Respect: Fundraising in the Time of Crisis: Is it Appropriate to Ask for Money?

April 9, 2020

by Ann C. Fitzgerald

Replying to NLI Staff, "Stewardship: Protecting Your Faith-Based Organization During a Crisis"

Nonprofit organizations—just like for-profit businesses—are adjusting to new ways of operating. Events have been canceled, travel postponed, and staff displaced to home offices.  

And while nonprofits still need donations to fulfill their missions, they want to be sensitive to donors who are facing challenges of their own.  

So, is this an appropriate time to ask for money? The short answer is…yes.

In Achieving Fundraising Success, I outline some of the main principles of fundraising along with practical tips for building a development program. Despite the challenges we face today, the fundamentals of fundraising have not changed. Nonprofits still need to:  

- Identify, engage and inspire donors

- Build reciprocal relationships in which both the donor and nonprofit give and receive

- Demonstrate the impact of their mission and work

When it comes to asking for money, be sensitive but candid. Fundraisers should listen closely to donors and their circumstances. If the donor is directly affected by the pandemic, this is not the time to ask for money. However, not all donors have been impacted the same way. If it seems appropriate, convey to donors the critical work your organization continues to do and what the donors' support means for the organization’s success.

Second, strengthen your communications. At a time when people are at home with no social obligations, this is a great opportunity to call, email or engage with donors through a webinar. Also, the mail is still being delivered, so don’t hesitate to use this vehicle for communication and appeals.

Fundraising has always been a tough job, and it may have gotten harder. But the fundamentals haven’t changed, and neither has your mission or its importance.  

*****

About AC Fitzgerald

As founder and president of AC Fitzgerald, Ann Fitzgerald has served as a trusted partner and adviser to hundreds of nonprofits and funders. She holds a master’s degree in philanthropic studies from Indiana University and brings nearly three decades of experience in sales, management, fundraising, publishing, and marketing. Her expertise in analyzing nonprofit performance and creating tailored solutions has allowed AC Fitzgerald’s nonprofit clients to achieve their missions, raise more money, and maximize personnel resources.

Ann serves on several boards including the board of visitors at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the board of directors at St. Bernard Preparatory School, and the board of advisors for Talent Market.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America. Ann and her husband live in Alexandria, Virginia.

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