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Don’t Stop Nonprofit Fundraising

This Is No Time to Slow Down or Stop Nonprofit Fundraising

Every crisis creates opportunity. That’s why I believe nonprofit fundraising “asks” should absolutely continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A key challenge to any nonprofit’s success — during a crisis or not — is its ability to recognize how much its success rests within itself. Where are you going? Do you communicate that you are still open and that you are still fundraising?

Here are some basic tenets that are more important than ever:

  • Don’t worry about the competition. Nonprofits that collaborate with other nonprofits will rule the day
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with something new
  • Run toward, not away, from new fundraising ideas
  • Involve youth. Involve seniors. Include every possible demographic in your fundraising efforts, because the old adage is true: the more, the merrier.

How to fight strong headwinds when fundraising:

I encourage you to enhance communication with target audiences, whether through mailed or emailed newsletters, social media engagement or special letters like updates from the “Director’s Desk.” Keep donors informed while also making it easy to donate online or by mail.

Think outside the box. Perhaps a conservation nonprofit organization could share video scavenger hunts through nature that the whole family will appreciate? I have also seen some clients redirect their focus to fundraising for operating funds instead of capital or planned gifts.

A few other fundraising ideas our clients have been using effectively:

  • Develop peer-to-peer videos
  • Conduct online auctions
  • Hold virtual events via Zoom or One Cause
  • Use a matching gift to challenge others to give via email
  • Encourage donors to sign up for monthly giving
  • Sell novelties appropriate to your cause. Here are a few examples:
    • One client is selling prints of historically significant barns and already promoting these and other holiday items in its gift shop.
    • This same client encourages patrons to purchase gift-memberships for family and friends.
    • Another client renewed a beer label with a local brewer and enjoys a share of the sales.
    • A client that serves youth even developed personalized Ping-Pong paddles and Ping-Pong balls.

As nonprofits, you know why you do what you do. It’s why we at AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising do it, too. Together, we will find a way to succeed in nonprofit fundraising.

Written by:

When Justin and AMPERAGE first met, Justin was one of the agency’s clients. Now, as a fundraising consultant on the other side of the table, Justin helps AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients get results. Renowned for not being too pushy because he’s worked in the fundraising trenches himself, Justin relates to, listens to and understands clients’ unique needs. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Justin has long-established relationships with foundations and corporate funders and knows the ins and outs of running a successful fundraising campaign. A journalism graduate of the University of Iowa, Justin began his career in Germany as an intern with Stars and Stripes newspaper for the armed forces. Upon his return stateside, he worked as sports editor for the Ottumwa Courier. He charted a new career course with a communications position at Lutheran Mutual/Century Life of America (now CUNA Mutual) insurance company and then a public relations and fundraising position with Lutheran Services in Iowa/Bremwood — before ultimately joining AMPERAGE. Justin has been a writer throughout his career and is a contributing author to two books: “Successful Capital Campaigns: From Start to Finish” and “Nonprofit Consulting Playbook: Winning Strategies from 25 Leaders in the Field.” He is a member and past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter, which honored Justin as 2015 Outstanding Fundraising Professional. He is also a member of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council. Justin is also active in the community through organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and Waverly-Shell Rock United Way. As an avid Chicago Cubs fan, Justin’s favorite holiday is opening day of the Major League Baseball season. That may explain his collection of old baseball cards and why he can name the entire 1965 team roster of the Minnesota Twins.