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Major Gift Predictions And Suggestions During And In Aftermath Of Pandemic 2020

Never stop fundraising.

It is remarkable the difference that one week or even one day is making in this unprecedented global epidemic. Last week we put out a message Fundraising During Times of Strife. In the ensuing days, thoughts have turned to the fundraising landscape post-epidemic and our predictions on shifts in philanthropy. We share these thoughts with you culled from our 26+ years’ experience as major gift consultants, including our experience during 9/11 and the Great Recession, and from thought-leaders at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Key point: Never stop fundraising.

  • Communications are critical during and after this epidemic.
  • Major gifts likely represent the majority of your revenue.
  • Check in 1:1 with your donors – call them, text them, email them individually – see how they are doing and let them know what you’re doing to keep critical services going while protecting staff and clients.
  • Remember that confused donors do not make gifts; and that confused fundraisers do not make asks.
  • In the absence of information, people make up their own – do not risk this with your donors.
  • Laser in on your most critical services at this time, likely around basic needs.
  • Check in with your foundation supporters and see what they see on the horizon and how you can respond – this may get you in their queue for those foundations who are unrestricting gifts, loosening guidelines, making emergency gifts, etc.
  • You should never make decisions for your donors so don’t assume if they will or they won’t give.
  • In your donor outreach, if it feels “insensitive,” i.e. checking in on a pending ask without acknowledging the current reality, then don’t do it.
  • Likewise, if your donor outreach makes you seem out of touch with the current reality, don’t do it.
  • As of this date in early April 2020, nothing seems clearer through this pandemic than the vast inequity in the U.S.
  • We predict that during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, funding is/will shift to issues related to inequity for up to two years.
  • This means inequity in all things – income, job opportunities and stability with better paying jobs, healthcare, education, etc.
  • Inequity runs parallel to social justice issues.
  • It is our opinion that organizations that touch upon basic needs, inequity and social justice will find the philanthropic climate friendly.
  • This means that arts/cultural programs may be impacted, like in the aftermath of the Great Recession. As in all things, funding for these services were eventually restored and they will be restored again.
  • Please do your scenario planning around revenue. You may have to scale back new programming or programming that doesn’t impact the bottom line for clients in the short and intermediate term.
  • Be sure to promote to your donors the new “Universal Deduction” for $300 which isn’t a lot but could turn your $100 donors into $300 this year. Also alert your donors to the increase in tax deductibility to 100% of income –wouldn’t we love to find that donor!
  • Be part of the Stimulus Plan.
  • Always be authentic. Be genuine in your outreach, either to the public or private sector.
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