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December 3, 2021
 
Nonprofits: Prepare Now for Post-Pandemic Fundraising
By Robin Cabral

Robin Cabral 2020
Robin Cabral

With COVID-19 seemingly receding, though perhaps in fits and starts, now’s the time for nonprofits to determine how they will take advantage of the positive changes in the fundraising landscape left in the pandemic’s wake.

The disease, and the unprecedented health and economic crises it spawned, changed the way we work, the way we live, and the way we connect. It also changed the nonprofit fundraising landscape – which nonprofit organizations should welcome with open arms.

Here are six ways COVID-19 altered the fundraising landscape, and how nonprofits can embrace those changes.

  1. Stronger interconnectedness. We tend to focus on things from a local lens without even seeing them from a global perspective. But this pandemic opened our eyes and hearts to recognize the universality of our conditions – and now, we will be more apt to understand everything from a larger interconnected view.

    Nonprofits will benefit by collaborating on fundraising initiatives with other nonprofit organizations, building on their interconnectedness and shared vision.

  2. Growing generosity. While the pandemic caused an economic downturn and health crisis, it also renewed and fostered a growing sense of generosity. Despite bringing with it a sense of economic uncertainty for many, the pandemic helped cultivate an increasing population of new donors.

    Nonprofits should build on this positive message: even as people struggle apart, they share the same heart of giving when they can.

  3. Greater emphasis on digital techniques. How we communicate and deliver our message to existing and potential donors has already changed. This shift necessitates the use of technology and digital strategies to engage with consumers and even generate leads. Text messaging, e-appeals, video marketing, and online campaigns became the new norm.

    Nonprofits, always budget conscious, will find it advantageous to increasingly rely on these technologies, which are less expensive than traditional approaches

  4. Better ability to manage and analyze data. Even before the pandemic, nonprofits were increasing their use of data as a critical component of fundraising, to understand prospects and strategize accordingly, and measure results. For many nonprofits the pandemic exposed gaps in their data and databases, underscoring the need for comprehensive research and data management systems.

    Going forward, nonprofit fundraising success will be tied directly to having accurate, up-to-date data, and the ability to manage and understand that information, compelling organizations to invest in their data infrastructure.

  5. Increased reliance of hybrid approaches to events and fundraisers. With the shift to online and remote processes last year, nonprofit organizations have discovered greater cost efficiencies and improved productivity that comes with virtual fundraising – and so far show no signs of abandoning the virtual or hybrid (a mix of virtual and in-person) events and fundraisers.

    Nonprofits will be challenged to involve prospects and donors by keeping virtual and hybrid events engaging and rewarding to them.

  6. A more efficient way of donating. The growing use of online fundraising has opened the opportunity for nonprofits to rally support digitally. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, easy and secure online giving has become more common and popular. Now we have QR codes and text-to-give. Just swipe and click, and then it’s done!

    These technology developments set the stage for nonprofit fundraisers to build on the five developments outlined above to help more people translate their good intentions into ongoing support.

The pandemic very likely accelerated changes that were already coming to the nonprofit fundraising world. Because many nonprofits on a daily basis have to figure how to do a lot, often with scant resources, they already know how to navigate change. Now it’s a matter of acting on the new opportunities in front of them.

Robin Cabral, principal of Development Consulting Solutions, is a certified fundraising executive who works with mid-sized nonprofits to build capacity and improve fundraising results. Email her at rcabral@developmentconsultingsolutions.com or call 508-685-8899.

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