Fundraising Resources During a Time of Uncertainty


By Wayne Elsy

We know that these times are unlike anything that any of us has seen. However, nonprofit leaders are in a unique position. Our great nation is one where philanthropy and social good are part of the fabric of who we are as a country. And as the needs in our communities continue to rise, the nonprofit sector is well-positioned to help millions in ways large and small.

As we reevaluate and try to figure out how to navigate these extraordinary times, one of the things my team and I have done is share as much information with our partners as possible. And that’s what I intend to do in this article. Our team has compiled resources that nonprofit leaders can depend on during this critical moment that range from inspiration and hope, to practical ideas and strategies.

Share Your Appreciation For Your Supporters
One of the first things we’ve done at our social enterprise is to communicate regularly with our nonprofit partners, and you should do it as well. This is a unique moment when people are home, but also concerned about their future as well as their families’ well-being.

So one of the simplest and most productive activities you can do is to email or post on social media your gratitude for your supporters. If you send them something inspirational (e.g. quotes or images), that’s even better. During this time, the most important thing people need is others reaching out and giving them hope. This period is the time to reach out and let people know you’re thinking of them and available to help.

Remember Families With Children and the Elderly
The very young and seniors have it especially tough during this time. So even though your nonprofit might not deal directly with these constituents, providing resources for these people shows you care. We’ve shared a couple of excellent resources with our fundraising partners, and I’d like to offer them to you here.

First, we’ve sent out “The Ultimate Parents’ Lockdown Guide” for those who are parents, as well as how to play teacher at home and Scholastic. For seniors, we’ve shared information for stepping in to help older people, including how to make home deliveries to them safely. Seniors can also listen to a weekly tele-town hall. And caregivers can find critical information if you’re a caregiver or  a relative is residing at a quarantined facility.

Top Resources for COVID-19 and the Economic Crisis

Finally, nonprofit leaders understand that there’s tremendous pressure on their finances at this point. It’s essential that nonprofits that qualify for federal assistance obtain it. However, during this period, it’s also vital to look ahead six and even 12 months down the line. In other words, this is not the time to stop everything to see how things shake out.

Therefore, it’s essential to keep connected and top of mind with all of your supporters. Also, it’s time to brainstorm about how you’re going to keep the doors open for your organization. And that will mean that you will have to get highly creative about your fundraising and engagement efforts. Those who adapt will likely survive, but those that do not will have a much tougher time and may even end up closing their doors.