As fellow humans, our hearts go out to the people of the Philippines as they struggle to recover from the massive destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan. More than 4,000 people are confirmed dead and 11 million were affected, many of them displaced from their homes.
As they always do, American donors are responding generously. The American Red Cross reported it had raised $11 million in the first week alone.
This generous outpouring of dollars is happening at the cusp of year-end fundraising season—a “make or break” fundraising time for many charities. So, how will this impact your organization?
It would be wise to expect some impact—and plan accordingly. Organizations often experience some “soft” performance to their fundraising appeals in post-disaster periods, when charitably-minded donors may already feel tapped out.
So what should you do NOW to ensure that Typhoon Haiyan doesn’t wreak havoc on your year-end fundraising?
First, don’t try to connect the disaster to your mission unless there is a genuine connection. It will feel forced and false. In most cases, unless you work in the international relief or climate change arenas, it will be best not to mention it at all.
Second, make sure that the messages you are sending deliver a clear and compelling description of the urgent need for funds. If donors are forced to support fewer charities this year, make sure they understand why your organization should stay on the top of their list.
Third, consider adding some phone calls to key segments of your donor base to boost response to year-end letters and emails.
Fourth, be social. Get out there on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, et al. with reminders about the season of giving. The more places they see your name, the more likely you are to rise to the top of the list.
Fifth, be prepared that even with your best efforts, this year’s campaigns might be a bit soft. Begin planning now for ways to augment any shortfalls in your Q1 campaigns.
Finally, keep the spirit of giving strong this season by donating generously yourself—to typhoon relief efforts and other charities you believe in.
– Posted by Kathy Swayze