Overcoming Pandemic Communication Challenge | Sharpe Group
Posted April 8th, 2020

Overcoming Pandemic Communication Challenge

If direct personal contact with your donors is impossible, consider increasing your communications with other methods.

For example, if one of your family members was hurting or isolated, abandoning all communications might add hurt or panic. But with a call, a letter or a personal note, you might offer calm assurance and hope in a dire situation.

Donors are your “family,” and many are thinking about their financial plans because of this pandemic. Your charity can touch the hearts of your donors with telephone calls that are easy to arrange. Personal calls may be welcomed when the caller ID appears with your charity’s name. For small groups of donors, consider conference calls using email invitations. You might also post a video or audio recording on your charity’s website and send out links to it by email. Then, holding a virtual townhall meeting online may fit your donor base if they are technically savvy. Finally, a telephone townhall meeting can be held for thousands of donors who are more accustomed to the phone.

Telephone townhalls can be set up in a short time and may last from 15 to 60 minutes using an outline or prepared script. The supporting marketing firm may call donors a day in advance to announce the meeting and/or at the time of the meeting. Donors could then just press a number to join.

The meeting permits your charity’s spokesperson to express thanks for their support while explaining the actions of your charity during the crisis. The call may be for appreciation, for a specific “ask” or for a “soft ask.” Donors press a number to confirm a gift, a future gift, or to request follow up.

Though donors listen while their phones are muted, they can “raise their hand” by pressing a number for an operator to screen the question and extend it to the speaker. The supporting firm should deliver a written report of who joined the call, responded or committed to action.

Contact Sharpe Group to discuss various donor communication strategies.

By Lewis von Herrmann, Sharpe Group Senior Consultant

CARES Act Communication

In response to the health and financial crisis caused by the coronavirus global pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been enacted. The law presents a plan for the government to aid Americans and businesses during these uncertain times. Among the charitable giving provisions, it includes a temporary, partial “above the line” charitable deduction for cash gifts (up to $300) in 2020 to encourage gifts by taxpayers who are unable to itemize under current tax law. The legislation also modifies the limitation on qualified charitable gifts of cash to 100% of AGI for itemizers in 2020.

To help you communicate these provisions with your donors, Sharpe Group has created a new brochure, The CARES Act: Good News When We Need It Most, which outlines all provisions affecting charitable giving in an easily digestible format. This brochure makes an ideal and welcome message to all current and prospective donors, especially in a targeted soft appeal to your gift planning prospects. It can also serve to educate your board, volunteers and staff.

Click here to learn more.

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