Covid-19 Week 2: Shelter In Place and Seeking Balance


It is week 2 of Covid-19 Fundraising, and most all of us are now working remotely and struggling to maintain a focus on mission and purpose as well as to balance the pressures of our new work environments.  Are you finding your work hours are just as long?  Are you shifting your thoughts from thriving in the new year to just survive?

Week 2: Shelter In Place & Seeking Balance
Covid-19 Week 2: Mother working from home with kids. Quarantine and closed school during coronavirus outbreak.

Here are our three quick thoughts for the week:

1) Hone your response to communications and planning.

Yesterday I received an e-newsletter from a large and highly respected nonprofit institution.  The banner featured the same stock photo that the organization had been using that featured a group of smiling people casually chatting (no social distancing in that group!).  What worked in the past now really struck a false note.  

In a survey of nonprofit and for-profit employees conducted last week by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, 75 percent of respondents from the nonprofit sector stated they had adjusted their messaging to acknowledge Covid-19.  That is only appropriate.  Take another look at every communications piece in your queue and seek the input of colleagues and volunteers to see if it is still relevant and sensitive to our current circumstances. 

This same survey found that 44 percent of nonprofit respondents had no plan in place to regain revenues from cancelled fundraisers while 51 percent of for-profit respondents were not clear how the pandemic would impact their businesses.  The certainty of lost event revenues and the possibility of decreased corporate support puts the onus on all nonprofit leaders to immediately develop scenarios for 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months of operations.  Share these with board members and stakeholders and regularly update them as financial situations change. Make them part of the team that is deeply invested in your future.

2) Steward with dignity.

The delicate balance here is that nonprofits need funding now at a time when donors may be facing reduced wages, lay-offs, or a stark decline in asset value.  Is now the right time to make the ask?  Lessons learned from the Great Recession showed that nonprofit development leaders who communicated with grace and dignity to long-time donors who needed to reduce or temporarily stop their contributions retained those donors when the economy improved.  Your donors are your family – hold them close in tough times.  Steward the longer-term relationship with your donor first. 

3) Seek balance in your work week.

Establishing a daily routine may yet be elusive – so strive to at least differentiate your weekends. Try to shut off work demands and do something that makes Saturday and Sunday a separate and distinct experience.  Working at home gives you the dubious opportunity to work ALL THE TIME. Resist the urge!  Seek a balance of work and personal/family time.

Be well, stay healthy, and call on us if we can help you in any way.  We are in this together.