What’s the Buzz on Fundraising Now?
Buzz, buzz, buzz…
What’s that sound? In one ear, it’s the sound of those Japanese Murder Hornets. In the other ear, it’s the sound of the country reopening for business. And non-profits need to get onboard with that latter buzz.
The first thought for many organizations that didn’t get to throw that springtime fundraiser, or build momentum with a blowout special event is “should we fundraise now?”
I say no. Or, more specifically, if your organization’s mission doesn’t have anything directly to do with COVID-19 relief efforts, don’t fundraise now.
This wasn’t global crisis “lite”; the positive and negative effects of Covid-19 will permanently change elements of our communities. Nonprofits need to be nimble now, and open to shifting how they do their work so, as Covid-19 becomes less of a headline, they are well-positioned for maximum impact.
So, instead of first thinking about fundraising for what was, organizations should ask themselves these two questions:
- Does what we’ve done pre-Covid serve what we need to be in our community post-Covid?
- What is our contribution to the community post Covid-19?
I’m not suggesting we question the value of pre-Covid thriving nonprofits, and raze them to the ground—not at all. However, a great exercise now is to visualize the needs of our communities post-pandemic, and what our role will be—here’s how:
- Create a temporarily amended mission statement for assessment purposes only.
- Using that mission statement as a lens, assess your organization’s programs strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- Pull together a small “pod” (virtual quick committee) of advisors to give feedback on your findings. Include a professional higher-up in organization leadership, a fellow team member, a willing board/committee member you trust.
- Build 2 plans for the work of your organization: one plan if gathering is possible, and another if it is not–all adhering to new thinking about impact your org can have on community post-Covid state of emergency
Healthy communities rest on the shoulders of strong nonprofits. Organizations with missions that serve those communities need to be able to do that in this altered landscape. Planning for adaptation strengthens a nonprofit’s relevancy, increases its impact, and strengthens its appeal to donors looking to invest in organizations that support their community in meaningful ways.
Once we think these things through, then its time to think about fundraising. Don’t get distracted by the buzzing in your ear.