1 HOUR 3 MINS
Overcoming the Fear of Fundraising in Today’s New Normal
Is it ok to fundraise now? How has fundraising changed in today’s environment? During this webinar, our panel of fundraising experts shares advice on how to overcome fear to confidently embrace fundraising again. You’ll learn actionable tips to connect with donors without seeming insensitive or opportunistic, as well as strategies to keep your nonprofit funded through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and beyond.
Categories: Expert Webcast
Overcoming the Fear of Fundraising in Today’s New Normal TranscriptPrint Transcript
All right. Well, good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us for the webinar, overcoming the fear of fundraising. I see, everyone’s starting to jump on in. So thanks so much for joining us today really excited about the content that we have. My name Read More
All right. Well, good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us for the webinar, overcoming the fear of fundraising. I see, everyone’s starting to jump on in. So thanks so much for joining us today really excited about the content that we have. My name is Justin Daris, I’m the client relations team lead for good are perfect. I probably met some of you at some of our conferences or something like that my hair was probably a little bit shorter than because it’s about a month overdue for a haircut right now. But thank you so much for carving out a few minutes of your day to join us, I do want to take this opportunity to thank many of you who are serving organizations that are providing relief and support for those directly impacted by COVID 19. Right now, really grateful for you and just want to let you know how appreciative you are. This was not the the topic we were planning on covering at the beginning of 2020, overcoming the fear of fundraising, obviously, plans changed. And so this is where we are right now. I work in the client relations team for DonorPerfect and talk to a lot of different organizations. And one of the big questions that come up over the past about two months or so since the quarantine order started, was you know, what does fundraising look like now, in this in this world? What does it look like to communicate and engage with donors and prospects in a way that’s still sensitive in a way that prevents alienation of people going through hardship, but also in a way that preserves your organization and allows you to continue to pursue your mission. And so that’s really that was the question that kind of spurred on the idea for this webinar. And I’m really grateful that Robbie Healy and Charles Alfre are joining us today. I’m going to introduce each of them in a few moments here, but they’re going to be talking about some of the best practices for fundraising during this time. And then Charles, later on is going to talk through a little bit of a case study for what his organization has been doing during this time. But first off, I want to introduce Robbie Healy. Robbie, can you hear me? All right. Absolutely.
Thank you. Thank you.
Yeah, Robbie, how are you holding up?
Good. It’s certainly as you said, it’s very interesting times, but it’s amazing what you can get done sitting at your desk and on the phone. Yeah, yeah.
I know. You mean. So Robbie, can you introduce yourself? Just tell us a little bit about yourself and about your experience in the world of fundraising.
Absolutely. Thank you. And I want to thank you for the invitation to share this, this time with so many organizations, and as you said, doing such important frontline work in many cases. I’ve spent my entire career in the nonprofit sector. Typically, in the development offices I’ve held I’ve worked with small to midsize organizations, or small to mid size shops, oftentimes with boards that were relatively inexperienced with fundraising or new to fundraising, often boards, kind of in a growth mode. And I know that in that culture in that environment, sometimes what we as professionals might think of as intuitive is counterintuitive for them. So this whole journey of how do we navigate fundraising, in a very unusual climate and context has been part of my career path. And it’s interesting as epi His nickname is epi that’s how I know him Charles EBI Alfre, Abby and I were talking about what the Hickman, where he is, has been doing. I was actually the development officer at the Hickman at the time of 911. So navigating a different kind of crisis at a different time. We both had that experience in the same organization, albeit a couple decades apart. But I think there is a lot we can learn from our experience, and then overlay best practice on that. I happen to hold the ACF Murray credential. I am a past chair of AFP International. And I am a faculty member at Villanova. So I think this whole knitting together, practice hands on practice, the academic learning and some of the data if we can do that in the next few minutes. Awesome.
That’s great. Thanks for sharing that Robbie. So Robert is going to take it away in a minute. Really briefly, just want to go over a few housekeeping items. So we are recording this webinar. So if for some reason, you need to step away, you’ve got a little one you need to take care of need to walk the dog. Feel free to take a step away. We’re going to be recording and then sharing this webinar afterwards. And then we’ll also be taking some questions and and to use during this time, so feel free to submit questions in that little chat box there. And we’ll hit q&a at different points during the webinar, and especially at the end. So with that, I’m going to hand it over to Robbie to take away. I’m just going to transition the presentation mode. Over to you, Robbie. This will take one second
All right, Robin, you should be the presumption up one second here.
Yeah, I didn’t see the pop up window. Yeah. The pop up window. You
shouldn’t be gone.
