Over the past several months, the world as we know it has changed substantially, impacting charitable organizations all over the world. Much like other nonprofits, your team has likely altered the way it responds to community needs and requests donations in this time of social distancing.
And with many of your donors experiencing financial hardship, it may seem like an insensitive time to ask for donations. However, a lot of people still want to support your work, and now is not the time to stop fundraising.
In fact, it’s more important than ever that you engage donors and secure their vital support to keep your nonprofit’s doors open. A recent analysis performed by DonorTrends found that nonprofits can survive and even prosper during uncertain times if they continue to fundraise effectively.
If your organization is looking to revamp its fundraising strategies during the pandemic, here are three tips that will guide you toward an organized and impactful approach to securing financial support.
With the health and safety of your staff and supporters in mind, you may have considered either postponing your in-person events or canceling them altogether. However, advancements in technology have made it easy to shift to the digital space, so you can continue planning upcoming fundraising events to occur in a safe environment while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
If your organization has never hosted a virtual event, now is a great time to incorporate this strategy into your COVID-19 response plan.
According to Handbid’s virtual fundraising events guide, a virtual fundraiser “enables supporters to interact with your team and financially support your mission from anywhere, including from the comfort of their own homes.” When moving to the digital space, nonprofits often experience a number of benefits. Here’s a quick look into some of those advantages:
Remember, at the core of any successful campaign is a compelling idea that appeals to your supporters and fully engages them. To provide some inspiration, let’s take a look at one of the most engaging virtual fundraising events your team can host during this time: virtual auctions.
For quite some time, nonprofits have incorporated live and silent auctions into their fundraising strategies. Now, with intuitive nonprofit auction software and mobile bidding tools, you can move your charity auction to the digital space.
Virtual auctions are one of the most lucrative online events your organization can host. They empower your donors to give in a new and exciting way, competing for highly-desirable items while simultaneously supporting your nonprofit.
Setting up a successful virtual auction requires sufficient time and planning, which looks different for every organization. As you ramp up efforts for your own online auction, some of the steps you’ll need to take include the following:
According to Donately’s virtual fundraising guide, “although it might seem challenging to match the excitement of an in-person auction, many online auctions exceed their expectations.”
In order for your auction to live up to its full potential, you need to proactively communicate and enlist the help of dedicated nonprofit auction software. In no time, you’ll pull off a high-performing event that deepens donor engagement at a safe social distance.
Your nonprofit’s website is the hub of all things related to your organization. It’s a constituent’s primary source of information related to your work, and it plays a key role in engaging your supporters during this time of social distancing. Many donors and volunteers are looking for ways to support your work during this tough time, and your website is likely their first stop.
With all that rides on your website, it’s essential that you put time into developing a site that’s conversion-optimized and prioritizes the user experience. Let’s walk through a few tips for doing exactly that:
With powerful website building tools on your side, developing an engaging nonprofit website has never been easier. When paired with web design best practices, the right tools will empower you to bring your vision to life, secure donations, spread the word about your mission, and strengthen your online presence altogether. For design inspiration, check out this list of leading nonprofit websites.
When engaging with donors during this challenging time, it’s important to make sure that your messaging speaks to the unique challenges your team is facing due to COVID-19. Proactive communication is one of your first lines of defence, so it’s important to solidify your approach.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you fine-tune your digital communications strategy to account for the pandemic:
From phone calls to online outreach, there are a number of ways you should be communicating with your donors to maintain relationships and overcome the challenges presented by social distancing requirements. By practicing open communication, you’ll remain connected to supporters and be one step closer to securing sufficient support both now and in the future.
Whether you’re a seasoned nonprofit professional or just getting started, attracting and retaining high-quality donors can be challenging, even more so with the difficult fundraising landscape. From offering engaging events to developing a strong website, there are several steps you can take to continue fundraising despite the circumstances.
Remember, building and maintaining connections to donors during this time is crucial. Not only will this help to sustain operations during this pandemic, but once the crisis does end, the relationships that you’ve invested in will be stronger than ever.
Guest Author: Jeff Porter
Jeff Porter, Founder & CEO of Handbid, has spent 18 years in the non-profit industry. In 2004 he founded the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Colorado where he still resides as board chair. Jeff learned early on that non-profits desperately needed better and more affordable fundraising solutions.
Leveraging his software background, he built most of the tools his charities used, and in 2011 he launched Handbid at his own fundraising event. The goal was to improve the guest experience, reduce administration and increase revenue. Handbid accomplished all of those goals, effectively doubling revenue in its debut. Nine years later, Handbid's suite of tools has delighted over a half-million guests, generated millions of bids, and helped thousands of charities raise well over $100 million.