Prepare to launch virtual fundraising now!
Updated: Feb 2, 2021
From the Desk of Rolando D. Rodriguez
The world is changing, and fundraising along with it.
As I suggested in last week's post, the last thing any non-profit can afford to do is stop or cancel their fundraising plans. Planning, then a pause, and then rapid action is the only answer.
This crisis is different from any other and this is evolving into a rather unique opportunity for a reallocation of priorities and resources.
Millions are sitting home in constant amazement, wondering if they are embedded in a science fiction movie, but also wondering what they can do. Many are ready to act on their feelings when properly prompted.
They can't go out, we can't go out, but we can all work together to help others and prepare to revive our causes as the crisis subsides. All indications are that individuals are giving now, and willing to act. And all signals are that giving will continue from those who remain in a position to help.
I was recently on a call where four donors who had pledged significant dollars last month affirmed their gifts. "This is not a time to back down", said one. "Yes my portfolio is down, but it will be back up and we need to be prepared to move forward the minute this is over".
I reviewed a gala that had gone virtual and still raised over $600,000. The same for runs, walkathons and any number of existing peer to peer/crowdfunding efforts. It's all happening right now folks, not later.
For many non-profit organizations, the immediate need is to develop the capacity for virtual fundraising. Fortunately, the ways in which this can be accomplished are endless.
Whether it is turning a walkathon into a virtual event, or launching a crowdfunding or peer to peer campaign, online fundraising is exploding. Zoom is zooming, and so are the virtual fundraising solutions
And I'm not just talking about a GoFundMe page.
I have developed five straightforward steps-to-goal which I outline for you here:
First, identify the need that can be filled through your online appeal. What is the one most important aspect of your program negatively impacted by the crisis?
Second, review your list of constituents. Who are the most appropriate for this particular effort? Some are obvious. For example, one organization I am working with had not reached out to program alumni for years, other than with newsletters! That's about to change.
Third, do you know which software platform is best for you? There are many, and I have found that each has strengths and weaknesses, including wide cost variations.
Fourth, identify the concept behind your appeal. Plan your design, the ask, and the look and feel of your online collaterals. Consider if you can just turn your next walk, run or special event into a virtual event instead.
Fifth, create your email and social media plan. If you don't have the internal expertise, do you have volunteers or board members who can provide social media expertise? I bet you do.
The challenge can sound daunting, but it really isn't. It's a process that follows a step-by-step logical progression, and which is then implemented during a period of 4 weeks or so.
Are you familiar with the platforms and processes that make all this possible?
If you need help implementing, or just some quick advice to get started, give me a call. If there is one thing guaranteed from this crisis, is that everyone will be doing it soon.
Begin planning now and stay safe.
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