There it is. There is we good? We good. All good. All right. Thank you, Justin. And as Justin said, I’m Robbie Healy and EBI Alfre and I are here, really excited about sharing facts and ideas with you. Our contact emails are on this slide. And if you have questions after the webinar, we’d certainly be happy to take them by email. Today, we plan to cover five content areas. First of all, a little bit about what has history told us oftentimes, my experience is that leaders either governing board members or executive staff will say, Well, how do you know that’s how we should should approach this. Obviously, the past is the past. But we can look at trends from history in order to make informed decisions. We’re going to talk about what we’re offering our donors and what our donors want from us. Based on current anecdotal information, as well as what we know from past difficult times, we’re in a look at a couple of glide paths for how to move forward. And then as Justin said, EPI is going to share with you the live case experiences at the Hickman and how they’ve been moving forward. Starting with a few facts, and I know most of us are very familiar with the data that are released annually by the giving Institute, the information that has been analyzed at Indiana University Lily School of Philanthropy, we think about those pie charts of who gives foundations, corporations, individuals bequest, but beneath that, there are a lot more datasets, and you may be less familiar with those. So I wanted to look at a couple of them, that give us some context for what donors may be thinking. economic events are certainly game changers. You don’t need to be a professional economist in order to know that. But what we do know is that when we look at the economic slide, October of 1987, and when we look at the impact of 2007 2008. And given through 2009, there were declines, we know that there were declines, but it didn’t evaporate to zero. And I think that is the voice that we as professionals are constantly coming up against giving will not go to zero. Not every donor not every individual is equally harmed in the current environment. That’s a little bit hard to remember when we think about the constant barrage of print and broadcast media. But whether they want to admit it or not, some of our donors are doing very, very well. So this is again, a reason that we need to think in segments. And if this graphic is useful to you in helping non development leaders put this in context, even if you look at the recession in 2000 789 10. Look how fast it rebounded. I was on a call last night on a board I sit on. We were it’s a foundation board, and we were looking at portfolio performance. Of course, one of the anomalies that we seem to be experiencing now is that the performance of the mark of the economy may not be in parallel. And that’s something that we’re going to have to really look at if the role of the Fed to keep the market stable is not in lockstep with the economic recovery. That will be yet again another piece of unprecedented history that we’re going to need to to monitor another view of this is to look at market performance tied to donor performance. So one of the things that we are often looking at is what are the resources our major donors are using when they’re making significant and multi year gifts. And of course, many of our major donors or people who’ve been donors with us for a long time, they may be retired in their portfolios tend to parallel the s&p more than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. So when we look at the kind of investment decisions, our major donors, especially those who are older, are making, it is wise for us often to look more at the s&p performance. So when we look at the statistical correlation between those changes, if we look at the 10 year period 2009 2019, the fluctuations in the s&p was eight and a half to 27 and a half percent, the fluctuation and giving eight to 9.2. So we can take some direction from looking at what the markets are doing. But if we want to drill down in one in particular, that may be more useful to us. Looking at the s&p can be more illustrative. So again, if you are one of those people who the middle of June when the new data set comes out from the giving Institute, that gives us the performance for 2019. If you subscribe to the entire report, do a deep dive into some of those additional charts, that perhaps you haven’t spent quite as much time on. Moving forward, then if we look at this is a gives us a backdrop, a way to think about what donors may be thinking, we do need to I think we need to look at what causes donors to say yes, anyway. And when we look at why donors give the giving Institute ranked primary motivations, they don’t always ask the same surveys every year. So a few years ago, they did a survey as I think if it just kind of like Family Feud, you know, what are the top 10 reasons you give, but four of them that we can bundle right now. And we’ve always been able to bundle these are being asked to give by someone, you know, well, reading or hearing a news story, receiving a letter or an email and receiving a phone call. We know that direct mail is still strong. Some of us don’t want that to be the case. We think mail is expensive. We want electronic solicitation to be the most efficient and effective way. But the bottom line is it’s not it’s still a tool. It obviously electronic solicitation is a good tool. But it’s not the only tool. If ever there were a time for effective segmentation it is now so when we think about being asked by someone, you know, well, this is a time to analyze look at who are in our top 2015 10% of donors, who are the people who those individuals respect, trust and admire, and how can we leverage that relationship right now.
