Nonprofits were hit hard during the pandemic. They had to make tough decisions about how they would spend resources and satisfy their donor’s needs, which wasn’t always easy. On a positive note, nonprofits have learned many valuable lessons during the pandemic that they’ll use in the future to help them thrive.
So, let’s dive into what important lessons nonprofits learned during the pandemic and how they can benefit your organization and the future of fundraising.
Top 5 Lessons Learned for Nonprofits During the Pandemic
Let’s start on a positive note. Although the pandemic is rarely viewed as favorable, nonprofits and the fundraising world learned valuable lessons during that time. Many organizations not only survived the pandemic but actually thrived. But how did they do this? Let’s look at a few examples where nonprofits used this moment of uncertainty to their advantage.
Nonprofits learned to prepare for the unexpected in order to keep fundraising. Whether it was pivoting to virtual or hybrid campaign models to optimize participation, moving an event from indoors to outdoors to adhere to safety requirements, or offering more flexible time frames to encourage more people to take part in their own time, nonprofits successfully revamped traditional fundraising to engage and satisfy the needs of their supporters.
Nonprofits harnessed the power of technology like never before during the pandemic:
- As an integral part of their marketing strategy – Using social media trends such as Facebook pages, Instagram Stories, hashtag challenges, and viral videos to promote brand awareness online and as a tool for advocacy and fundraising.
- To boost supporters – Online fundraising meant that a nonprofit’s outreach was limitless.
- To save money – Online fundraising campaigns cost less to host than in-person events, which was great news for fundraising budgets.
- To simplify the giving process – Mobile giving allows donors to conveniently support their favorite charity from any device, anywhere, and anytime. It’s a trend here to stay as the future is contactless.
Although the pandemic was a challenging time for nonprofits, many have come out stronger than ever and ready for anything. Gaining confidence by trying new operational structures, switching up programs and policies, and introducing alternative fundraising models has made nonprofits realize that it works to break out of the box and can be extremely profitable.
- Reevaluation of Priorities
The pandemic made many people stop and reevaluate what was important to them. Seeing what was happening around them, they connected with their philanthropic side. More corporations started recognizing the value of supporting good causes, and millennials became more passionate about making an impact. This growing supporter base for nonprofits is great news for the future of fundraising.
- Team Leadership Upgrades
Working in a pandemic world meant nonprofit leaders needed to establish a new and diversified skill set to guide their organizations and drive success. Here are a few of these skills that were applied and will continue to serve your team effectively in our post-pandemic world:
- Better understanding of the needs of your team. For example, offering more flexible hours and home office options to help create a healthier life-work balance.
- Improved communication and guidance from leaders to their staff and volunteers.
- Elevated team morale, as leaders were open to fresh approaches and new ideas.
Pro Tips for Nonprofits and Fundraising in the Post-Pandemic World
In many ways, the pandemic changed fundraising for the better. Nonprofits have learned to adjust at a moment’s notice, have a better understanding of the needs of their team and supporters, and are experimenting with new innovative ways to increase audience engagement and boost fundraising success.
To keep this momentum up, we’ve devised a few pro tips to help your nonprofits thrive in the post-pandemic world.
Master Engaging Communication and Storytelling
Better communication and engaging storytelling are crucial for nonprofits to boost their supporter base in the post-pandemic era. These are among the most effective methods to make a powerful case for support when done correctly. In a world with so much competition within the nonprofit sector, your organization needs to stand out from the crowd.
Enhance your storytelling and communication by:
- Increasing your online presence on social media and getting your nonprofit’s name out there. Remember to research and choose fundraising platforms wisely, depending on which audience type you’re trying to attract.
- Making an impact by posting photos and videos of your work to show how your nonprofit’s mission is working in action.
- Creating hype and enthusiasm around an upcoming fundraiser or live streaming a Q&A with an influencer spreading awareness of your cause.
- Educating and informing your supporters by creating engaging and relevant content, sending tips, important updates, and personal success stories.
- Sharing, sharing, and resharing your stories to optimize outreach and awareness.
Inclusion and Diversity
Diversity fosters nonprofit creativity, development, and retention. Surviving Covid only confirmed that we are stronger together than we are apart. Nonprofit diversity and inclusion are essential to the future of your organization and fundraising efforts. It creates better awareness of your cause, builds stronger networks and connections within the community you serve and further afield, and helps boost performance levels.
Resilience and Innovation
In the post-pandemic world, successful organizations will display confidence, a strong tolerance for stress, and a determination to forge new routes to profitability, maybe beyond anything done before. Push forward with current fundraising trends and look for new ways to engage your supporters. Have fun with creative tech solutions, digital and in-person fundraising, and diversify your nonprofit’s income streams to increase donor retention and expand your organization’s outreach.
Best Post-Pandemic Fundraising Ideas
Although we are emerging from a strange couple of years, some uncertainty still lies ahead. With concerns about rising inflation and the threat of recession, there’s no telling what the future holds. But we know that while the world is adapting, and so are the needs of nonprofits, we need to keep fundraising.
So, let’s take a look at our best post-pandemic fundraising ideas to raise awareness, boost morale, and make an impact on those in need.
Fundraising events can help give back to more than just the cause you’re raising money for. Make a bigger and more positive impact in your local community by hosting a community clean-up, an auction of promises, or even a pop-up food kitchen.
Gaming for Good
As technology has grown and become increasingly popular since the start of the pandemic, new digital fundraising trends have emerged. Gaming for Good is the perfect example of this. When gamers turn on their consoles, many choose to share their game with an audience, so they start streaming it on platforms like Twitch or YouTube. Each gamer can add donation buttons to their stream, and people can start giving to a good cause.
It’s a great marketing tool for your nonprofit, and if you’re looking for a current fundraising trend to diversify your nonprofit’s income streams, this might be exactly what you’ve been missing.
P2P Fundraising Campaigns
In-person fundraising events are back! However, this doesn’t mean that hybrid and virtual campaigns are any less popular. Provide fun, diverse, and inclusive peer to peer crowdfunding campaigns to encourage high-quality giving experiences and come together with like-minded people for a good cause.
Some great examples of popular P2P fundraisers are:
Remember to offer optionality when deciding your fundraising model to satisfy all your donors’ needs.
Sell Custom Branded Merchandise
In light of the current economic situation, diversifying your nonprofit’s income streams is more popular than ever. People from all corners of the world are feeling the rising cost of living and the threat of recession. So, now’s the time to set up a free eCommerce store to sell custom-branded merchandise for your nonprofit. Whether for a spirit wear fundraiser, a fundraising t-shirt contest, or selling creative branded gifts during the holiday season, these fundraisers are sure to provide something for everyone’s budget and ensure your nonprofit’s revenue streams are soaring.
Philanthropy is on the rise, and sustainability, impact, and purpose are values that many corporations and foundations take seriously post-pandemic. Look for businesses with corporate social responsibility goals and programs that align with your nonprofit’s values and mission to encourage workplace fundraising. Inform your supporters about asking for matching gift programs at their companies so they can double their money and impact!
It’s important to recognize that everyone has dealt with challenges during the last couple of years. Nonprofits are no exception. Still, many positives have come out of this difficult moment. Now’s the time to think about how your organization will continue to fundraise, raise awareness, and focus on donor retention.