Moving Forward During This Difficult Time
While it is not possible at this time to quantify the extent to which philanthropic support will be impacted, we offer the following suggestions to ensure you can effectively move your philanthropic initiatives forward during this difficult period.
Be proactive. Stay in touch with key donors and prospective donors – now is a time to reach out, not to retreat.
Be tech savvy. Use tools that allow video conferencing and other means to substitute for in-person discussions until social distancing is lifted.
Be alert. Understand that some individuals are being impacted significantly by current conditions – adjust conversations and requests accordingly.
Be discriminating. Sharpen the case for philanthropic support and focus on institutional priorities that are central to advancing the mission of your organization and that are viewed by donors as essential priorities.
Be flexible. For some individuals, long-term commitments will be unrealistic but gift decisions one year at a time will be possible – for others, there will be little or no change in how they consider major requests.
Be resolute. Time may become more of a variable in achieving gift objectives and/or campaign goals – simply reducing expectations and/or goals rarely benefits institutions or those who care deeply about advancing the institution.
Be observant. Seeing the institution through the eyes of the prospective donor often provides the insights and the sensitivities required to move relationships and gift requests forward.
Be knowledgeable. Focus on what is at stake, or at risk, for the institution that is central to its mission and its aspirations – discuss serious issues confronting the institution and avoid “fundraising talk” that diminishes the importance of the visit and the request.
Be patient. Most philanthropic initiatives have a longer life span than the ups and downs of most economic cycles and the era of a pandemic.
Be empathetic. Many prospects are uncertain and have seen their resources be depleted. They’ll appreciate this and come back even stronger.