Non-profit leaders have had to adjust quickly to a wildly different operating environment than the one planned for at the beginning of the year. Keeping the lights on, maintaining socially distanced and safe programming, standing up remote operations: these are difficult challenges at the best of times. One light in the dark has been sustained contribution levels from individuals and institutions.¹ Donors have risen to meet the challenge of the moment, but what happens next? Behavior may change in the face of sustained economic uncertainty, but how can non-profit leadership boost retention in development programs?
Increasing and improving donor engagement should drive 2021 strategy development for non-profit leaders. CauseMatch found in a recent survey that individual donors are reacting to COVID by giving more to fewer organizations. As donors make decisions around where to give, the level of personal interaction with staff and the intimacy of relationships matter.² Development staff should use existing communications channels and engagement platforms to ask donors how they plan to give in 2021. This is particularly critical for recurring donors of all sizes – individuals and institutions alike. Here are some tactics to support the goal of driving donor intimacy and engagement:
Most of the problems that organizations face today are unlikely to disappear in 2021. There is no shortage of mission driven organizations competing for charitable dollars, and the pot is, unfortunately, unlikely to grow meaningfully any time soon. Non-profit leaders should take steps today to set development teams up for success for the next fiscal year.
¹ “COVID-19 and philanthropy: How donor behaviors are shifting amid pandemic” Fidelity Charitable, October 2020
² “Fundraising During Coronavirus: Donors Are Staying Close to Home” CauseMatch, July 2020