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How do you pivot with your donors?

Fundraisers, here’s an interesting conundrum for these times. What should we do when a longtime supporter – someone who has really stood with us – doesn’t have the same capacity because of what the world is throwing at us right now?

As if things weren’t complicated enough in fundraising, with worries about who, how and when to host people and gather support, we’re going to bet every single one of you have major donors going through tough times themselves: illness, economic downturns, natural disasters, political upheaval, not to mention the perennial shifts in family dynamics or job status. You name it, these factors are making those tender conversations (in the best of times) all the more challenging.

Plus, these are people you love! Who’ve gotten your organization through! People you’ve counted on! People you’ve partnered with. And now when you ask for something that’s been easy in the past, everything has changed.

We feel you. We feel for you! We’ve got many longtime friends and contributors in similar boats. And we’ve got what we hope will be 5 surefire ways to reframe, relate and relationship-build even when circumstances have changed.

Idea #1: Brainstorm

First and foremost, this is a great chance to slow down. Take your donor out (or meet on Zoom!) for a glass of wine, a cup of coffee or a friendly chat. Put your thinking caps on. Let them share their stories, come up with their own ideas and lead you where it’s most comfortable for them to go next.

Idea #2: Tell the Story

Some donors love to tell their story. We know a longtime donor who even turned their change in circumstances into a very heartfelt appeal – which helped keep them connected and helped the organization raise a ton of money.

Ideal #3: Expand Your Definition of Support

This is someone who once easily wrote a $50K check? Think about other ways they could support you and your work, from connecting you more deeply to their personal networks, offering in-kind resources like a venue/catering or being the best advisor & consultant you’ve ever had.

Idea #4: Meet Your Donor(s) Where They Are

This is a great reminder not just for these times but any times. The more we meet our donors where they are, the better chance we all have to thrive in both the short and longer term.

Idea #5: Be Grateful

We know how grateful you lovely fundraisers already are – it’s one of the greatest parts of the work we do. And these kinds of situations are just another way to show gratitude for who someone is and what their connection with your mission is all about.

Above all, this is a great call to action to stay engaged! Your donors, your sense of purpose and your bottom line will thank you.



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