Even in a time of crisis, it is key that your nonprofit continue to ask for financial donations to support your mission, goals, and community support objectives.

The world as we know it has changed over the past few months and these changes are impacting charitable organizations all over the world. If your nonprofit is like most, COVID-19 has altered the way your organization responds to community needs, utilizes volunteers, and requests donations. Your organization may be tempted to put fundraising efforts on hold, due to the global pandemic, but many experts in the nonprofit space say now is not the time to do so. Believe it or not, but a recent analysis performed by DonorTrends found that nonprofits can survive times of uncertainty and even prosper if they continue to ask for donations.

The study, which looked at data pertaining to the Great Recession, found that giving to nonprofits, during the crisis, remained steady. It is important that your organization remembers that people believe in the greater good of a community, even during uncertain times. By continuing to fundraise, your nonprofit can prepare for your organization’s response for today and the long-term need of the community as a result of the pandemic.

If your organization is not sure how to fundraise during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are 4 tips that can help your nonprofit create an organized, impactful, and strategic approach to requesting financial support.

Consider Volunteers as Donor Prospects

Volunteers are some of the most dedicated individuals on the planet. They want to see your organization succeed, reach goals, and continue to fulfill the mission, even in times of uncertainty. Many volunteers have a personal connection with the mission of the organization they are providing their time to. Chances are, your organization has seen the same trend. Volunteers make great fundraising candidates because data shows that many of them are willing to give their time and financial resources to the same cause.

Your organization’s volunteers are also probably aware that the current pandemic is restricting their ability to give via volunteerism, and they may be interested in giving financially instead. Your organization will never know if volunteers are willing to donate financially unless you ask.

Studies have shown that volunteers who give financially, on average, donate 10X more than a prospect that does not volunteer. Creating a strategy to cross-pollinate volunteers and financial donors can provide your organization with a huge opportunity and value.

Here are some additional tips on how to covert volunteers to donors and vice-versa.

Effectively Communicate Your Organizations “Ask”

Asking for financial donations is a delicate conversation and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. The key to fundraising during times of uncertainty (and times of certainty) is communication. Effective communication can help your organization forge a strong bond with donor prospects prior to making the first donation request. It is important to remember that supporters want to hear the good work that your organization is doing and be involved in your nonprofit’s mission. The best way to ask for financial donations is to create strong emotional connections, demonstrate reach, and communicate capacity.

Here are a few tips (from Blackbaud) on pitching your charity to major donors:

  1. Learn to listen to donor prospects.
  2. Understand your donor’s industries.
  3. Don’t focus solely on your charity’s needs.
  4. Tell an effective story.
  5. Be professional, patient, and persistent.
  6. Keep your pitch simple and to the point.
  7. Prepare adequately.

Devote Time to Thank Existing Donors

Now is a great time to thank your organization’s existing volunteers and let them know that your nonprofit is continuing to pursue the mission, even in a time of uncertainty. There are many ways that your nonprofit can thank donors (and volunteers). Here are a few ways to show appreciation:

  1. Communicate all the good things your organization is able to accomplish with donations.
  2. Send donors personalized thank you cards.
  3.  Give “special” recognition to major/recurring donors.
  4.  Feature top donors on your organization’s marketing site.

Here are additional tips on how to thank donors from Nonprofit Pro.

Use Technology to Host Events

One of the top concerns that your organization may have during the COVID-19 pandemic is in-person events. If your organization needs to cancel all in-person fundraising events, remember that technology can be leveraged to fill holes.  Technology can help you’re nonprofit continue to host fundraising events, without the need to meet in-person.

If your organization has never hosted virtual fundraising events, it may be a great time to incorporate them into your COVID-19 response and fundraising strategy. Hosting virtual fundraising events can allow your nonprofit to reduce health risks to supporters, reach more prospects, and reduce potential “no-shows.”

Check out these tips from Blackbaud on developing virtual fundraising events.


Many nonprofits, just like yours, have been impacted by COVID-19 and are finding ways to adapt to the pandemic and still reach donors. It is crucial to consider volunteers as donor prospects, effectively communicate your organization’s “ask”, develop a plan for thanking existing donors, and create a strategy for using technology to adapt to change.

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