Without a doubt, 2020 was a difficult year for many organizations. Often, they were expected to serve more people with fewer resources all while taking extra health and safety precautions. Unfortunately, many had to forego fundraising events that brought in significant revenue. The uncertainty and challenges have led many people to ask me how nonprofits and ministries can continue AND not just hang on but thrive.
Perhaps your organization has been riding a wave for the past few years where fundraising was relatively easy and donations just seemed to flow in. When fundraising is “easy” nonprofits and ministries tend to get lazy and forget about building relationships—but, when fundraising is more difficult, it is important to go back to the basics and build relationships.
Transactional donations work when times are easy, but we are presently in an economic climate where relationships are essential. Building relationships helps donors to connect to the organization at the heart level. The Bible tells us that our actions are a reflection of our hearts and giving is a reflection of our heart condition.
As ministry and nonprofit leaders, we have a responsibility to minister to the hearts of those who support our work.
Going forward, we might need to look at fundraising differently. We need to connect with the hearts of our donors. Below are several key ways to connect:
- Tell stories. I have said it over and over, but it is true. Donors like stories and remember them. Stories of change in the lives of real people connect with the hearts of those who hear and read them. Your organization needs to put a significant emphasis on the collection of stories going forward.
- Use social media to stay connected. By now, I am sure you realize that many people are active on at least one social media platform. Use social platforms to stay connected throughout the year—even when you are not asking for money. This is going to require regular and consistent posting.
- Get your audience involved in your work. Everyone can do something, it may require some creative brainstorming but find ways to get people involved. People who are active participants in the work of an organization are more likely to become regular and consistent donors. (Remember, we give out of a reflection of what is in our hearts).
At this point, do not lead with fear. The current situations are not a surprise to God, and to be honest, if your organization is living out his mission, he really doesn’t need our money. We just get an opportunity to participate in ministry with him through our giving.
Continue staying focused and true to your mission and to God’s leading. Seek out wise counsel. Develop an effective communications plan that includes looking at your website, your social media platforms and your print materials.
Work like it depends on you but pray like it depends on God.
Sweet blessings to you my friends.