As people around the globe face economic uncertainty, they may be tempted to pull back from their regular charitable giving as they ask, “What if?”
Premier Donor Strategies, a company that has worked with some of the nation’s most prestigious sports organizations, corporate brands and non-profit organizations for more than 25 years, says there are still wise ways to engage donors, even during the most challenging financial times.
Timothy Smith, who has been working in non-profit administration, management and fund development for over 30 years, is working with Premier Donor Strategies to help engage donors and organizations through major events—and, now, virtual donor experiences.
“Leaders are tiring of the green light on our computers reminding us every day of the distancing we are having from our key donors, stakeholders and constituents,” Smith wrote in a new commentary published by Charisma Leader magazine. “Meanwhile, data updates almost weekly tell of the season we are facing economically: People are worried about their jobs, spending is down, people are concerned about a slow recovery, people are going to be cautious about spending and giving, charitable giving is already starting to decline, and the list goes on.”
“In the midst of all of these challenges and discouraging expectations, great things appear to still be happening in many of our faith-based ministries: organizations are working more efficiently, donors are more accessible than they ever have been before, and we have more time and opportunity to invest in building authentic relationships with our constituents.”
In this season, Smith says, organizations can consider five key strategies to engage and minister to their donors, while at the same time present an opportunity to give as they are able:
1. Keep your focus on mission and vision.
While the function and delivery of our work has definitely changed during this season, we need to demonstrate ways in which our work is actually taking place. In some cases, you may be seeing a particular uptick or increase in ministry impact. These are the stories we want to tell. We need to beat the drum loudly to let our donors and constituents know, our work goes on!
2. Acknowledge and appreciate your donors for their past faithfulness.
Take this time to reach out and acknowledge your donors and let them know how much you appreciate the way they have stood with you in the past. Minister to them during this season! Thank them! Check in with your donors to see how they are doing.
3. Look for those key opportunities to ask appropriately.
This is a tricky time to ask for money. While the economy is highly unstable, you have to move forward cautiously with your donors. Understanding where they are in this crisis is key. The most important thing is to create opportunities for your donors to engage during this time of isolation, such as a virtual donor experience. This engagement also creates an opportunity for an appropriate ask of your donors.
4. Be careful not to kick off big, new and long-term initiatives right now.
Stay in the present with your donors. This is not a time to be casting a long-term vision and plan. Most people are thinking through the next few weeks. Keep your donors on that track with you as well.
5. Let them know while it’s not “business as usual,” you are pressing forward.
There is certainly some fear in our world right now. Helping your donors understand how you are proceeding in this season is important. However, don’t be too aloof as though this crisis is not affecting your organization. It’s not business as usual. But that’s where an opportunistic mindset comes in. Help your donors understand how you are adapting within your mission to continue your good work.
Premier Donor Strategies is the extension of the world-class event marketing company, Premier Sports Management, that has been working with professional sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLS, in addition to collegiate governing bodies such as the NCAA, College Football Playoff and National Association of Basketball Coaches for over 25 years.
Premier has taken the excellence required from the demanding, high-performance world of sports and integrated many of the same principles into the NPO world—with an intentional focus on those with faith-based initiatives. In the current landscape, this means assuring donors that effective ministry is still happening during the “social distancing” environment and that organizations are taking a proactive, creative approach rather than just “waiting it out.”
During its current focus on producing virtual donor experiences, the Premier team handles all aspects of the development, production and delivery of the virtual event within a system that includes close communication with ministry leadership to develop the strategy, content, timelines, design, scripting and messaging.
“The launch of these live, virtual experiences is intended to glean the most successful aspects of our destination events,” said Premier Donor Strategies CEO Gary Heise, “and bundle them into a quick-hitting webcast to inspire high-capacity donors to stay involved with ministries during this critical time.”
Learn more about Premier Donor Strategies at premierdonorstrategies.com.