Another piece of research that I’m especially interested in following Is that done in the UK by Adrian Sargeant and Jennifer Xiang and in their research, they have constantly identified the number one reason that donors site in feeling appreciated, is receiving a phone call from a sitting board member. So that’s Adrian Sargeant and Jennifer Xiang receiving a thank you call from a sitting board member. Even if your board members are terrified of asking. They can’t be terrified of thinking, calling someone in saying because of you, our work is continuing needs to be something that we can prep and prepare, but we want to make sure if we’ve got a volunteer making eight or 10 calls, they’re calling the people with whom they will have the greatest impact. So think about segmentation. Think about your Top 10% Top 15% Top 20% As much as we might like to try We’d every donor equally, at this point, we really need to focus on the ones we can’t afford to lose. So come combining what they’re hearing about our work in our mission, through the print and broadcast media, doing effective segmentation, looking at sending snail mail, sending emails, and doing telephone calls, leveraging all four of those gives us even greater outcomes. And I would also remind you that when we ask non Excel less experienced volunteers with their staff, or governing board members, we do need to help them with talking points. I shy away from printed scripts, we want the talking points to be customized so that the individual making the call is speaking in his her their own voice, but help them with talking points. And even encouraging them to leave phone mail messages, making sure that in the phone mail message, it’s very clear in the opening phrase, I’m calling to thank you on behalf of not Hi, my name is Robbie Healy, I’m on the board of if that’s the lead in, I’ve already deleted the message before I even discover it’s a thank you call. So be very careful to prep. You’re less experienced folks to help you with that. I don’t know, Justin, whether we should take a pause yet to see if there are any questions about either the background data, or this collection of tactics. I’ll keep going. And if you want to interrupt me if there’s anything to respond to in the chat, I’d be glad to. Yeah, we’ve got a couple questions.
I’m going to wait for a little bit. They’re not directly related to the data. We have a couple good questions. But yeah,
all right, thank you. So if we want to try to look at this through a different lens look at this a little bit differently, I think we can shape the way we approach the tactics. So look at the list on the left. Do we have voices in our midst that are saying, all of our donors are terribly stressed, they are so stressed, they don’t have the time or energy to even think about loving us. They are so focused on their own family, their own work situation, their own housing situation, the last thing they’re thinking about is our mission. Are we assuming that they do not want to hear from us under any circumstances? Have we already made the decision for them? That they cannot give? Have we made the decision for them that they will not give? Have we made the decision for them? That they cannot take any calls? And are there other things that we are assuming about them? If we’re stuck in this list, on the left, we are really not giving them credit for the commitments they had to us. So we need to flip the conversation and look at how to interpret the current climate differently. Obviously, people are very stressed, that is a given. But not everyone is equally impacted by this. If you think about the number of community foundations, and United Way’s and other collective funding bodies that have very successful COVID-19 response, fundraising going on right now, that if anything is proof that people are spontaneously generous when they know there is an extreme need. So if someone liked us, before there was a crisis, and they are among that group that is able to give, we need to give them the opportunity to make their own decisions and not judge in advance. I think it’s tragic. And that may seem a little melodramatic. But I believe that I think it’s tragic when leaders make decisions that forbids us to do outreach, because that makes our donors feel like we’ve abandoned them and we certainly don’t Want to be cast in that light? If we look at any of the learning from the 2009, recovery 2009 2010, the organizations that maintained good donor stewardship programs came out very strong, even donors who had to suspend their giving deserve our stewardship. So we can ask their permission to continue stewardship, we can thank them for being candid about their current situation, and ask them for permission to keep them updated on how we’re doing. If we maintain effective, dignified appropriate stewardship, with donors, even those who may not be able to give at all or give it the same level, they know, we cared about them as people, not as checkbooks. And if we drop them the moment they can’t give, the unfortunate message that it sends is, we only care about you when you can write us a check. And we aren’t going to do anything for you if you can’t write us a check. So they still love us. They still care about our mission, they will want to know how we are doing and how we are helping. And I know Abby is planning to talk about that. So I won’t go into a lot of detail. But especially if you are a front line organization, doing crisis response, they will want to know how you are holding up how you are using your resources to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. And they may want to know how they can support and help you. We can invite them to give if they need to reduce or suspend their giving thank them for their candor. And let them know that we will keep them informed. And also remember that old saying, the ask for money, you get advice, if you ask for advice, you get money, invite them to give us their perspective, their feedback, their suggestions, so that their voice can be part of our response. They’ll give if they can. They do love getting phone calls. And I know EPI is going to talk about the experience the Hickman had making outreach calls to donors. And I’m sure many of you have been doing that as well. But there may be other things that you’re doing that are successful outreach. I know organizations are doing zoom calls with their donors doing zoom calls with their volunteers, just to let people know that even though we can’t be together, we are still collaborating in achieving the missions that are so important to us. So if you use these sets of points, with your less experienced volunteers, or board members or staff colleagues, help them realize the voices from the list on the left are very, very destructive to our long term stewardship relationships. And the tactics on the right will give us an opportunity to maintain