News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research
Novel challenges and crisis allow individuals and organizations to transform and emerge stronger by implementing new operations. We continue to work through our “new-normal” activities as the challenges posed by COVID-19 remain. This “new-normal” is probably here to stay for a while, but we will become more strategic and creative in delivering outcomes in the long run.
Bentz Whaley Flessner’s whitepaper, Fundraising In Times of Economic Uncertainty, offers some thoughts that might be helpful to understand fundraising during the pandemic. As we already know, the current crisis is nothing like what we have seen in the past. This is the time to learn how organizations performed during and after economic recessions in the past. According to the whitepaper, we should “take this time to focus on prospecting, conducting resilient sector analysis, conducting research on top philanthropic priority donors, and looking at who gave the most generously in the wake of 9/11 and the Great Recession.” Just like nonprofits and other organizations, this pandemic has affected donors in different ways. It is best to reach out to supporters and communicate with them regularly. Data on existing and past giving behaviors can be analyzed to predict future giving patterns and can serve as a guideline when reaching out to donors at present.
While creating newer long-term plans for institutions, we can reach out to our current and most loyal donors/supporters to engage them in the planning process. Allow constituents to provide their input and advice on current issues. This is valuable as their ideas and feedback may provide better insight on the future of fundraising and will also keep them engaged and connected to your causes. It might be beneficial to find meaningful ways to get donors engaged within your organization. Consider asking them to serve on a search committee or volunteer on a board. In the future, digital communications and virtual engagement will continue to play a role in fundraising efforts. As is stated in the whitepaper, “education institutions will have a class of alumni with a vastly different nostalgia experience.” Therefore, it should be our focus to make this experience a positive one for our current and future alumni. Technology will continue to enable us to do our work more effectively and efficiently, and to stay connected to donors through various channels.
I hope we continue to grow with the changing environment and that the lessons learned will help us to shape the new normal. As always, please feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team
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