This is a time for community, and it is important to look for ways to reach out to community members that might not be your wealth targets. By including established consumers in your market, you can move forward with our message of “all-for-one” and build affinity to your goals. Now is the time to engage with community stakeholders that will donate in smaller amounts. It’s important to accept all that you can get right now and having 1,000 people donate $50 is still a great success. Your community wants to help so continuing engagement is important not more than ever.

Below are some interactive ideas that we think can be successful in keeping your current and prospective donors engaged during this time.

  1. Change up your campaigns to help others within the community. Healthcare foundations have mobilized quickly in setting up COVID-19 campaign pages for people to donate online. While this is important and we recommend keeping these pages up, you should think about different campaigns you can run to further support this effort in different ways. Getting PPE for those on the front lines is of mass importance but there are other ways where you can help your health system and other struggling businesses in your community. For example, you could send out an email asking for donations to help provide daily meals for the health system staff on the front line. In turn, you will be helping local restaurants who are experiencing extreme revenue losses. By providing a variety of campaign ideas that people can donate to, you might appeal to others who could have ignored your previous outreach efforts just asking for money.
  2. Make your donors and prospects feel exclusive. Ongoing engagement is really important right now because eventually we will get out of this. Send “insider” information to all your current donors about how your health system is responding to COVID-19. Share personal stories from doctors and nurses on the front line. Try to share positive news from volunteers and offer ways to help beyond just donating money. It’s important to be consistent so set a schedule of when these emails and/or direct mail will go out. Once a new donor contributes, enroll them in this exclusive “insider” campaign to keep them informed. When this is all over, donors will remember who reached out to them and will likely grow their affinity to your foundation.
  3. Hold an online auction. Since every golf tournament, gala, etc., that was to be held in the next couple months have been canceled, consider doing an auction online. You can hold a silent auction for a week where people can log in and bid on items. Then, you can do a virtual live auction for bigger ticket items. This will give your donors an interactive activity to do while they are staying home. Don’t have auction items? There are some amazing travel packages right now since like most industries right now, the travel industry is struggling and slashing prices to increase post-COVID-19 demand.
  4. Have a competition with your staff for ideas. Since everyone is staying home, it would be fun to inject healthy competition amongst your foundation staff to come up with different ideas to improve donations. Having a weekly brainstorm and offering a small prize to the staff member who thought of something outside the box could really generate a lot of good will and rapport within your team.

Every company is scrambling to adapt to this new reality, but people within your community do want to help. By continuing with thoughtful engagement to your donors and prospective donors about various campaigns and efforts where they can help, they will keep you top of mind once we all get through this. To learn more about additional fundraising ideas during this crisis, check out our blogs on a short-term action plan for COVID-19 and ways to enhance donation efforts during this pandemic.