effective, dignified relationships with people who are investors in our work, I like to use terms that our board members often use in their day jobs. So I think about investors and relationship managers, our donors or investors in our outcomes. And each individual who helps us with telephone outreach, letters, emails, those are our team of relationship managers. So especially for your leadership volunteers who serve those roles in their day jobs. It can help the light bulb go on if you have them. Think about it in that context. I want to remind you that we are a culture of hope. And people want to have hope people want to be hopeful. People want to be helpful and each of our donors, they’re all people. So when we think about the way they relate to us and we relate to them, keep in mind, each one is an individual. Each one is going to see this through their own path. perspective and lens. And for that top 1015 20% of our donor constituency, those donors we really cannot afford to lose. Being very diligent about matching them with a good leader within our organization will pay tremendous dividends as we come out of this. And coming out of this, none of us know what that’s going to look like. I know in 2010 2011, there was a lot of conversation around, well, we’ve just gotten used to the new normal, that may be exactly what happens again. But keep in mind, this is not our herd. These are individuals and we really do need to be effective relationship managers. There are a couple of action plans I think we can put in our own toolbox. First of all, think about the way we speak the voice we speak with, are we positive are we prophets of doom are prophets of optimism. There was an article in my local paper today about a nonprofit that is really suffering through a variety of factors. And the reporter who wrote the article talked about it as a desperate time for the organization.
People like positive people like optimism, positioning yourself as desperate, doesn’t speak well to being an organization of optimism. You can be candid about the environment, but be positive at the same time. And as you write, as you write bullet points as you write, copy, sleep on it for a night, go back and look at where you have perhaps positioned things with negative images. And how can you turn that into an optimistic image? Remember your mission? Is your mission directly related to solving addressing serving COVID-19 crisis or not? And if it isn’t, don’t pretend that it is it does. Shortened but if you are not serving directly on the front lines, spinning it as if you are doesn’t help you. So think about being candid being positive and focusing on your mission. Act don’t stop asking Amy Eisenstein in one of her earlier books, a 30 asks, in 30 days, and 30 acid 30 weeks sorry about that. talks about how do we position all of these asks Obviously not every ask is of individuals, some are of institutions or funding organizations. But stopping asking only makes us invisible. And we don’t want to become invisible. We need to be transparent, we’ve always needed to be transparent, report the data. Understand that if we are using more money per consumer in order to serve them, be transparent about that. What has it cost you for example, if you have to buy PPE has have n95, masks, tripled, quadrupled in price is are you seeing that stabilize, be transparent about that report the data this is being reinforced in print and broadcast media. So you have substantiation and leverage. Understand the challenges your donors are facing, understand the challenges you’re facing. But focus on your long term. Don’t focus exclusively on the end of your current fiscal year. If it’s June or December, donors want to be part of a winner. Think about the current challenges but focus on your long term. And always remember that you have control over your messaging. You have control over the tactics you implement, and don’t abandon stewardship. One of the one of my favorites is the donor love principles, and I’ve put the link to agents of good.org the principles of donor love. But if you think about how you structure the messaging, it really focuses back on being extraordinarily positive. The donor has to be the hero. Your frontline staff are doing heroic work in many cases, but the donor as the investor is the one who allows the work to happen. So give the donor credit for giving you the resources to allow the frontline staff to be The heroes if that is the work you’re doing, share the outcomes you’re doing through amazing and inspiring stories, we tend to write about throughputs and inputs. Success is much more prevalent. If we tell stories about the people we are serving the lives, we’re changing the hope we’re creating amazing and inspiring stories. I know many of us worry about confidentiality and privacy. But my experience is that if we ask permission to tell stories, many of our consumers, clients and constituents are honored to be part of the storytelling. As we tell those stories, make sure we connect to the donors values and their emotions. Now 85% of American donors give too highly emotional stories, not to sterile transactional data. Who do we crave on our boards of directors, people who are facile with data. So then we ask them to give us permission to tell these highly emotive stories. And to them, it feels like out of control hyperbole. But the truth is, the out of control hyperbole resonates. It connects to people’s heartstrings. And we want to make sure that, as we’re telling these amazing and inspiring stories, they are with rich language that allows donors to create pictures in their minds of the miracles they’re helping to support. Think about it as a love story. The donors fallen in love with your mission, we want them to stay in love with us. Only ask the donors to do one thing at a time. We don’t want a laundry list of so many options, that becomes mind numbing. So focus on what you need focus on how they can help tell it with strong emotional values laden stories. Think very carefully about whose voice the story should be told. Who is it? Is it the executive director? Is it a client? Is it a family member of someone you’ve served? Who is the right voice to make the story have sticky impact, and say it with unapologetic passion? So as we look at all of the best practices we’ve talked about, we know that many of our donors are not financially harmed right now. We know there was a huge outpouring of interest in helping right now. We know from the last recession, that organizations that maintained and did good stewardship, were in a much better position when the recession was easing, then ones who took a hands off approach. And we know that donors connect to outcomes when they can feel the good they’re doing. So at this point, I would like to transition to Evie, but let me take a pause here and see if Justin have any any questions for us. Yeah.
