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Taking Care and Retaining Major Donors During COVID-19

3 min read
Mar 24, 2020 7:00:51 PM

 Written By:  Carla Maxwell Ray
Senior Generosity Strategist


What to say during COVID 19 Crisis?  How do you retain these top tier givers?

How Money Is Raised
    1. Individual giving accounts for over 68% of charitable gifts. Though the percent is decreasing, we believe that many are establishing foundations and donor advised funds. A large percentage (30%+) from a relatively few higher capacity givers. A significant percentage (20%+) from the next tier of givers.  The remainder from all other givers: annual fund, direct mail & online/mobile.
      Getting funding from the highest capacity givers is the single most important part of financing the vision.
    2. Their key initial support is critical to establishing credibility.
    3. You must have a clear vision, compelling case, and urgent mission.
    4. Remember major donors are people who have needs and interests too.
Here are five essential steps:
Call Your Most Loyal Top Givers
    1. Purpose of call is to check in  - Ask if they are safe and well.
    2. Update them briefly (2 minutes  max) on status of your organization.
    3. Thank them for their continued support.
    4. Ask to end with prayer (one minute).
Most will be voicemail messages
Send Letter, Email (below for a sample) or Video of Leader.
Hope you are well and safe (preferred name).
During this time of crisis and uncertainty, we depend on each other even more. We are fortunate to have a stable home, enough food to eat, and most significantly, peace.  Still, during this season, we are called to share our love with our neighbors through tangible acts of kindness and generosity. We are challenged despite our own discomforts and financial hits, to give over and above the norm.  Physical distancing is what we must practice - not social distancing. The most vulnerable among us need us. This is the definition of community. Our buildings serve little purpose now; still, our hearts define true love.      
We look at the needs in our own backyard, our community and we feel called to act. We see those who need love and care. But then we realize we have needs of our own! What do we do? Shut the blinds? Look away? There are no easy answers, still, I offer these recommendations:
• Be compassionate.
• Be smart.
• Pray at all times.
• Know what resources are at hand.
• Seek advice from experts and listen to CDC recommendations.
• Face your fear and be certain it’s valid.
• Realize you’re not alone, and seek help and join with others (though virtually) for a solution.
The coronavirus is temporary, love is eternal.  

(Include Paragraph with update on your organization during COVID-19.  Emphasize how you are continuing to serve your beneficiaries during this Pandemic)

Know that we care. We are grateful for your generosity. 
Implement Exceptional Stewardship
    1. Acknowledgement
    2. Recognition
      1. Why You Give Interviews:  Feature videos on donors who continue to give despite circumstances
      2. Virtual Meetings with President/Board Chair
    3. Celebrate Givers
      1. Conduct Virtual Parties
      2. Social Media Appreciation
      3. Have fun!

Contact us if you need help in crafting a stewardship plan for your top givers

Do not hesitate to solicit your donors. Though most have experienced financial loss, many high capacity families are financially secure. They want to help and need you to navigate them through the ‘how.’
    1. Create COVID-19 Relief Fund 
    2. Give to the COVID-19 personally and encourage your Board and executive
      staff to support it.
    3.  Consider creative ways to give, ie:  Donor Advised Funds
    4. Solicit and close gifts being sensitive and flexible
    5. Request additional mission giving to replace any operating budget gaps
Lastly, Build Trust. 
Show donors that you care. Personal handwritten notes and intermittent check-ins are valuable. Be consistent in communication and in action. Live the mission of your organization. Reflect the love of Christ.  

More About Carla




Here are other great articles to help you and your ministry during this time: 

COVID19 - A Response Through The Lens of Generosity
Getting The Online Offering Moment Right
11 Ideas for your Church to Consider in Response to COVID 19
The Church is Open — The Building is Closed
Free Training and Checklists to Prepare Your Church for the Coronavirus
Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A Guide For Christian Leaders

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