5 ways to protect your fundraising income during the coronavirus pandemic
As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to widen, there are a number of steps charities can take to help protect their fundraising income, particularly regular giving. Scott Gray from Rapidata offers some advice on how you can help protect your fundraised income during this time of uncertainty.
- 1. Ensure you are communicating effectively with supporters
Now, more than ever, is the time to ensure you are communicating with your supporters, keeping them up to date with any changes to your organisation. Be open and share the challenges you are facing as well as the very real need to continue your vital work.
Sensitively and gratefully reinforce the importance of their donations by showing the impact of your work. If you don’t have a strong digital offering, now is the time to put one in place so you can communicate swiftly and effectively.
Meantime, you can use social channels to keep communications open – with so many people at home, there’s a greater chance they’ll be online to see your messages and engage with your campaigns.
- 2. Mitigate the risk of regular giving cancellations
Some donors will be considering cancelling their regular giving payments as they tighten their belts over worries about finances over the coming months.
Think about what you can do to help them continue supporting the charities they care about.
This could be providing donors other options other than a straight cancellation such as, skipping a payment, taking a payment holiday for a few months, or adjusting the amount they give.
Calling donors that cancel to thank them and letting them know if appropriate that they can pause their donation or scale it back to just a few pounds, may help manage your cancellations.
- 3. Review your online giving form
With people now confined to their houses, if people are looking to give, they’ll go online. Optimise your online giving form to ensure it is easy to find, that it’s mobile optimised, and simple to use.
Be sure to offer a clear range of giving options, and make sure that it is well-branded with the same consistent livery and messaging as your other webpages, so donors feel confident about giving through it.
- 4. Make sure staff have what they need to do a good job from home
With the Government advising that all who can should work from home, it’s essential that your systems and software for donations and regular giving are set up for this – and importantly that your staff are trained and confident in how to use them remotely.
Being agile in your messages according to rapidly evolving events and ensuring your regular giving pages or your postal communications are relevant and timely can make all the difference to cancellations.
- 5. Consider outsourcing for expertise and assured security
If you usually manage your donations processing in-house and your staff are now working from home, you will also need to consider how to reduce the likelihood of problems, such as payments going unprocessed, processing errors, and reduced visibility of payments coming in.
Perhaps consider a temporary outsourcing solution to cover you in the short term, to alleviate pressures and avoid possible errors or delays. This can give you peace of mind that day to day processing will continue efficiently and securely in the background while you will have more time to focus on service delivery. Once you feel more comfortable or current situation changes, you can take back your processing as before.
While nothing feels certain at the moment, people will want to support their favourite causes if they can, and staff will want to do a good job wherever they are – so it’s about facilitating both of these groups proactively and positively to help things run as smoothly as possible in these unusual times.
Scott Gray is Head of Payments at the Access Group and Rapidata lead
See this page for all the latest information for fundraisers about the coronavirus outbreak from the Institute of Fundraising. It will be kept updated.