Thanks so much, Robbie, we’ve got some good questions, I think we have some time to answer a few of them. The first one here is a great question from Christie. And she asked how do you begin a recurring donor program as a new startup when you do not offer direct services or COVID related services in this climate?
Well, I think that’s a really interesting question. And I think you have to be really careful with that. Because if you’re trying to position yourself as essential in the short term, donors will see that you’re not. So I think one of the most effective ways in my experience, is to actually ask the people who you plan to approach how they feel about this right now. What is the timing good, should you perhaps defer for a while it’s interesting? I mentioned that I was the development officer at the Hickman, wherever he is now and 911. And the Hickman is a Quaker organization. I know he’s going to talk a lot about that. But the Quaker schools after 911 had a really strong platform for saying now more than ever, we need the voice of Quaker values in our culture, so they could leverage their mission in the context of the crisis. The Hickman, as an aged care organization, in 2001, could not say that, because serving elders, even in the context of Quaker faith and practice, didn’t have that competitive advantage that Quaker education had. So when you look at organizations, especially if you’re trying to do a new tactical startup, in the current climate, if it’s not mission critical in the current environment, I think you may need to take a step back. But you always will have those individuals who first wanted you to be successful. And getting their opinions, getting their feedback, getting their thoughts about what should be our approach, may give us some ideas, some tactics to build on that you haven’t thought about. So calling them interviewing them, asking them questions like, given the timing currently, what are your thoughts about what our tactical plan should be? What should our timing be? What should we be featuring? What should we focus on? And then of course, the real winner? Question is, thank you for your candor. Thank you for your time. If you were me, who else would you be talking to? Because you want to expand that circle of influence, using their reputation, their leadership example? So I hope that helped.
Yeah, that’s great. Another question here. And this was in regards to your recommendation about board members reaching out to donors, what you know what happens in a situation where your board either doesn’t have good relationships with donors, or perhaps they’re not willing to make those relationships?
Well, that’s that’s the quintessential board governance, speed bump. When we look at building strong development programs, I want to believe and I said, want to believe I didn’t say I believe, I want to believe that in a climate like we have today, every board member could be convinced by the board chair, to make at least a half dozen Thank you calls. If the board chair is the obstacle, then I’m always looking for the natural ally, the person on the board who really does get this to be the one who carries the message for staff. Because I think we’re all experienced enough to know that when a board member is asked by another board member, it takes on a different tone than when staff calls and gives an assignment. So if your board chair is willing to say each of us needs to call no fewer than five, six, I would never ask them to take more than nine. Because I think the impact of a double digit list can be very off putting, let them make their first 6789 calls, then take some more names. Soliciting and thanking are different, what may actually happen is your board members may discover that donors don’t see this as an intrusion. They see it as something they have craved, and something they treasure. And if we go back to the work of Adrian Sargeant and Jennifer Xiang, the data says, the most meaningful thank you that donors report is getting thanked by a sitting board member. So if you can’t get them all to take a few, get the ones who will be on your team, and let them share the positive experience. And hopefully, it will evolve. But if you have a very small capacity, think very carefully about who are the donors you can least afford to lose and have them reach out to those people first.
Yeah, that’s great. Thanks, Robbie. I want to keep this moving because I know Abby has a few things to just discuss about what the Hickman has been doing during this time. So I’m going to transition over to Abby. So I’m going to make him the presenter. Probably thanks so much. Just stick around for some of the question my
screen up so people can see what I’m discussing. Perfect.
