I loved the Pivot scene in Friends. Classic!

When the word ‘pivot’ gets overused in the business or marketing world? Not a fan. But the fact is: Coronaworld has presented a lot of challenges to the nonprofit sector. Some form of pivoting is in order.

Frozen In Place

Since March I have talked to tens of nonprofit CEO’s, most of whom weren’t sure what to do next. They’re stuck in place, unsure of whether they should be fundraising or keeping quiet. My first piece of advice: Don’t go dark!

Social distancing was a big problem they had a hard time overcoming. Suddenly everyone was working from home. Face-to-face donor visits and gala events were cancelled. The collective shrug of the shoulders and “what can we do” was the prevailing attitude.

Yet once we started talking, I explained that distance shouldn’t stop their organization from moving forward. Phone, email, Zoom, text are all suitable forms of communication. Pivot just a bit from your norm and you’ll see success!

Every organization should have a multi-channel fundraising strategy, rather than relying solely on one outlet or another. Coronaworld has forced that best practice upon the sector. And that’s a good thing!

What If…

Fundraising strategist Mike Duerksen wrote this fantastic piece about the ‘What If’ game. It’s an excellent team building exercise and one that forces your team to brainstorm for possible solutions.

Consider this scenario: What if corporations decided to end the practice of donating to charity?

If your organization depends on cause marketing partnerships, how would you make up for the shortfall? Would you be able to hit your yearly targets? What fundraising outlets would you need to ramp up in order to meet all your budgetary needs?

The goal of the game is not to pretend the sky is falling. It’s to look at your strategy, processes and internal capabilities and maybe consider new avenues for fundraising and providing services to beneficiaries.

Play the game. Give EVERY staff member a seat at the table for this one. Let the ideas flow. You may be surprised at the results.

time to pivot

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

Winter Is Coming

One of Mike’s ‘What If’ scenarios was: Imagine a world where the postal service stops working. Politics aside, this exact scenario is being discussed in the U.S. right now. Last night I had a long talk with a client about this situation and how that would affect their year-end direct mail appeal.

I always defer to the experts. Fundraising authority Pamela Grow wrote about this issue and offered advice as to what to do. I highly recommend reading it and then considering:

If we can’t mail our appeal, how can we pivot and still reach our donors? Have this conversation internally TODAY and start coming up with solutions. Now.

Be Creative

Marketing has been another area where nonprofits have struggled over the last few months. Sure, you have to be sensitive and empathetic to what everyone is dealing with. But that doesn’t mean creativity and humor need to be shelved. Just the opposite! People need a distraction, they need to laugh a little. They WANT to hear from your organization and if you can provide them with a little comic relief, all the better.

Thanks to nonprofit digital strategist Chris Tuttle, I found this great video from the Barbara Bush Library. LOVE!

Your marketing and communications may need to undergo some “pivoting.” Nothing wrong with entertaining (within the limits of good taste!) your online supporters and followers. The goal is still the same:

Stay top of mind and get people to take action. Whether that’s driving traffic to your website, subscribing to your enewsletter, signing a petition or giving a donation.

Not everything you do will work. Not all messages are equally strong. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying!

The Day After

Coronaworld may be with us for awhile but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about the day after.

We could get mired in the day-to-day craziness all around us. Or we could plan for 2021 and beyond. We could consider ways to grow and help more people. We could strategize and start fundraising in ways we never did before.

You have a choice: Let this pandemic burn everything down you’ve spent years building. Or you can pivot a little and find great opportunity in a crisis.

The choice is yours.

Need someone to do an audit of your email marketing, website content, social media or fundraising/marketing collateral? I’m happy to work with you!