Well, this was the year we didn’t see coming, and it continues and continues. But! As people of faith, hope and courage for the future, we press on, recognizing that keeping our supporters in the know is 100% the way to go.
By now, you’ve likely reached out to all your donors with personal calls, handwritten notes, emails, text messages, postcards and more. If not—no time like the present! While it may be more efficient to send a mailing, personal contact is more rewarding for the recipients and will circle back to you in benefits. Calls to see how your donors and volunteers are faring in the face of the relentless crisis are simply that—wellness checks. It shows you care about them beyond their checkbooks and their labor. If you think they are comfortable with video calls, opt for that whenever possible.
Have a plan–the open-ended questions you will ask, the info you will share about your organization. Most importantly, listen to what they have to say. Is Mrs. Fox living alone? Flag her for more regular contact. Did Mr. Walker lose his job? Add him to the prayer list. Don’t treat these calls as one and done, but rather outreach and opportunities for follow-up. Just letting them know you care reminds them of your mission and ministry.
Don’t be surprised when they ask, “What can I do for you?” and be ready with options. While some may be thinking of financial responses—addition gifts, increased amounts, accelerated pledges others may not be in that position. Perhaps they could become prayer partners for those you serve, repost your social media to widen the spread, or share their interest in your organization with friends and family during the zoom cocktail hour. Ask for their opinions on how to best stay engaged with your stakeholders, what information they want and in what format they would like to receive it.
In addition to your personal encounters, your more general marketing needs to step up as well.
- Determine when and how to update your website to prompt return visits. Make sure you take down any out-of-date webpages. When in doubt—photos, photos, photos!
- Schedule your social media posts serially to keep them coming back for more.
- Use those windows! Put up messages that change every week on first-floor windows and encourage all to walk over and see the latest.
- Regularly post new items on available signage.
- Pump out press releases and PSAs to papers, TV, radio, cable. With so much still closed, media outlets are eager for news.
- Make an event out of anything you can; video, send and post.
- Utilize multiple voices-–-staff, administration, board, recipients, volunteers—to keep it interesting and keep them engaged.
- Feature unique work completed during the shelter in place order, identify newly established traditions, and provide mini videos about your ever-so-interesting personnel.
This is hardly an exhaustive list. Brainstorm within your organization and think about what YOU would enjoy and value. COVID is our reality, but rather than being daunting, it can be inspiring. Good luck!
The Mission Advancement webinars scheduled for this fall address philanthropy, leadership and evaluation.
View On Demand here
Countdown for 2020 Giving
We can’t give up on pushing for gifts prior to the end of 2020. Now, more than ever, we need to be creative and aggressive. Join us to see what outreach and solicitation efforts will allow you to attract the funding you deserve despite the implications of COVID-19. Remember, “Ask, you shall be given…” But we must ask!
Thursday, October 8, 1 p.m. CT, 2 p.m. ET
Getting the Board You Want and Need
How’s the Board? Clear about their mandate, don’t micromanage, skills and passions are suited to your current challenges and opportunities, operate effectively as a team, demonstrate integrity and a strong work ethic, aggressively pursue fundraising opportunities? If they are not yet what you need, join us for this webinar to attract, retain and benefit from a fabulous leadership group.
Thursday, October 29, 1 p.m. CT, 2 p.m. ET
So We’ve Got This Development Office…
Mission mandates money and the more of it the better. But with limited resources, both human and financial, we need to ensure our efforts are highly productive and reflective of our organizations and ministries. Join us to learn how to evaluate your development efforts. This program will give you guidance for evaluating both programs and personnel.
Mission Advancement is seeking a Director of Development for Sacred Heart Home in Hyattsville, MD. This position offers the rare opportunity to couple a long-standing, highly regarded and vital ministry with contemporary best practices in development.