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How to Maintain Donor Support Through a Crisis Like COVID-19

It’s no secret. Times are tough, the economy and future in general are uncertain and every single person in the country is impacted. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to shutter your nonprofit’s doors and lay low until the pandemic storm has passed. During any crisis, your donor base needs to hear from you, as do all the people your work benefits. If you’re careful to make the right choices, you can continue fulfilling your nonprofit’s mission during the COVID-19 pandemic with the full and enthusiastic support of your donor base. 

Believe it or not — no, it isn’t in bad taste to ask for donations right now. The key is acknowledging that some people who gave previously won’t be able to give now, but others still can, and they are. Donations for many nonprofits are up right now. A recent study from Fidelity Charitable found that 25 percent of donors plan to increase their donations, while 54 percent plan to maintain giving levels. They’re not planning to shift donations to other organizations, either; they still want to give to their favorite nonprofits. It’s all because there are many nonprofits who are doing their communications the right way, consistently, rather than worrying about only sending their donors the “perfect” ask.

These nonprofits are making their case and being specific about why they’re asking for donations during the pandemic and how those donations will impact the community. What are your nonprofit’s specific reasons for making an ask right now? Do you have more community needs to fill? Are you losing government funding? Do you anticipate losing donor support? Did you have to cancel fundraising or other events? Then tell your donors that!

Make your case, make your ask, thank your donors, provide them with updates, ask again if you need to and repeat.

Affinity Connection has seen first-hand how this process works for nonprofits among our client base. We’ve actively encouraged our clients to be assertive about asking, as specific as possible in communicating how funds are currently benefitting their communities and attentive to acknowledging donor contributions, and those clients have seen the benefits as a result.

The State College Area School District, for example, was able to establish an emergency fund for families in need during this time, supporting its efforts with dedicated print and digital communications. The district has successfully raised $90,000 to help local families cover food, utility, gas and other costs. It’s all because they weren’t scared to give their donors a specific, actionable way to help.

Likewise, the State College Area Food Bank saw a sharp increase in giving following the sending of a print newsletter during the COVID-19 pandemic, to the organization’s prior and potential donors.

Do you need your donors’ support, but you’ve been hesitant to send out communications during the COVID-19 pandemic? Stop hesitating. Talk to an Affinity Connection account executive today and start putting together a strategy to grow your giving and donor support, and increase your nonprofit’s impact, for now and the months to come. Call us at 800-598-4050 ext 131 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.