Alright, Andy, I’m going to hand it over to you to tell us a little bit about yourself and Hickman and what you first
of all, before I start, I do want to thank Justin and Robbie for having me be part of this conversation today. I’m very grateful to be here presenting about the Hickman and some of the tactics we are doing right now during the pandemic. I also want to mention Robbie, as she said, was the development director for the Hickman and I’ve known Robbie for many years and I am so grateful to be with her today because I have so much respect for her and all the work she has done in the nonprofit sector. Just real quickly, I want to tell you a little bit about the Hickman, we are a senior living community in West Chester, Pennsylvania. We are an independent Quaker led nonprofit community, we provide personal care. We were founded in 1891, to offer an affordable and safe and thriving environment for seniors, we have two buildings that comprise our community, with 109 residents suites, 22 of those tweets are located in our secure Memory Care neighborhood. So right now, as we are going through like all of you with the pandemic that has been, you know, causing this crisis globally, we have been really focusing on communicating with our donors. And I’m actually going to start with the problem where I have, I recommend communicating with your stakeholders and keeping your development plan in place. I know Robbie mentioned this throughout her part of the presentation, it is so vital and crucial to keep in contact with your stakeholders during this time. And to also keep your development plans in place. You put a plan together probably last year, or maybe earlier this year for 2020. And that should be a living document. So don’t throw it away or push it to the side because we’re in a pandemic, keep that plan and maybe tweak it if you have to. But keep going you have to keep going with your fundraising. Unless you’re raising funds, you’re not going to be able to keep your organization going. So it’s so important that we keep with our plans and communicate. And what we’ve been doing at the Hickman are a few different items. And I’m going to start off with when the pandemic first hit in the beginning of March or at least hit on the east coast of the United States. For us that really started impacting us in Westchester. We had our premiere fundraising event scheduled for March 21. And in the first week of March, we started discussing about canceling it. And by the end of that week, it was canceled. And so I had about two weeks to inform all of our stakeholders, about 300 individuals, companies, gallery owners, local businesses to contact them to let them know that we were not going to be hosting the event. The event I should say was started by Robbie many years ago and has been a great event that is essentially a gala with an auction, live music a typical gala type of an event. However, we do have artists that participate in the event and they create pieces live that evening that are part of the auction. So we had the contact the artists, all our sponsors, all the ticket holders, everybody who donated to the event. So it was a lot of people a lot of places that we had a call, I segmented the calls. So I could identify if a committee member of the event was had a relationship with one of the donors, they would contact that person and explain the situation of what we were going through and ask them if we could keep their donation to still support the Hickman or if they did want to have that returned. I did have our board chair she had a special list of our major donors and some longtime supporters that I really wanted her to connect with, because I thought they would really appreciate hearing directly from her. It took us a while to make these calls. And I have to say I just finished communicating with one of our donors just this past weekend. But with all that being done and giving that personal touch, not just sending an email, but actually calling them and speaking with them having that conversation with them. We only had six ticket holders asked for a refund and two of our auction donors asked to have their items returned. So that was really impressive out of about 300 people, everybody else really wanted to make sure that their donation and contribution to us was going to stay with us and when I say our stakeholders, I’m talking about our event sponsors, our ticket holders, the artists as I mentioned, our monetary donors, individuals who couldn’t attend but still gave a monetary gift in place of purchasing a ticket in kind donors and all the vendors and auction donors To the event. So it was a lot of people that really stayed behind us and ensured that their funding was staying with us their item was staying with us. So it still support us, we are now planning to do a virtual event, which will be happening probably later this summer or in the fall. So I’m looking into that, after going through all that process, and like I said, it’s still finished just finishing that up. I really concentrated on making phone calls to our major donors and longtime supporters. This was just an opportunity to call them some of them had already been called when we were doing the calls for the art of carrying event kit, since we had to cancel it. But I was calling this time just to check in on them. And making sure they’re doing okay, this these calls started probably end of March, beginning of April. And it was just an opportunity to have a conversation, there was not an ask, there was no ask involved. This was more about me just checking in on them. And as Robbie said earlier, you know, we don’t want to just contact your donors when you want to ask for something. But you also have to show that you appreciate them. And we truly do it. The Hickman, many of our donors have been with us for many years. And we greatly appreciate all that they’ve done with us. So this was an opportunity for us to just check in with them to ensure that they were doing well during this and answer any questions they might have had about what we were doing at the Hickman to ensure our residents are being safe and remain healthy. And I’m happy to say, as of today, we have not had any resident test positive for COVID 19, which that was a great thing that I’ve been able to convey to people when I do have these Converse conversations with them.
