Sharpe Group has experienced a lot over the past 50+ years in consulting with many of the leading nonprofits on donor stewardship and planned giving. This week brings unprecedented uncertainty to the world, the markets and ultimately to the important missions that our clients devote their careers to passionately serving. With this in mind, we offer the following suggestions for communication with your donors just as we believe that our clients are much like our family:
- Conversations will not be cancelled.
- Relationships continue to be cultivated.
- Our mission is not to break but to endure.
- Reading will be at a premium.
- Self-care continues to be of utmost importance.
- Above all, we are not cancelling Hope.
We are choosing to be vigilant and careful, and, in many ways, this pause in our lives gives each of us a chance to be introspective about “the good” that can come from this crisis. We’ve heard the phrase “social distancing,” and it’s important to follow the experts’ advice on the physical aspects of its meaning. However, during these times it may be perceived negatively, and many will begin to experience loneliness.
I remember the days following 9/11 vividly, and what I remember most was the kindness of strangers and the “purposeful slowing down of our lifestyles.” Now is such a time that we can seize the time and opportunities to practice “introspective social interaction.” We are being required to put aside the administrative tasks of our working lives and should have time and resources to devote to cultivating the critical relationships with our donors who are just as passionate about our mission as we are.
We are hearing from many of our clients and others on their reaction to this tragic and dangerous virus, as I’m sure you are hearing from companies on their action steps. Consider communicating with your donors in the same way that you are communicating with your family—your loved ones. Sending emails, newsletters and handwritten letters and making phone calls are all ways to safely assure your donors that you care about them and update them on how your nonprofit is coping.
WE are not cancelling Hope!
By Bob Mims, Sharpe Group CFO and Senior Consultant
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