As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, many nonprofit organizations are canceling events that were going to give them the opportunity to interact with donors in person. That kind of connection is incredibly valuable, but what happens if you can’t have face-to-face interactions for the foreseeable future?
If you’ve canceled an event or are trying to find ways to stay on top of your donors’ minds during this time, check out the following steps for how to connect with them without meeting in person. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post to see additional resources.
1. Update Your Email Strategy To Reflect The Times
This is the perfect time to review the methods of communication that you’re already using to get in touch with your donors. They’re likely already receiving countless emails from other companies. You might be wondering how you can stand out.
A better question is: What do your donors want to hear right now? Do you really need to send the next email or two that you were originally planning to send? If not, you might want to hold off so you don’t crowd their inboxes.
Remember: Your donors want to hear from you. This isn’t the time to go silent or dark. If you do have updates or wins that you want to share, go ahead! Just make sure your tone is appropriate when communicating with your donors. You may also want to acknowledge the outbreak and how it may be affecting your donors before you ask for donations.
When it comes to your email strategy, take the time to put yourself in your donors’ shoes–or, more accurately, in their inboxes. Think about what they want to hear before you hit send. And don’t forget: If they make a donation, reach out and thank them right away! You don’t want to miss an opportunity to let your donors know how much you appreciate them.
2. Engage With Your Donors On Social Media
If your donors are paying attention to the news, they may be burnt out and worried about the state of the world. Think about how you can engage with them on social media in a way that shows how much you appreciate them. Do you thank your donors when they’ve contributed to your fundraisers? Have you invited them to participate in a social media campaign? Have you asked them to share photos or testimonials that can promote your mission?
During times like these, when so many people feel helpless, your donors may want to be directed to ways they can support your organization. They may also just want to feel like they’re part of a bigger cause. Think about the ways you can reach out to them and make them feel like they’re having an impact.
3. Use Videos To Connect With Your Donors Virtually
A great way to connect with donors is to get in front of them, right? Right. You can’t meet in person, but what you can do is create video content to update them about your mission or share what you would’ve shared in person at your event.
Not a professional videographer or filmmaker? There’s no need to be! Most of us are used to seeing footage shot on a smartphone. Figure out how you can get creative and film updates or new content for your donors.
If you have plans to talk to your donors, you can see if they’d be interested in a video call instead of a phone call. Take advantage of video conferencing software like Zoom or products like FaceTime and get some virtual quality time with them.
4. Host A Virtual Fundraising Or Social Event For Your Donors
Our friends at Classy* have put together a great post on how to maximize your fundraising event revenue when moving from an in-person event to a virtual one. If you were going to host an in-person event, is there a way you can create a virtual component that gives your donors a way to experience the fundraiser in a new way?
If you want to connect with donors in real time, think about hosting a virtual happy hour or an event that makes sense for your nonprofit. If you’re promoting animal rescue efforts, for example, can you host an Instagram Live while you walk your rescue dogs? If your mission is to get more children to read, can you record one of your staff members reading a book to your donors’ children who will be watching from home?
5. Think Beyond Digital Connection Points
You can email your donors, talk to them on social media, send them videos, and invite them to virtual events, but what are your options for communicating offline? No, you can’t be in the room with them, but your messaging and branding can.
Have you handwritten thank you notes to donors in the past? Were you planning to send them after an event that you had to cancel? If so, think about asking your staff to send handwritten letters to your biggest and most active supporters. It’ll go a long way to show your donors that you’re thinking about them.
6. Highlight Other Ways They Can Give
If your donors are going to miss out on an opportunity to support your mission in person, they’re likely still looking for a way to donate. This is a good time to remind them about other ways they can support your organization. Take AmazonSmile, for example. When your donors shop on smile.amazon.com, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of their choice.
If they’re able to donate to your organization through AmazonSmile, this might be something to include as a reminder in your emails or social media posts. That way they’ll be thinking about you when they’re at home and shopping online.
Communication Resources For Nonprofits During The COVID-19 Outbreak
These resources may help you as you find ways to connect to donors.
- How To Use Technology To Increase Donor Trust In Your Nonprofit Organization
- 6 Tips To Write Nonprofit Emails That People Actually Read
- 4 Steps To Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story Through Email
- If You Send Your Emails During These Times More People May Read Them
- How To Create Explainer Videos That Donors Will Love
- 3 Ways To Avoid Scaring Supporters Away With Heavy Content
For more content related to COVID-19, visit our coronavirus resource center.
*indicates the organization is a Kindful integration partner
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