Marlowe Foster Says, “My Mother Was Right” was written by veteran fundraiser Marlowe Foster, who shares his Mother’s wisdom who said. “I always keep a little money in my back pocket. You never know when you are going to need it.” – Alma Foster
Covid-19 struck with a swiftness and that back pocket money time is now. Four weeks ago I was facilitating a South Carolina training for nonprofits which focused on best practices for raising major gifts. Right now I am writing this from my dining room table as I manage my children’s new educational reality from our home. It is a different world and it will never be the same again.
As a consultant to nonprofits, I am stressing the importance of relevance at this time. Let me be clear…..I LOVE ALL OF MY NONPROFITS EQUALLY! However, we must be honest with ourselves that there are some nonprofits more relevant in the current environment than others. For example, human service, educational and mental health non-profits will take precedence over say….environmental conservation non-profits in the current environment.
Raising major gifts is always about face-to-face asking with donors that have the capacity to give and are connected with your mission. Covid-19 has created a unique opportunity for some non-profits to connect with donors who may have never given them a second thought, but now feel compelled to act in some way.
• Human service organizations will be carrying a significant load for the foreseeable future. Physician offices and hospitals are taxed to the limit right now. Broader human service organizations will need to engage in an even bigger way to ensure that vulnerable populations receive the care that they need over the long-term. Physician offices and hospitals are addressing the acute situations. Human service organizations will need to be there after to address all angles of the individual’s long-term recovery.
• Educational nonprofits or those on the periphery of an educational mission may be pressed into service with a new focus. Covid-19 has caused severe disruption in our educational system. These nonprofits focused on tutoring and mentoring will be sent to the front lines to deliver primary content. We do not know what the future holds around covid-19, but we do know that the educational system is forever changed.
• Mental health non-profits will have a critical role to play during and after the covid-19 outbreak. Covid-19 will drain bank accounts, increase isolation and strain marriages and family units. As my pastor is fond of saying, we were not called to live this way. Little to no outside world interaction. Confined to small spaces. Not being able to hug our mother or father. This is not who we are called to be. Many will struggle mentally and mental health non-profits will play a critical role in righting the ship.
The world is forever changed and the approach of your non-profit must adapt. But, the same bottom-line remains. Face to face asking whether in times of crisis or prosperity is the surest way to raise major gifts. Re-think your mission. How can you specifically help in this time of crisis. Make yourself relevant. Identify your heroic mission of scale and GET TO WORK!
Marlowe foster is a Senior Fundraising Counselor with Development Systems International
Marlowe Foster Says, “My Mother Was Right” was first posted at InsideCharity.org
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