By Susan Ross.
We are confident that a new normal is ahead – we just don’t know what it looks like yet. In the past six weeks, we have posted weekly newsletters focused on what we CAN do, in the context of the hourly, daily and weekly shifts in news. Given where we are now, today’s best advice is to take action to shape your future using the lens of COVID-19… literally:
C – Carry on by focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t. Your mission remains important and you need to keep moving forward.
O – Optimism is a good thing. Make a best-case/mid-case/worst-case fundraising plan so you and your team are ready to take action when the medical and economic cloud lifts.
V – Visit with donors and volunteers by phone each day; reach out especially to those who are hard to reach during normal times.
I – Identify new prospects by taking a fresh look at your database, especially people who have not given in a while. This is a great time to clean up your records.
D – Deliver on your promises, as best you can. Find creative ways to live into your mission and be there for your clients, your funders and your team.
19 – Turns out, this is the 19th recession/depression in the last 100 years. The others, big or small, are part of our history now, and this one will be, too.
We have learned, from navigating other economic downturns, that this is a great time to be creative with your approaches.
- Have you reached out to your longtime partners to find ways to collaborate? What about approaching some new partners?
- Ask your donors and friends to support your cause. Tell them you need their help, maybe more than ever. Don’t just drop an ongoing gift conversation, ask the donor how he/she wants to proceed and adjust accordingly.
- Don’t assume you know who can or can’t make a gift, and don’t mentally preload excuses for people. It is their decision, and we have seen many very generous gifts recently. You can cite changing tax laws, more favorable to nonprofit donors, as an incentive for support.
- Finally, find your voice. Whether you are the Executive Director, Dean, Development Director or Board member, you bring value as a subject matter expert. Develop relationships with an expanded audience that will stay with you to help shape the new normal.
Don’t get left out of the recovery (which we believe WILL happen) by pausing too long during the crisis. Of course, you have had to back off the gas a little, but don’t put on the brakes.
Let us know if moss+ross can help. For example, if your job searches are suddenly frozen, moss+ross’s interim solutions unit has 60+ highly-skilled nonprofit professionals, who can quickly join your team on a temporary, part-time basis to support all kinds of development, communications, marketing and nonprofit management work to help keep things going.
This is new territory and there will be important work to do as we begin to turn the corner. Stay focused on what you CAN do, now and for the future.