From this, we started going into doing zoom meetings. And these are small group meetings that are with our executive director. And so we select about three to five people to attend one meeting at a time, where our Executive Director, she gives an update on what is occurring at the Hickman and then opens it up to questions from the attendees we’ve been receiving. We received great feedback from the individuals who have attended, and they really enjoy having this opportunity to connect with us. Again, there’s no ask during these meetings, this is just a way for us to update them and keep them engaged with us. And in addition to hosting these meetings with our supporters, I also continued to host committee meetings for art of caring. We have a really great group of people who support that event on the committee. Many of them are board members, longtime supporters and major donors. And we still get together every couple of weeks and not about the event. It’s about keeping in contact with each other. We have a really great bond that started when we started doing this event. And these people are so connected to the Hickman and so engaged with us. And it’s a great opportunity for us to get together to see how each of us are doing, but also to keep them engaged with the Hickman because they want to know what’s happening at the Hickman how’re things with our residents, you know, that’s really important for them to understand. And in addition to the Zoom meetings, we are continuing with our plan for our spring appeal. Now, as I said earlier, keep your development plan in place, but you might have to tweak it. And so that did have to happen with our spring appeal. Since we had to cancel our event and a lot of time went into doing stuff for COVID-19 prevention, I had to push our spring appeal a little further back. So usually our appeal goes out in May, it’s going to be going out next month we are finishing it up right now. We are sending it to the same list that we have always sent it to. We have a very strong asked we serve a very vulnerable population. And so we really right now, funding is so vital for us to maintain the health and safety of our residents. And we are really expressing that in this piece. And I should say in this in our annual or I’m sorry spring appeal as well as all of the communications we’re having with our donors and supporters. We are being very transparent about what is happening and what’s going on and our needs during this time. It’s been very, very stressful as you can probably imagine being in a senior living community Yeah, but you know, we are being very open and honest and transparent with our donors and answering their questions. I think that’s so important with the appeal. Also, I did want to mention, we are segmenting, as Robbie had mentioned earlier, really, you know, focusing on those major donors, the top 20%. And so for our major donors, we’re actually working on a special piece for them. That’s different from the traditional appeal letter that will go to the remaining supporters of ours. And we really want to, you know, work with them through this process through this time, as Robbie was saying, and ensuring that they understand our needs right now, because as I’ve mentioned, it’s quite vital, what we’re going through. And so we want to, you know, these individuals have been with us for a long time have been committed and giving us very generous gifts. And so we want to make sure that we are providing them with information and with communications that’s appropriate for their level of giving. So, again, to reiterate, all of this really basically comes back to communicating, communicating, communicating, and using different vehicles. We are doing other stuff as well, with social media and emails. But it’s hard for me to go into everything in my short amount of time. But before I end, I did want to give one other example, we’ve been receiving a lot of first time donations during this period. And when they come in, most of them have been online donations. And I’ve been corresponding with them once we get the donation to gain a better understanding as to why they are donating to us now. And I one of the individuals that had given to us for the first time. I followed up with her and we started communicating, and we just were going back and forth. And it just she was answering my questions I was answering her questions come to find out she had a relative who was living in our community of recent one of our recent residents. And she was and I was giving her some information about what’s happening and such through our correspondents. And in about a week, she doubled the donation that she first gave to us. So with that, I just want to say it’s just so important to keep this communications going. And understanding not everybody likes to communicate by phone. So understanding if you have a donor that maybe likes to donate, or communicate through email, go with email or text, however they want to communicate with you. communicate with them, and keep them updated on what you’re doing, what you need, what’s important to you. And make sure you do thank them throughout all of this as well. And with that awesome.
Thanks so much. That’s super helpful. Thanks for Thanks for moving live Robbie.
There in good a question out there we go. Sorry about that I any questions that anybody might have about what we’re doing at the Hickman?
So there were a few questions that come we’ve had several questions come in. So I’m going to hit some of the the popular ones here. And this would be this is for both Abby and Robbie can jump in on this one, but a few questions related to organizations that are outside of Health and Human Services. So Rebecca asks, I’m curious about your thoughts on making the case for areas outside of Health and Human Services culture as essential slash being directly affected. She said, I think many still assume that direct COVID affected organizations are exclusively Health and Human Services. But many institutions like arts and culture, environmental organization, organizations like that have been affected by the business shutdown. So any thoughts on on making a case as as those kinds of organizations as directly affected by the pandemic?
I’m happy to jump in and then epi may have some things to add. I think, in my experience, you’re affected in one of three ways in some organizations multiples. The first one is that you have your server.
If you can hear me I cannot hear.
Justin, I’m not sure how you want to handle this.
I’m gonna go ahead and you can go ahead and answer the question, Robbie. I’ll work with it to get him back on.
