Fundraising For Nonprofit Organizations During The Pandemic

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Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations Action During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Harvey B. Chess has over 45 years of experience in government and local to nationwide community action helping nonprofit organizations acquire funding. Here are some of his best ideas about how nonprofit organizations about how to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

Nonprofit Organizations Under the Gun with the Pandemic

The first and foremost challenge for any nonprofit is to re-examine how it defines the organization’s primary purpose and connection with the community of people it seeks to serve. The pandemic requires a systematic top to bottom review of ways to make changes that produce improvements in the success of every action taken and every fundraising effort conducted.

Start with Why Before Your Jump to How

Ask: WHY do we exist? Why will we do what we intend to do? Take a fresh close look at your mission statement.

This all-important starting point sets forth the purpose for everyone and everything that is done. The WHY must be clearly stated, valid, timely and appropriate. Define the mission impact clearly and showcase the ways – the specific actions and outcomes that the organization is dedicated to providing. The WHY defines the specific ways the organization connects to the community members. Identify the value and utility that will be provided to the people it serves. Change the language to emphasize external impact rather than internal process. Clarify and strengthen the words that define success. Place people over projects.

Revisit Every Proposal to Innovate How the Mission is Accomplished

Ask: How can we innovate and improve the actions we take to fulfill our mission?

Look at the every pre-covid fundraising activity and outcome. Look at the interactions between people as the work is being done. What needs to change due to social distancing? How can services be delivered without risks to the people involved? Identify the ways delivery of goods and services can be achieved safely. Look at every idea to strengthen the ways you utilize your people to improve and leverage their knowledge, skills, prior experience, success, and the trust they have created in the community.

Revitalize the Way the Organization Gets Its Funding

Ask: How can we improve the way we energize our mission? How can we improve our messaging to better tell our story and demonstrate our sensitivity and understanding of the problems we are working to solve?

Take a fresh new look at every step in the communication process:

  • Presenting in oral presentations, face-to-face meetings, chance encounters with the public
  • Proposing in planned grant opportunities or reacting to unique fundraising situations
  • Collaborating with other groups and organizations
  • Soliciting support and money by direct mail, media coverage or social media

Reimagine and re-engineer every communication to leverage the compelling stories of success and accomplishment. Adapt your communication resources and outreach capabilities to the social and economic changes that are occurring. