Should we send our scheduled appeal/newsletter/annual report in the midst of COVID-19?

April 9, 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic has raised many questions around fundraising. And one of the biggest questions comes from organizations that had a newsletter, appeal, or annual report scheduled.

“Do I need to pull it? Should I put it off?”

In Coronavirus fundraising: What we’ve learned so far, Mark Philips advises fundraisers to go ahead with the appeal, but carefully. Mark urges charities to consider:

  • Add a stop-press / lift letter as a low-cost last-minute addition to explain what you are doing in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Adapt your donation form to capture email addresses and telephone numbers (along with relevant permissions), explaining that they are important communication channels should mail services be interrupted.
  • Consider an option to give a regular / monthly gift to last the duration of the pandemic.

With both clients and students, I’ve been including the lift letter option by way of a short note, printed on colored paper when possible, tucked inside the package.

The piece typically includes:

  1. An inquiry into your donor’s well-being
  2. A summary of everything your organization has done to address the challenges of COVID-19
  3. A hefty infusion of gratitude for your donor’s support and reassurance in the future

There’s no need to overthink this. You want it to be real, empathetic, and transparent. To aid you in writing your Coronavirus Update, download the following example. No opt-in required.

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