With social distance orders in full effect for the foreseeable future, many nonprofit organizations are scrambling to convert upcoming fundraising initiatives into virtual campaigns. With real financial concerns mounting during these uncertain times, it is important to keep realistic expectations, make events as effortless as possible, and stand out from the sea of other organizations with the same crucial needs. Below, we outline the foundational components of a strong virtual campaign in the hopes that it helps you strategize and put forth your best effort in the face of adversity.
Set a Goal
Every campaign needs a goal, especially those that are virtual. We understand that right now, every organization is feeling the need to secure as much funding as possible, but it is very important that the goal you set is realistic. With 22 million people currently unemployed, and many others in a place of economic uncertainty, it is important to adjust your development plan when it comes to individual and corporate fundraising. This can be painful if you were planning an annual event with big money projections that either must be postponed indefinitely or shifted to virtual, but your goal needs to be realistically set and announced.
If you have large donors already committed, now is the time to call them to ask if their still comfortable with their financial commitment. Furthermore, inform them if their donation will be shifted to other needs than for what was originally planned. It is crucial that these calls are made empathetically so that you can preserve the relationship. If you have sold tickets for an upcoming event that needs to go virtual, now is the time to make contact and ask if those purchased tickets, or tables can be used as a donation to your virtual event. Doing this before the event launch, will help you set a realistic goal and reduce pressure on donors that may be experiencing economic stress.
Where Are the Funds Going?
If the event was already planned, and you have donors on board, it is important to let them know if the funds need to be used for a different purpose. Don’t neglect this step if the funding that is already secured is restricted. It is important to be transparent with your donors on where you need help, especially if it is for operating funds. Your financial needs should become an important part of your narrative and be plainly understood by all who are giving.
Create a Narrative
Your narrative can be broad, or laser-focused, but needs to illustrate the impact your nonprofit makes through donor dollars. When you have a well-planned and structured narrative for donors (and potential donors) to follow, it can be particularly effective. For example, testimonials from those whose lives you have positively impacted during the pandemic, can be extremely impactful. Tell this story effectively by using multiple platforms including social media, email, and on a dedicated web page on your website that is regularly updated. Consider using pictures, even snapshots, and adding them to your Facebook and Instagram stories so that people can watch the story unfold easily. Include updates on your progress in meeting your fundraising goal, and let the donors know how much you appreciate their help along the way.
Find a Payment Platform
There are many to choose from and you should weigh your options carefully. While using a singular platform like your website is very appealing, it can benefit you to add PayPal, as well as allowing people to donate via “Network for Good” on your Facebook page. The PayPal Giving Fund has no fees for nonprofits and some feel more comfortable making online donations through PayPal. Anything you can do to keep donating easy, seamless, and stress-free for your donors, will benefit you even if it is more work on the back-end to track. Ensure that each donor receives a bounce back receipt for their donation and add a sincere thank you note, if possible, let them know the specific impact of their donation.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate! Celebration is Needed!
We feel this is your most important step to success - Celebrate!
During this time, when it seems like everything is doom and gloom, please don’t neglect to celebrate what the dollars given can do for your mission. Celebrate those on your team who have worked hard and celebrate your supporters. Call them and express gratitude or send them a video message via social media or email. For the video, post a thank you from each staff member spliced together. Be heartfelt and let them know the difference that has been made. They need it, and so do you. After all, we are all in this together.
Need help taking your event virtual? We got you!
Right now, through July 31, 2020 Jelly Nonprofit Consulting is offering flexible pricing to nonprofits needing help during the COVID-19 crisis. Reach out to us today to schedule your free consultation.