those who believe that they are reaching the end of life
want to know that their lives mattered.
You can provide a breath of fresh air to a donor by letting them know that they have made a difference, that their life has mattered.
As you move through this crisis things will hopefully settle for you. Now that you’ve mastered, or at least aren’t making a fool of yourself on Zoom and have figured out other word-at-home tricks you may find that you have more time than expected because your commute is now from the kitchen to your home office.
What could you do with this time? You can be in touch with the donors who have made a conscious choice to support the nonprofit which you serve. (FYI see why I use this terminology in She is not YOUR Donor!) Consider this:
Call two or write to two donors today, two tomorrow, and two the next day.
- Identify those most in need of a note of thanks and support based on age, health, not having family, etc.
- Inform them that they have made a difference.
- It might sound a bit challenging to do but involve them by saying something such as “if only you could see staff pitching in and clients being served despite this crisis” then tell a story.
- Invest your time, not by asking for a gift but by giving back to those who gave.
- Impact — Share a short story about how one of your clients or staff is making it through this time thanks to donor support.
And leave it at that, just say thanks maybe share an inspiring story. Most of all, if you make a call be prepared to listen — if ever there were a time to build a deeper bond with a donor it is now.
If you are looking for more on this topic you might want to read
Are you keeping in touch with donors? What are you hearing from them? I hope that you will share because we can all learn from one another.