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Let’s talk fundraising in a time of global crisis… Much chatter has been heard of late about the appropriateness of making donation asks during our country’s (and the world’s) current health and economic crisis. I feel compelled to provide my professional opinion on the topic since I have been on both sides of the table.

Fundraising in a time of global crisis.

Knowing the struggle nonprofits feel in times like this and understanding the operational need for funding, versus being the individual or company receiving the ask, there is only one option.

Very simply put, never stop making the ask.

There is no way forward without the support and funding of donors, period. So why on earth would you stop?

Obviously, being sensitive to the situation and world around you are key fundamentals to successful fundraising and development. It also is likely your services are needed more than ever.

A few things to consider before developing and making the ask for donations in a time of uncertainty:

  1. How does supporting your organization contribute to the current crisis at hand?
  2. What benefits does supporting your nonprofit have on the individuals, community or corporations you plan to approach?
  3. Is there a more informal way of communicating your financial needs before asking? In other words, can you use social media to tell your story and communicate the need for support, offering links and ways for individuals to support your efforts on their own terms?
  4. What will happen if you stop making the ask? Did you do the math and determine how important donors are to your operations? Your answer should be the ultimate factor in whether you devise a development strategy to fit within the current economic times.
  5. Who do you think will be responsive to an ask? Now might not be the time to approach individuals for their yearly contribution of $10,000 but can you ask a corporation to sponsor an event or become a partner at this time? Or ask your online community to consider making a one-time donation “every dollar counts” style?

Not everyone will be receptive to being asked during a crisis. However, can you think of a time when asking for donations (especially large sums of money) is ideal? Not really. Development is not easy, no matter what the economic or political climate. Just like your online community needs cultivation in times like this, so does your donor base.

Fundraising in a time of global crisis will not be easy, but out of all the industries out there right now, nonprofits are more prepared than any. We strive at times of need and uncertainty, and often find ourselves advocating and becoming the voice for the underserved. Why would that change now?

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