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  • Nilam Jadhav and Alekhya Kasturi

How to Implement a Successful Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy During COVID Times?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

We all understand that the current times are challenging, uncertain, and even complex for everyone around the world. Consequently, the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all organizations including the nonprofit sector. Successful nonprofit fundraising strategy could appear infeasible right now particularly for those nonprofits which rely heavily on conferences, events and gatherings during the beginning of the year to secure growth in fundraising and for those newly established nonprofits which cater to a loyal donor base. Many of these nonprofits face one big question: How to achieve fundraising success in these turbulent times?  In this blog, we will discuss principles to create a stellar fundraising strategy for your nonprofit.

With the ever-increasing health concerns, it is no surprise that nonprofits are operating virtually and so is the fundraising. But the key to managing virtual fundraising with echoing success lies in sticking with the key principles of fundraising. The CLASS Consulting has been actively working with many nonprofit organizations during the pandemic to assist them with navigating through their organizational goals successfully while adapting to the current challenges, with customized solutions based on the nonprofit’s goals and resources. Here is how to create a nonprofit fundraising strategy in four simple steps:

1. Communication

Staying connected with your current or potential donor base is essential in these times for a successful nonprofit fundraising strategy. Fundraising is also a form of sales. Hence a clear understanding of what a nonprofit sells to its donors is key to success.

a. Choose the right platform: For effective response and fundraising results you can’t just throw darts in the dark. It is critical that your donors are constantly connected with your nonprofit. There are various modes of communication such as phone calls, texts, emails etc. and it is important to identify your donor’s preferred mode of communication as the first step. This can be done through surveys, email request, online subscription etc. Once your primary audience and their preferred mode is identified, it becomes easier to get the desired reach and results. 

b. Use a positive and hopeful tone: Instead of cancelling your fundraising events or galas, shift them to a virtual platform and communicate the same to your donors. There are various free and partially paid platforms available online such as Google Meet, Zoom Meetings, MS Teams, GotoMeetings etc. You can find your right fit as per your budget and feature requirements.

c. Be Digitally Active: Keep your online presence active across all your social media channels, blogs and your website with latest updates of your current and upcoming events. Again, you must identify your target segment and the platforms on which they spend most of their time.

d. Encourage Referrals and word of mouth: Entice your donors to spread the word, incentivise through initiatives like monthly recognition of your most active donor with ‘Donor warrior of the month’ or by promoting them and their organization through your digital assets such as social media channels for an impactful communication

e. Brand presence: Branding your nonprofit is all about consistently conveying to your audience who you are and what you do through the visual, video, audio or and written communication. It’s the  way you communicate the cause you work towards, and the approach you take towards this cause

2. Engagement

Once the event is moved to a virtual mode, next step is to ensure that there is no dull moment during the event. Engagement can provide higher return on fundraising efforts and is critical for building an effective nonprofit fundraising strategy. Here are a few ways to make your event fun, happening and engaging:

a. Focus on pre-event activities such as advertising the highlights of events actively on various online platforms. If your recreational pre-engagement activities are advertised well enough it is likely  lead to a good turnout to the actual event

b. Invite guest speakers and performers from among your donors. A quick music performance or an entertaining stand-up comedy are sure shot ways to make your audience happy, engaged and to set a light tone to the atmosphere

c. Raffles is a great way to ensure engagement during the event. It pops up every now and then, something to look forward to amidst the speeches. There are many free online raffles platforms available such as Raffall, Rallyup etc.

d. Awards & recognition with online polling, create and share a poll with the participants when inviting them to the online fundraiser, encouraging engagement prior to the event. . For example: Award for the best consultant (chosen by the members themselves). This will bring up a feeling of solidarity among the community members

e. Reflect and retrospect through live testimonials or recorded videos of prominent donors

f. Include speeches/testimonies of your scholarship recipients. This is touching for the audience as the recipients acknowledge the value of your organization and its counselors. This could be something that they takeaway from the event and will be worth discussing and sharing with their social circle

3. Efficient Operations

Ultimately, the success of your fundraising strategy is measured by the amount of funding generated. Hence, making the donation process extremely simple for the donors is super important and this can be achieved with donation tools. In the age of digital fundraising, there are numerous tools available in the market. Here are a few pointers to ensure that you choose the perfect tool for your nonprofit.

Few things to keep in mind before choosing your tool: a. Must be robust and flexible 

b. Must be convenient, fast and secure

c. Must offer more options than just collecting funds such as: donor engagement, retention, referrals, CRM Integration, email marketing tools, report building capabilities etc.   

Below are few examples of online donation tools:

Finding the perfect online donation platform relies primarily on your needs and goals as an organization. Hence its crucial to perform an assessment and evaluation prior to picking the right tool either internally or with the help of professional consultancies.

4. Connection

It is critical to be empathetic to the personal or professional challenges your donors might be experiencing during COVID-19. There could be number of regular donors who are less likely to support nonprofits, due to lack of resources. Here are some ways you could connect with them better:

a. Sync your organizational planning  with the current healthcare crisis and post-COVID-19 recovery, attracting your donors to make donations to your nonprofit. Give strong reasons to support your nonprofit, by providing donors with a clear understanding of what they get in return 

b. It’s important to convey empathy and grace during your event. Acknowledging and respecting your donor’s presence and consideration for the cause irrespective of the amount of donation  will go a long way

c. Follow up with not only a thank you note but also include how each of their dollar has made a difference for scalable results. Keep follow-up testimony videos of your donors handy

d. Drop a quick email/tax receipt into their inbox

Donors support nonprofits because they believe in giving back to their community. But that is longer may be the case as the world experiences an unprecedented situation due to COVID-19 and people are have a dearth of resources. Hence your nonprofit fundraising strategy must become much more professional thus reflecting a careful understanding of the general sentiments of the stakeholders involved and your own organizational structure/needs.

At CLASS, we specialize in creating customized solutions, fundraising Templates, fundraising plan resources assessment, digital marketing solutions for nonprofit’s fundraising improvement. A team of skillful and experienced nonprofit management consulting professionals from Bay Area conduct holistic research and analysis on your situational needs and derive effective solutions in form of a result-driven consulting / training, concluded with detailed report that will help your organization achieve its fundraising goals and prosper. About The CLASS Consulting Group

The CLASS Consulting Group is a trusted advisor to the Board of Directors and Senior Leadership of Nonprofits. It is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in SFO- Bay Area that provides consulting services to senior management and the Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations and offers community leadership opportunities to professionals.

Since 2002 CLASS volunteers have been assisting nonprofit organizations in the SF Bay Area and supporting the communities in which, we all live and work. Learn more about our mission andstory.

Interested in finding more about our services for nonprofit organizations? Simply request a meeting here and we’ll get in touch to tell you all about this opportunity and how our passionate volunteer-run teams are helping nonprofits make the Bay Area a better place, one community at a time.


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