Are you using this time to reach wealthy donors?
During this time of continued distancing, I stay in closer contact than the norm with several elderly family members.
The reason is . . . . I worry about their separation and their loneliness. They are isolated from family, their friends, and their religious and social communities, for example.
When I called a step-parent the other day, I did the usual, “Hi there, how are you?!”
I was expecting a quick, upbeat response. Instead, there was a long pause. Then a frank answer. “Bored,” he said. “We are simply bored.” And he meant it. I could feel the pain in his voice.
With that, I settled back in my chair for an unrushed and focused conversation. They needed a chat . . . . and “oh” did they appreciate my call.
Reaching Wealthy Donors
We know the risk of dying from COVID-19 increases significantly with age. Those at a higher risk are not taking chances. They are not getting out as much as they would like.
In looking at philanthropy, a large percent of donors who make large gifts are older. In fact, the average age of a donor in the United States is 64 years of age.
What does that mean? What does that mean to us as fundraisers in this time of COVID?
Additionally, they still care about your mission.
NOW is Best Time to Reach Wealthy Donors
This is the best time to maximize your interactions with donors – especially your largest and most loyal donors.
You want to utilize this time to engage in one-on-one personal conversations.
Let’s look at three reasons this is the best time to reach loyal and wealthy donors:
1. People are Taking Calls
They are bored! They need human connection, and you can provide that.
Absolutely, people have time on their hands.
Contact your donors to say thank you for their continued support. Ask how they are doing, and listen with empathy as they share how they share their circumstance.
Then give an update since your last conversation on how you are still serving your audience and advancing your mission. And if appropriate in this call, ask them if they would like to provide additional support.
2. People are Showing Up
People who never attended in-person events are now showing up for on-line offerings.
Needless to say, not everyone likes getting dressed up to go to a gala, dinner, or fancy event.
People are enjoying the downtime they now have. They are spending their time on things truly meaningful to them.
Certainly, going to social events is not missed by all.
What’s important to philanthropists is showing up on a video conference to hear an expert talk about a cause meaningful to them.
3. People are Responding and Giving
Wealthy donors are responding to video and old fashion phone calls.
If you are not contacting donors, engaging in meaningful conversations, and asking for support, you are missing an opportunity to fund programs and operating expenses.
Most importantly, you are denying someone an opportunity to make a difference.
Absolutely, share the needs of your organization and how donors can help.
You will not know if a donor can or will give unless you ask. Certainly, that’s always the case – crisis or not.
Philanthropists are Stepping Up
In summary, it’s unfortunate the hardest hit are overwhelmingly those who are already struggling. The wealth and health gap widens.
That being said, those with the means to give are stepping up to support nonprofits clear on their needs and asking for support.
It’s time to reach wealthy donors – they want to hear from you!
Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at [email protected].
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