Fundraising in the age of Coronavirus…

From where we’re sitting, the last 18 months in the fundraising world look like a bit of a roller coaster.

The general consensus from our nonprofit customers was that 2019 was an overwhelmingly positive year. So when the new year came, a sense of optimism and excitement was palpable in the group. We spent the first few weeks in 2020 brainstorming exciting campaigns and turning out the first of the year’s donation requests.

And then…COVID-19.

It was surreal. For a moment, it seemed like everything stopped. Most of our nonprofit customers immediately put the brakes on the projects that they had in the works. Others chose to finish the mailings they already had in the shop and send them out despite the uncertainty of return on investment.

One of those projects that did not get stopped was a fundraising campaign for the Air Force Museum Foundation. The campaign messaging had been written pre-pandemic, but since the project was large and it was well underway, thee customer chose to change the letter a bit to reflect the onset of Coronavirus and mail out the 24,000 appeals rather than cancel it completely.

When I followed up with the development director a few weeks after the mailing, I have to admit I was hesitant to ask about results. They had fully expected results to be 20% down from last year, but she told me they were well over 10% ABOVE.

After hearing about the success of the Air Force project, I started to inquire more than normal with our clients and asking around to others in the fundraising community. I keep getting the same response: “We’re doing better than we expected!” And the one thing everybody was doing in common? They’re reaching out to their constituents, telling them where they stand and being honest with them, which in a lot of cases means telling them that they are in need.

Think about it, with a lot more people at home now than before the pandemic, and with email boxes replacing face-to-face conversations from the workplace, it seems like the right time to connect with people at home, via the mail. Click here to download our Direct Mail 101 publication and learn more on how to develop a successful mail campaign. If you’re ready to get started, call us at 937.222.9418

 

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