Donor Relations During a Pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected 97% of nonprofits; 56.4% of these nonprofits attribute the loss in donations to failing donor relations. It’s clear from these statistics that maintaining the same donor relations tactics will do more harm than good for your organization.

Choosing the best channel may be a daunting task especially if you don’t know where to begin. We’ll go over the best communication channels and the best tactics that will help keep open communication to boost donor relations.

Best Options for Communication

During a pandemic, you can forget about meeting donors in person and having open communication. In light of this, you should consider choosing communication channels that don’t compromise on any party’s health.

There are three important factors that you need to put into consideration when choosing the best communication channel. They are:

1.)Efficiency in Execution

Efficiency can be measured by looking at how long it takes to communicate as well as the effort required. You should look at what medium of communication works best, for example, it may take 5 minutes to call one person and it can take the same 5 minutes to send a text to 5000 people, In this case, sending a text makes more sense.

2.)Message Personalization

Do the type of messages have to be too personalized? This will depend on the type of donors you’re targeting and how likely they are to donate which will lead you to personalize messages.
You should consider personalizing messages to large donors and the preferred medium here will be a phone call. For small donors, you can use text messages.

3.)Available Resources

How many investors do you have to contact and do you have enough resources of people to assist you in your quest? If you have many investors and a few volunteers, it makes sense to send text messages as opposed to calling them individually.

Tips to Maintain Donor Relations with Large Donors Amidst a Pandemic

Now that we’ve looked at a few factors you should consider when choosing the best communication channel to communicate with your donors, we’ll look at a few tips that will help you when you get in touch with the donors.

Check On Them and Let Them Know How You're Doing

Most donors take a step back from donating when a business is not doing well financially. This is the best time to reassure the donors by getting in contact and letting them know what you’re doing every step of the way.

It might seem like a small step but keeping open lines of communication shows the donors that you care for them and you're not just interested in their money.

Regularly checking on your donors will assist you in:

  • Establishing long-term working relations
  • Understanding them more intimately which will help you tailor-make future messages

The recommended communication channels when speaking with major donors are:

  • A phone call followed by a text message. A call hub like Robocent makes it easier for businesses to have a personalized chat with donors via video conference and text messages. It’s pretty easy to use the platform. Just leave a personalized message through the dashboard and your receiver will get the message.

  • Virtual meetings. During a pandemic, the best thing to do is avoid direct contact with your donors to avoid putting their health in jeopardy. Politicians have understood the importance of teletownhalls especially amid a pandemic, which gives people a better chance of contributing their ideas. You should also take advantage of such platforms to have virtual meetings with your donors. It's more personal than sending a text message because the conversations are one on one. You get a chance to see their reactions and each of the parties can also seek clarification for anything that's not clear.

Send them a Gift Kit

Human beings are social and being socially distanced for long periods of time can have a toll on anybody including donors. Sending your donors a gift makes them feel special and uplift their mood.

A gift also serves as a reminder that you appreciate your donor because it's something they're going to be looking at all the time.

Consider gifting them with items that are functional such as games, a bicycle, electronics, or a watch which they can use and not just look at.

A gift works best when it’s a surprise as opposed to sending them when you want something like funding.

The recommended communication channels here are:

  • Emails. Let your donors know they should expect a gift from you and it's better if you mention the time frame.

  • Text. Let the donors know where the gift is at present and when they should expect it to arrive. People check text messages regularly and they are, therefore, better when sending urgent update messages.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Even amidst a pandemic, it doesn’t hurt to request for donor help. If they are in a position to help, then it will benefit your business. If not, they’ll communicate this and you have nothing to lose.

When communicating with the donors, you should be sensitive and put it in a way that states you understand the state of things. If you come off as being insensitive, you may end up losing them for good. Here are things you can do to ensure you don’t come off as insensitive:

  • Requesting for help when you know the donors are in a position to help you. You can only know this information when you keep in constant communication.

  • Let the donors know about the different methods they can contribute to your organization. They can opt for a low scholarship. They can also contribute in-kind such as volunteering in the organization's activities or spreading the word to other potential donors.

The recommended communication channels are:

  • Phone calls. Calling your major donors is a great way to deliver personalized messages. It also allows you to be transparent about your donor needs.

  • Texts. Text messages are suitable for sending messages to a large group of donors which may come in handy amid a pandemic even when each donor contributes a small amount.

Tips for Maintaining Donor Relations with Corporates

Partner to Provide Aid

During a pandemic, most corporations step in to help in each way they can which is part of CSR. While a corporation can have the willingness and items to donate, it may lack adequate volunteers to distribute the items. The most effective way they overcome this hurdle is by partnering with organizations that distribute the items. You can step in and do the following things:

  • Donate volunteers to the corporates which will not only keep them busy but it will also ensure you establish and maintain good donor relations with the corporates.

  • Use the resources of the corporate such as warehouses to direct the CSR projects. The recommended communication channels in this situation are phone calls, text, and emails.

Offer to Help their Employees

Most companies are struggling to fund their activities including paying employee salaries. If you have an emergency fund, you can channel this to a good cause. It’s one of the most effective ways to strengthen relationships with such companies.

Lending help to other companies will do the following for your organization:

  • It helps you in establishing long-term relationships which will go a long way in spreading your name about your organization.

  • It gives you access to a database of individuals that comes in handy when the pandemic comes to an end.

The recommended communication channels are phone calls to reach out to the companies, text messages to inform the employees of the help you’re offering, and emails to establish the initial contact with the companies.

Tips for Maintaining Donor Relations with Small Donors

Offer Insightful Updates

There's a lot of information going out during a pandemic, most of which comes from unreliable sources and can cause panic. You can use the opportunity to position your brand as an authoritative source of information by putting out accurate and timely information.

You should cover such information like how to keep safe during the pandemic, how to remain productive, and provide updates about the pandemic.

To provide these kinds of insights, the recommended channels are emails to add attachments to validate your information and texts to send messages wherein you can add links to authority sites where the readers can get more information.

Phone calls (IVR) which you can use to relay the latest information regarding the pandemic. You can use different menus, for example, to reply to any queries and another menu where people can leave their questions. A platform like Robocent will work perfectly. You can check out How to use Robocent:

Inform them about What You’re Doing

A pandemic affects all people including your donors. It’s important to understand that just because they are not contributing doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. If you fail to communicate regularly with your donors, you might lose them for good.
Keep them up to date about changes you’re making to your organization (e.g changes in policies and procedures and what they can do to help.) Using social media allows you to reach your donors at once and emails will help you personalize your messages.

Offer Help

If any of your donors are in a crisis and you can help in any way, offer a hand. This way, you'll establish a long-term working relationship and they’ll always be grateful. The best communication channels are social media to reach many donors at once and text to personalize your message.

In a nutshell, if you’re looking to maintain donor relations, you should focus on changing donor communication. Maintaining open lines of communication with your donors is the best way to keep them on board during and after the pandemic.