Times of Major Transition Equals Fundraising Opportunity – Don’t Miss It!

by Elliot Levin, PRG President & Founder

Tran-si-tion: the process or a period of changing from one state to another.

We’ve all been through mega-transitions in the last two years: the pandemic, wildfire, drought, power shut offs, a newly remote workforce, and a wave of nonprofit professional retirements. And yet, charitable giving in the US and especially in the Bay Area has never been greater. This phenomenon debunks traditional notions that donors gravitate to stability and certainty. Rather, donors are newly motivated by a sense of urgency, well-articulated needs, and new possibilities.

At PRG we’ve seen 5 key strategies adopted by clients hit by immense transition that have resulted in high-performing fundraising.

  1. Steady communications about people. Donors want to hear real stories, frequently told about how your organization’s transition response has impacted lives. It’s not about your agency woes. It is about who you serve.
  2. Listen. People and organizations in every corner of our communities have faced huge challenges. Things have not been easy nor pretty. Ask your supporters to share their challenges and concerns, and new priorities that may have arisen from great change.
  3. Candor. Be honest about your organizational challenges and those you serve. Your willingness to be vulnerable will give your stakeholders permission to really open up to you.
  4. Get out from behind the curtain. Transition is a time to tell your stories directly. Donors want to hear from you – and not (only) by mail, email, and social media. Pick up the phone and talk. Better still, go visit now that we can come together safely.
  5. By all means, it is time to retool. With all the change we have faced over the last two years, now is a great time to revisit fundraising strategies and systems that support them. Successful organizations are creating a new, post-pandemic fundraising strategic framework. What better time is there than one of great external change and internal transition to pause, assess, identify new opportunities, and then retool. Fundraising counsel like PRG can help and be a reliable sounding board and change agent.

Look no further than our clients at Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, who were in the middle of a $27 million capital campaign when everything shut down. But by showcasing how the pandemic impacted the lives of adults and families living on the streets, they sustained fundraising momentum and blew way past their campaign goal, ensuring that the Caritas Center would be built on its original schedule!

Consider the efforts of the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond. In the last 24 months they were forced to shut down programs serving nearly 4,000 young people in schools and at their center. Their founding executive director of 30+ years retired. They sang and danced via Zoom for months. And their fundraising soared.

The PRG team possesses backgrounds in executive leadership, social work, board development, strategic and business planning, and – of course – fundraising. We can help your organization recognize and then leverage all the opportunities that transition actually offers. You can’t stop transition. You can come out the other side even stronger. Email us or give us a call!

Photo Cred: Dan Meyers/Unsplash
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