At times like these it’s easy to retreat, focus inward and hang on to anything that seems “normal.” Especially when staying at home is the safest thing we can do. Those who run our community’s nonprofit organizations don’t have that luxury. Many agencies, like food banks, shelters and medical providers are open and facing exceptional demand for their services to take care of the rest of us. Those who may not be running as usual now are facing dire financial uncertainty. 

These important organizations are advised to keep in touch with their donors and volunteers and not to pull back on fundraising. They are advised to touch base, be honest about their programmatic and financial situation, keep their message short and simple and remind their donors why the organization is important.

“Don’t be pretentious,” says Jeff Brooks with Future Fundraising Now. “Now is not the time to brag about your awesomeness, but to remind donors of why they support you in the first place and the impact you have on the community.” Brooks advises to resist the urge to decide for donors that they can’t or shouldn’t give to you now. Instead, remain ready to help donors realize their own philanthropic greatness. 

For individual donors and grant makers like IWCF it means we need to keep doing what we do for the nonprofits that count on us. As our grantees face overwhelming demand or uncertainty about their futures, we need to be flexible with our gifts to allow the nonprofits to best respond or just to survive the effects of the pandemic. And we can be proactive in asking what’s needed most or in giving unrestricted gifts to meet unanticipated needs. 

In the best and the worst of times, all of our community’s nonprofit organizations fill basic human needs, broaden our perspectives, increase our civic pride or enhance our quality life.  Our community would be far less desirable without them. We are interdependent. Remember how important you are to them, and let them know how much they are appreciated.