How are you holding up? To be honest with you, during the course of the day, I have so many different emotions from feelings of despair to euphoria from one hour to the next. I go from worrying about everything, to a feeling of being able to let go when I know I can’t control anything.
Are you feeling any of that?
At Veritus, we’ve been working furiously to figure out ways to get you good information, strategy and inspiration to help you through this crisis. And by the end of the day, like you, we are exhausted.
But there are also great moments of hope in our day. Maybe you’re feeling it too. Like when I get an email from one of our Client Experience Leaders telling us a story of how MGOs are connecting with donors. Or of donors being so generous during this time. I also hear stories of how development teams across the country, even though they’re all working from their separate home offices, feel like they are more of a team than ever before.
Crisis, tragedy and suffering has a way of bringing us together. Hopefully when we all get though this, we can hold on to what connects each of us and we’ll work closer as a team.
Okay, as promised, here are more questions from your colleagues during this crisis, and our answers:
Question: If I have certain donors in my portfolio who have told me they don’t want too much contact from me, would this be a time that I should reach out to them?
Answer: By all means, Yes! This is now an opportunity to see how your donors are doing. Let them know your organization’s COVID-19 story. It’s important to let your donors know.
Question: Should I be communicating our COVID-19 plans to my portfolio, or drive them to our website to access information if they ask?
Answer: Whatever you can do to personally reach out to donors, do it. If your non-profit has specific COVID-19 plans, then communicate that proactively and personally to your donors. Your donors should feel like insiders. Whatever you can do to make them feel special and “on the inside,” do it. And after you’ve connected with them personally, by all means, direct them to all of that information online so they can see all that you’re doing.
Question: How do you evaluate MGOs during this period? How can you accurately track “working the plan” for each individual donor?
Answer: If you’re a manager, you’ll want to continue meeting regularly with your MGO. We recommend weekly because this will help you and the MGO stay focused on the plan. If you’re doing this, you’ll know exactly what each of your MGOs are doing or not doing. Additionally, your MGOs should be entering their interactions with each of their donors into your database or donor management system. So, to reiterate:

  1. Meet weekly with your MGO, MLO or PGO.
  2. Go over the individual strategic plan and revenue goals for each donor (they should be cash-flowed to make it easy for you to know exactly what is expected).
  3. Revise plans based on our current crisis if you need to.
  4. Know that your MGOs, like you, may have competing distractions with kids, parents, and grandparents for whom they’re caring, too. These are not normal times. Show grace and understanding during this time.

Question: What should we do with mid-level donors at this time? Should we keep up with our touchpoints?
Answer: We would first advise that you make sure you’ve tiered your mid-level donor portfolio A-C. Reach out to your A-Level tier personally and start talking to them just like your major gift officers are doing with their entire portfolio. Start connecting with those donors and, for those donors where it makes sense, ask for a gift – or if they’ve given this year, ask for an additional gift during this time. You have an opportunity here to move many of your A-Level donors up to be a qualified donor in a major gift portfolio.
PS — We have two special courses being offered starting April 1, helping major gift fundraisers and managers with topics related to the current crisis. Check out the course for managers/executives and the course for fundraisers. Even better, we’ve made this “pay what you can”!
Read the series: