As we eagerly await the return to a more normal life and work climate, it’s important for nonprofits to begin considering post COVID-19 strategic planning initiatives that address how to best move forward after the storm. A critical first step is to review data to see how things have changed since the pandemic hit. How has COVID-19 affected talent gaps? What have the effects been on nonprofit fundraising efforts and giving? Harvest Development Group is helping organizations address the following pandemic-related challenges and moving them into the future so they’re prepared for the coming years.
1) How Has the Donor Community Changed and What Does This Mean for Your Strategy?
COVID-19 has made nonprofit fundraising challenging in many ways. Gone is the ability to meet in person. This not only affects meeting directly with donors, but it has all but eliminated critical capital campaign fundraising efforts such as galas, charity events, and other large gatherings. In addition, travel restrictions have limited the ability to engage, and reduced revenues and incomes have hampered the ability of businesses and individuals to give.
Nonprofit strategic planning initiatives have been utilizing online fundraising efforts for several years now. COVID-19 has accelerated and deepened the need for implementing technology to aid the process. And it’s likely that many of these practices will remain more commonplace after the pandemic has subsided. As a result, nonprofits should be working to ensure they are fully incorporating technology into their fundraising efforts. Video chat, virtual events, email, social media, and webinars are all tools that will likely remain relevant for reaching and appealing to donors.
2) What Have We Learned About Talent Gaps?
Like many industries, the nonprofit workforce has been affected by COVID-19. Layoffs have been a necessity as nonprofit fundraising efforts have been more challenging. This has left gaps in the talent pool of many organizations. Who on staff, for example, is capable of developing strategies to guide the organization through this difficult time, and beyond? Harvest Development Group has been a critical strategic partner to help fill those gaps. We’re helping them navigate the challenges and provide solutions that can help guide them amidst significant disruption.
3) Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Philanthropy as you Change Strategy
Despite a raging pandemic that affected the incomes and revenue of millions, giving increased by almost 7.5% in the first half of 2020. Gifts of less than $250 grew by 15.3% compared to 2019. Gifts of $1,000 or more increased by 10.4%, and mid-level gifts ($250 to $999) increased by 8%. Major philanthropists also contributed by committing $10.3 billion globally in the month of May alone.
The pace, scale, and urgency of giving in these months shined a light on the potential for future giving practices. The philanthropic response by individuals and institutions to COVID-19 was quick, agile, and committed. Now, and in the future, nonprofits must work on ways to keep those practices in place. Nonprofits need to encourage the simplification of the giving process, reduce barriers that make it challenging and time-consuming to give, encourage donors to dig deeper citing the successful response during those months, and encourage bringing donors together to partner around funding capital campaigns.
4) Don’t Ignore The Lessons of The Pandemic
As nonprofits approach their strategic planning goals, post-COVID-19, it’s important to take note of the lessons that have been taught. Organizations should develop emergency plans that help get them through challenging times in the future. Ramping up fiscal responsibility is an example. This may include putting plans in place for how to cut back on certain initiates and/or make changes in priorities.
Organizations can also prepare by being attuned to the availability and process of obtaining emergency relief funds set up specifically for nonprofits. Consider new fundraising methods that reach beyond the organization’s core plan. And consider capital campaigns designed specifically to build a reserve that can sustain the organization during emergencies.
Nonprofits that have strategic planning initiatives in place that address the changes that have and will come, will thrive post-COVID-19. By doing so, organizations will also be positioned for success should another unforeseen emergency occur. Developing strategies to overcome monumental disruption such as COVID-19 can seem daunting to nonprofits. Harvest Development Group is here with the help that they need.