Following is some collective wisdom about fundraising during a crisis, including ideas that are developing in the industry and conversations we have been having within our firm. We offer them to you as part of our continued partnership and deep interest in community philanthropy.

When thinking about fundraising during the current crisis, the tendency may be to retract and minimize efforts in the face of unprecedented hardships. But for organizations that depend upon philanthropy to support their missions, inaction is not an option. In fact, a crisis can be turned into an opportunity to inspire caring stakeholders to dig even deeper and offer help of all kinds. Thus, below are some actionable ideas and resources to review and consider at the onset of this pandemic.

Ideas From Our Peers

In this hour-long webinar titled Capital Campaigns in Uncertain Times, Capital Campaign specialists Andrea Kihlstedt and Amy Eisenstein suggest three immediate areas for action:

  • Take Stock and Calm Your Board
  • Talk to Your Donors
  • Pivot to Address Immediate Needs

Aspen Leadership Group offers the following three briefings:

Consulting firm Grenzebach Glier suggests strategies for communicating with your donors in Donor Communications in the time of Coronavirus

Marc Pitman’s blog discusses the three biggest mistakes a not-for-profit can make during a recession: 1) Becoming pessimistic; 2) Cutting fundraising and marketing budgets; and 3) Apologizing for asking.

And, while it is not possible at this time to quantify the extent to which philanthropic support will be impacted, fundraising consulting giant Marts & Lundy offers these suggestions to ensure you can effectively move your philanthropic initiatives forward during this difficult period:

Additional Thoughts from RGI

Finally, here are three suggestions from RGI Data Specialist David Bellavance about digital security best practices:

Be Careful Where You Click
There have been cases reported of e-mails that look like they are from the CDC but install malware when the link it contains is clicked.  In another case a website that looks like it tracks confirmed cases on a map was actually stealing usernames and passwords stored in a browser.  While we are all eager to get the latest information, it is imperative to remain critical and cautious about clicking links that are from sources that you are not familiar with.

Stick To The Plan (When You Can)
Changes to where we work and how we share information continue to put a strain on our normal routines.  Resist the temptation to go outside of established processes and best practices unless there is a good reason to do so.  Hackers may take advantage of the urgency that people feel around the outbreak and encourage shortcuts (e.g. disabling firewalls, removing password protection from sensitive documents, skipping invoice approval steps) that can expose security risks.

Get Up To Date
Now is a great time to run those updates on your computer that you’ve been clicking “Remind Me Tomorrow” on for the last three months.  It’s also worth spending a little bit of time educating yourself about the technology risks surrounding COVID-19 even if it’s not something that you normally do.  Hackers work in real-time so knowing what is happening today or this week will go a long way to keeping you safe above and beyond the normal conventional wisdom.