Okay. I think you may have if you are not a direct frontline organization, the impact Most organizations are experiencing is a reduction in service. So if you’re an arts organization, your performances have been canceled, your your venues are closed. And that, of course, is having not just a mission impact. But if financial impact as well, I think you can be very transparent about the short term impact. But also, you need to focus on what is your long term plan to sustain yourself through this. I happen to be a donor to a local theatre company, and one of the things they are doing is virtual performances. And that’s something I have the option to, to log into. I think the other thing that Oregon arts organizations in particular are doing are asking donors to convert subscriptions into contributions, so that in the short term that will help them sustain. But in the long term, whether you’re me and the other, I think the other question that that Justin cited was an environmental organization, the environmental organizations in eastern Pennsylvania, especially those that have outdoor venues, are being really heavily used right now. People who want to do safe social distance hikes or walks are, quite frankly, are, in some cases, overwhelming those venues and that has become a challenge for them. So I know that in one of the environmental organizations where I regularly hike, they have had special fundraising outreach, to give them the resources to keep that trail system open, and well staffed by volunteers who are monitoring the number of people parking, so that it remains open and not shut down by an authority that would say it’s not safe. So when you look at arts and culture, environment, any any sector that is appears on the surface to be on the periphery of this, if you do a deep dive into what your mission really is, and you can connect it logically, ethically, transparently, do that. I think the the arts organizations do need to have a long term vision of how you are going to sustain through this. Whether it’s virtual performance, Zoom engagement with the the artists, the actors, the the artists, you will need to have that it needs to be proactive and positive. Not simply a, we’ve been shut down. Help us get through this difficult time. Think about whose voice, what the messaging is how it ties to mission, and donors want to back a winner. Justin, if if there are other questions, I’m happy to take another one. If we still have time.
Yeah, yeah, we’ve got a couple of minutes here. Another popular question. This is a simple one. What was the name of the book? The 30 days was it 30 Ask and 30 weeks
30 acid. It’s Amy Eisenstein is the author 30 asks in 30 weeks. Okay.
Perfect. That’s helpful. Another question here. You see here? Oh.
This was for Abby. So Abby, you mentioned that your spring appeal, you’re segmenting just the top? 20%? Can you talk a little bit more about why you chose that number. Um,
traditionally, it’s the top 20% of your donors that said, your largest date of your fundraising. So we always keep a look at our top 20% and ensure that we are staying in contact with them and keeping them abreast of what’s happening. I think that you do communicate with all of your donors. But the top 20% are typically the ones that are the are the ones who really sustain you and provide majority of your fundraising dollars throughout the year. Awesome.
And then another question that came up. Abby was about the Zoom meetings. How did you set that up? Did you send an invitation to a select number of donors? How did you facilitate that?
Yes. So I go through our donor base and I tried to pair up individuals or select individuals who we think or we do know that they know each other so when we host a Zoom meeting, we have a group have people that maybe don’t know each other well, but they at least know of each other. And so when we meet, we’re together and they feel comfortable with each other as well in discussing the different topics that we’re bringing up on the updates of what’s happening at the Hickman and that they feel comfortable and asking questions. And we’d like to keep those sessions to about three to five people, we don’t want to have a large group, because we want to have it more of a conversation. It is more informal. It’s not a there’s not an agenda. It’s just basically our executive director. And I should say, she’s also fairly new to our organization, just you just came on board in September. So some of these individuals haven’t even had a chance to meet her in person yet. So this is set for some of them their first time meeting her as well. So it’s also been a nice platform in that respect. But it’s really an informal meeting, and people have have thanked us for hosting it and have really appreciated that opportunity of connecting with us. We just started these meetings. So it’s, we just plan to keep doing it, you know, for as long as we have to during this pandemic. And, you know, some I’m hoping we can also transition this group into when we can get together in person, again, to be able to try to get this group to come together for in person meetings and gatherings as well. So it’s not like I went these were just doing these zoom meetings now. And then once this pandemic is over, we get to the new normal, we just end it’s then transitioning it to what how you know how we can come together in the near future.
Awesome. That makes a lot of sense. Last one, this was a quick one. Robin, can you repeat the author of that book, 30 asks, In 30 weeks,
Amy Eisenstein. Awesome. Great. Well, we are a little bit past time. So I’m gonna go ahead and wrap up. Ravi and Abby, thank you so much for joining. We had tons of awesome comments in the question, section and lots of great feedback about how helpful this information was. So I want to thank you on behalf of all of our clients and all the attendees for some great content. I think they’re, I know, I learned a lot and it sounds like everyone else learned a lot. So thank you so much. And then for all of you, all of you that attended I put on here our email addresses in case you wanted to reach out to any of us. And like I mentioned earlier, we are recording this session. So we’ll be sharing the recording later today. And we’ll also be posting that so that anyone will be able to access it. So thank you all so much for attending. I really enjoyed it. Hope this is helpful for you all. I hope that you all stay safe and healthy and I wish you all the best and a great rest of the week. Thank youRead Less
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