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A Message to Fundraisers on Responding to The Pressures of COVID-19

A Message to Fundraisers on Responding to The Pressures of COVID-19


As the ripple effects of COVID-19 are felt by charities and nonprofits, it is clear that revenues are going to be significantly impacted.  The spring is normally a period of high activity and with the cancellation of galas, events and other fundraising activities, leaders will be looking to offset these revenue reductions.

Unfortunately, this pressure to earn may create other ripple effects - more pressure!

Organizations are already adapting and seeking to augment existing revenue channels. And in doing so, we're seeing tremendous sensitivity to the situation. Some considerations we've seen in the field and would pass along are:

  • Connect with Empathy - An extraordinary number of Canadians are being personally affected from reductions in their incomes through layoffs.  While organizations are seeking to increase the contributions of existing donors, staff and volunteers need to be mindful of the stresses faced by those very donors.  Overly aggressive tactics might have the complete opposite effect.
  • Door-to-Door in a time of Social Distancing - For many charities, neighbourhood canvassing is their 'bread and butter'.  There is a risk to being out of tune with the desire to reduce human connection by continuing this particular form of revenue generation. The optics of placing both the donor and the dedicated volunteer at risk may have implications long past the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Balancing Urgency and Panic - There is no doubt that the impact on fundraising will be extremely painful for many organizations.  Part of the response will be to calculate the need and timing of public 'save the organization' campaigns. It is important to remember that a compassionate public will likely support this once, not over and over.  It will be important to be mindful when to use this more dramatic messaging.

Imagine Canada will continue to listen to the sector and pass along both the challenges, but also the incredible creativity that comes with seeking new ways of doing business.

More to come...

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