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From: Maria Di Mento

Subject: How to Hold On to Pandemic-Era Donors


The pandemic, its economic fallout, and the racial-justice protests that arose last summer spurred a dramatic outpouring of charitable giving last year.

The overall number of donors in the United States grew by 7.3 percent in 2020, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s analysis of giving at nearly 2,500 organizations.

Health and human-services organizations that scrambled to help people whose lives were turned upside down by the pandemic, arts groups forced to close or cancel in-person events, and civil-rights and social-justice groups all saw a big increase in new donors. But holding on to those donors over the long term will be tricky, say fundraisers.

Many nonprofit leaders worry they could easily lose those new donors as the crises subside. Luckily, a number of charity leaders and experts spoke to Eden Stiffman for her latest article and shared advice on how to keep these donors giving.

Stiffman writes, “Experts recommend charities mine their data to learn as much as they can about new supporters. With a better sense of who donors are, as well as when, why, and how much they give, fundraisers can develop an outreach strategy with messages tailored to specific audiences.”

The recent influx of support presents new opportunities to advance digital-fundraising capabilities, she notes. For more tips and examples of what other nonprofits are doing, read the full story. And don’t forget to check our advice section for more than a thousand tools, articles, and case studies.

Maria Di Mento
Senior Writer

New Resources

Tip of the Week

Board members who want to help in a small way could ask for a few people to call and a good story to share, says Joan Garry, author of Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership. “In all honesty, nonprofits steward their donors and volunteers very poorly,” she says, but board members can be part of the solution by calling five supporters to check in on them and let them know that the work continues and the need grows. Find more ways to engage trustees in 5 Easy Ways Board Members Can Help During This Crisis. And don’t forget you can find nearly 1,200 how-to articles and tools online.

New Grant Opportunities

Your Chronicle subscription includes free access to GrantStation’s database of grant opportunities. Among the latest listings:

  • Community organizing. The Needmor Fund supports community organizing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. It provides grants to groups that organize primarily low- and moderate-income people; focus on race, economic justice, and equality; are democratically run and have dues-paying members; and engage in strategic planning. The application process will be open through June 30.
  • Telemedicine and Distance Learning. The Department of Agriculture provides grants to groups that provide education or health care in rural areas through telecommunications. It supports groups that use telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies for students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents. These grants are intended to increase rural access to education, training, and health care resources that are otherwise unavailable or limited in scope. The application deadline is June 4.
    Maria directs the annual Philanthropy 50, a comprehensive report on America’s most generous donors. She writes about wealthy philanthropists, arts organizations, key trends and insights related to high-net-worth donors, and other topics.