What can fundraisers do to let the light in?
As we all adjust to new ways of living and working, many of us are witnessing how generosity and kindness have the power to pierce through the gloom. Here, we explore how fundraisers can be part of that process, shining a light on new opportunities for giving and staying positive, even in the most testing of times.
‘There is a crack, a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.’
Leonard Cohen’s message of hope in the song Anthem, recorded almost thirty years ago, might just as easily describe the extraordinary response we’re seeing to the Covid-19 epidemic. From the tens of millions raised by centenarian, ‘Captain Tom’ Moore to the small, but significant acts of kindness between friends and neighbours, the UK is experiencing a national outpouring of compassion and philanthropy. And, whilst there’s no downplaying the hardship or tragedy in this situation, it’s also important that, as fundraisers, we remain positive and use this period of far-reaching change to plan wisely.
Whether this means seizing the opportunity to sharpen our fundraising strategy, recalibrate activities or build important new partnerships, there are things we can do to minimise the impact of the virus. By thinking creatively and working collaboratively, we are more likely to make a full recovery and emerge feeling ready for whatever comes next. Because, when our lives do return to normal, the need to fundraise will be more urgent and compelling than it’s ever been.
What we can do now
Right now, it’s understandable that many charities are feeling cautious about proceeding with projects and are worried about asking high net worth individuals to consider making large personal gifts. Some grant-makers are also taking stock, deciding what they can do to help and delaying or postponing the processing of applications and awards. However, there are new funds opening up all the time and major organisations like the Arts Council, the National Lottery Community Fund, National Heritage Lottery Fund and Sport England are doing all that they can to help charities stay afloat.
So, this temporary pause could be the time to re-examine your trust and foundation strategy, identifying who your future targets will be and reflecting more thoroughly on how best to approach them down the track. You could also invest in research, uncover new networks and establish where future funding is likely to come from. After all, social distancing restrictions have little impact on talking to prospects and seeking their advice,
if not their support. Whilst the temptation may be to shy away from meaningful contact, we’d argue that now is the moment to engage and connect, rather than to step back. Tactful communications with your supporters will continue to grow your existing relationships, rather than letting them go stale and then expecting to be able to pick up where you eft off.
Making sure that good things continue to happen
When this is all over, charitable institutions will need to be ready to fundraise. If we can overcome our fears and maintain our focus during this period of change, the organisations we cherish will inevitably bounce back. Those vital capital projects will go ahead and life-changing activities will be reinvigorated. Above all, the fundraising profession will be well placed to resume its fundamental role of making sure that good things continue to happen and that society recovers.
To support charities in riding the tide of uncertainty and finding light in the many cracks caused by Covid-19, we recently launched our Gifted Webinar series, now available to watch at www. giftedphilanthropy.com/ resources
Here, we emphasise that whilst none of us would choose the present circumstances as motivation for change, they may just remind us that we’re not alone and that a little positivity can go a very long way.