Using Digital Engagement to Reach Donors During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Read Time: 5 minutes

Digital-engagement

As we monitor the news from national and public health authorities about coronavirus and follow guidelines to help slow its spread, Campbell & Company is also committed to helping our clients and the sector at large navigate financial challenges posed by the pandemic.

While the depth of COVID-19’s economic impact is hard to predict at this point, we’re encouraged to see so many organizations leveraging digital resources and technology to continue their work. Colleges and universities are moving to remote learning, conferences are going virtual, and corporations are equipping employees to work from home.

But what about fundraising? How can nonprofits remain connected to their constituents and raise the revenue their programs require in these days of social distancing? Here are four ways we recommend using digital engagement to maintain fundraising momentum—even if it means flipping the script.

1. Offer virtual visits, classes, or events in lieu of on-site programs.

This is particularly relevant for cultural organizations that rely heavily on ticket sales, but is an option for all organizations with visitor, member, or donor audiences interested in engaging with your content experts. Think about taking participants on a behind-the-scenes tour led by an educator or program leader to make the virtual event more special than a typical visit would be.

2. Replace canceled fundraising events with a virtual event at the same time on the same day.

Use Facebook Live to stream your event video and a short presentation by a program participant or staff or volunteer leader. If you typically run a paddle raise or live auction, replace it with a one-day online campaign. Create a branded event page on your website or crowdfunding platform, set a monetary goal and add a thermometer or other tracker, and ask guests to consider donating what they would have spent at the event. Share the appeal through email and social media.

3. If you have the infrastructure set up to accept recurring gifts but haven’t yet done a monthly giving push, now’s a good time to try.

Develop an email or calling campaign that highlights how monthly donors provide vital, year-round support and ensure you can respond to immediate issues as they arise—even in uncertain times or when need in the community is greater than usual.


4. For gift officers who have had donor trips canceled or are on the road less: focus on engaging prospects through a combination of email, calls/texts, and handwritten notes.

Ask your annual fund and/or marketing colleagues to help you source video, articles, and other recently produced multimedia content that you can share in your correspondence. Connect with your major donors in this way but also consider reaching out to mid-level donors with the capacity to give at a higher level.


Campbell & Company is offering 30-minute consultations to organizations that need fundraising guidance during this challenging time. Please be in touch with us at info@campbellcompany.com if you would like to schedule a session with one of our consultants and visit our COVID-19 nonprofit resource page for more help.

Good luck, stay healthy, and keep doing great work to support your organization’s important mission.