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3 myths + 3 truths about fundraising in the year from hell (2020)
Written by Craig Morris
Many people have asked for advice on fundraising during this pandemic. I know you may be feeling scared and uncertain of the future. I get you.
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One of my most recent projects was building online individual giving from scratch for the YMCA’s national headquarters in Chicago. And just as we were launching everything, the country was hit by hurricane Harvey…then Irma…then Maria.
I remember a marketing professional advising us that we should “apologize for asking for donations” to help our locals Ys offer shelter. See, she figured that asking for such donations in addition to basketball camps and swimming classes was unseemly.
That line of thinking goes against what charity is about.
We’re in an abnormal time. And our sector is needed during times like these more than ever. So take a moment and confront these three fears…myths, actually…and rather take time to connect with your donor community more deeply than ever.
MYTH 1: Now is not the time to bother our donors.
TRUTH: People are yearning for a sense of control. They’re also desperate for good news. You’re in the position to give that to them. So, offer them the chance to do some good. Don’t deprive them the dopamine rush they get when they give. Don’t wait until this thing blows over…your donor community needs you now more than ever.
Now is the time to engage your base on social media. Learn how to connect with people in a human way even through the internet.
MYTH 2: We can’t get new donors right now—no one wants to take on a new charity.
TRUTH: Americans are the most philanthropic people in the world. Fundraising gives people an opportunity to impact a cause important to them. Don’t take that away by not seeking out new friends.
This is your opportunity to prove your case for support and learn what converts. Ask yourself, “How does our mission improve people’s lives during this challenging time?”
MYTH 3: Nobody has money to give right now.
TRUTH: More than $5 billion has been donated in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t assume everyone’s financial situation is the same. Hell, some people are getting wealthier during this time. And some are waiting to be asked to support our neighbors during this time. Call them…check in on them. Because that’s what friends do.
Invest in your fundraising staff now more than ever. Help them access the latest and best methods and techniques for building a generous and loyal donor community. Dismissing your fundraisers will result in lost contact with donors and more revenue challenges down the road.
IN CRISIS THERE IS OPPORTUNITY. Now is the time to lean into fundraising!
August 15, 2020

Craig Curtis Morris

Cognitive-behavioral therapist, social scientist, and international fundraising consultant rendering the nonprofit sector powerful through training and coaching at
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