Memo For Development Committee Members: Hints For Nonprofit Fundraising Success During The Coronavirus Shutdown

  1. Include the phrase “during these challenging times” in every paragraph. The phrase can start a thought: “During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to support your local rabbit shelter;” or end a thought: “Don’t forget endangered snails during these challenging times.” Sometimes it can be inserted in the middle of a sentence: “One thing professionals agree on during these challenging times is how vital having a community kazoo band really is.”
  1. Another indispensable phrase is “We’re all in this together.” Work these words into any sentence to imbue donors with warmth, reassurance and an overwhelming desire to be generous. “Nothing says we’re all in this together like remembering the museum of pens and pen wipers.” 
  1. Now that social distancing is a way of life, “social distancing” can reach hard-to-reach supporters. “When social distancing keeps you apart, let the Society of Toaster Cover Crocheters bring you together.”
  1. “We know people are struggling.” Ooh, good one. “We know people are struggling, and now if ever is the time to step up your support of the Historic Maps and Atlases Conservancy.”
  1. Don’t forget to invoke “in these troubled times.” Though similar to ‘challenging,” “troubled” carries a slightly more serious message. “Who can concentrate in these troubled times? Support the Comic Book Fans of America and keep Nancy and Sluggo alive in the nation’s memory!” Or, “You have enough on your plate in these troubled times. Order two memorial bricks at Diamond’s Theater to check one thing off your list.”
  1. Employ “before the lockdown ends” to good effect. “Support the World Coconut Juggling Institute before the lockdown ends!”  “Save the plankton before the lockdown ends!” Don’t leave the sense of urgency inspired by this phrase on the table. Pick it up and put it to use before the lockdown ends.
  1. “During this time of uncertainty” will spur everyone on your donor list to reach deep. “Given your past generosity, we know you won’t neglect the Ceramic Figurines of Angels Society during this time of uncertainty.”
  1. “Liberate” recently joined the list of pandemic-related words and phrases. “Liberate Minnesota!” tweeted the same president of the United States who recently called for closing Minnesota and the other 49 states to protect citizens from the coronavirus. Leaving aside the insanely contradictory messages, we suggest incorporating “liberate” into your next donor ask. “In these challenging times, remember we’re all in this together, whether social distancing or blocking ambulances from reaching the emergency entrance to a hospital because we need a haircut. People are struggling, and in these troubled times, it’s important to liberate victims of heterochromia before the lockdown ends.”
  1. Finally, no successful funder mailing ever goes out the door without a final, urgent postscript. “P.S. Heterochromia is the condition of an eye being two different colors. Help those with this and other unusual conditions by supporting the Weird But Harmless Human Conditions Association during these troubled, challenging and uncertain times.”
  1. If you enjoyed this helpful list of fundraising tips, support your Helpful Lists of Fundraising Tip Writers Association before the lockdown ends.
  1. P. S. Your support is critical to us. Remember, we’re all in this together.

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