Fundraising Now – AFP-NYC Webinar Recap
Earlier this week, Craig Shelley led an engaging conversation with fellow AFP-NYC leaders as they explored the realities of these unprecedented times and discussed the impact on nonprofits. Panelists included:
- Steven G. Jacobson, President & CEO, Jacobson Consulting Applications, Inc. (AFP-NYC Chapter President)
- Gary Laermer, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, Pace University (AFP-NYC Chapter Immediate Past President)
- Jill Scibilia, CFRE, Vice President, Development, Phelps Hospital Northwell Health (APF-NYC Chapter President-Elect)
- Michele Hall, President & CEO, EnCourage Kids Foundation (AFP-NYC Chapter Secretary)
The world has dramatically changed over the past few weeks – and so has fundraising. Here are a five key takeaways from the webinar discussion:
- First and foremost, be your basic human self-right now. Use this time to be authentic and really listen to your donors and learn about their experiences. People are feeling isolated in a way they haven’t before so now is a great time to pick up the phone and simply check-in with your donors. This will also help you know when to engage and when to say out of the way.
- The tone and frequency of your messaging is vital. Be diligent in all of your communications and identify the best ways to reach your donors – direct mail, email, social media, text messaging, phone calls, etc. Take the time to lean into the challenges your community is facing and share those experiences. Be careful to not focus every message on money.
- Missions long term don’t change. Although it’s important to communicate the urgency of your mission now, it’s equally as important to remind your donors that you are still focused on your organization’s long-term success. Things are rapidly changing so it’s important to not lose sight of your long-term vision.
- You can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Yes, maybe you should wait on the big gift ask you had planned for next week, but that doesn’t mean this is a time to not communication. Be creative and find alternative ways to connect with your donors. Send handwritten notes to your top donors, encourage your event ticket buyers to make a donation instead of taking a refund, utilize all the audiovisual technology we have at our fingertips. There is endless opportunity to remain engaged and communicative.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask your donors if they are willing to entertain something right now. Everyone is being impacted different, so avoid making assumptions. You never know where or when an opportunity might present itself.
As fundraisers, we know what we do is important – and never easy. The only difference now, is that our jobs are just a little bit harder. The world, now more than ever, needs the critical services that nonprofits provide so we must continue putting our best foot forward, no matter what.
Listen to the full webinar recording here.