We all know that 2020 is an atypical year and that many industries have taken a hit to their bottom line. Unfortunately, nonprofits are not immune from the impacts of the pandemic and they are taking the biggest hit in critical donations that fuel their mission.
In fact, a recent report states that nonprofits have experienced a 6% decline in giving since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic fully hit the United States. That may not seem like a huge number, but when you consider that nearly one third of charitable contributions happen in December, you can understand why 77% of non-profits are feeling a moderate to high negative impact on fundraising in 2020 – many saying they are concerned that they won’t see their typical gains this holiday season.
Because of this, we have seen a shift in strategy from traditional fundraising efforts, mostly dictated by social distancing restrictions. Fundraising events have become virtual events. Galas have now become partnerships. Special dinners have become online calls or an e-card.
While social distancing restrictions have impacted traditional fundraising efforts, they have not derailed public relations and social media which remain powerful tools for fundraising. Here are a few short-term PR and social ideas that can help boost donations for your organization this holiday season.
Find compelling stories to drive awareness.
Non-profits have a great opportunity to leverage PR and social to build awareness of the organization and mission through the placement of touching human-interest stories. According to one report, human-interest stories made up 25% of total COVID-19 coverage with Fear/Scare coming in second at 15% and the Economy following in third at just over 10%. This type of story continues to be a huge attraction for the media who are seeking positive, uplifting content during these difficult times and can serve as a powerful reminder to potential donors of why your mission is worthy of their support.
Finding impactful stories can be as easy as reaching out to your existing network of employees, volunteers, donors and members. People are eager to share good news now more than ever, so simply asking can result in a lot of returns. You can also consider an internal contest for story submissions. A little incentive can go a long way as you seek to get as many stories as you can, not only to pitch to the media, but to share on your social channels.
Leverage your partnerships to reach a broader audience.
Your for-profit partners know how important their relationship with you is as it can help them increase loyalty and sales. They also often have a much broader social following than you might. Make it easy to help these partners tell your amazing story by giving them the information and tools that will allow them to share your stories in an incredible way. This can be as easy as social content or a blog about one of your human-interest stories.
Don’t have current for-profit partnerships? You may want to consider researching options as more and more businesses are seeking philanthropic ties, while others are ramping up existing efforts. This should be part of your longer-term goals as you look into your marketing strategies for 2021 and beyond.
Inspire your social followers to engage their network.
Fifty-four percent of donors say they plan to maintain their funding level. That leaves a lot of current donors on the fence. Most likely, this decision is spurred on by financial hardships brought on by COVID-19. Even if people don’t have the means to make financial contributions right now, you can still inspire them to help boost your fundraising efforts via social media and their network which may have previously been untapped territory. A few ideas include:
- Creating a personal fundraiser on individual personal Facebook pages
- Sharing, liking and commenting on an organization’s posts
- Tagging a friend in a philanthropic post
- Leaving a review for your organization
- Giving your organization a shout out on their social media
These may seem like obvious actions, but a little nudge from you on social media could mean the difference between a donor who was not aware of your organization or mission to one who will be a repeat donor year over year, or season over season.
While these short-term strategies can help boost fundraising efforts to close out 2020, non-profits will need a longer-term strategy to combat what appears to be a challenging 2021 as well.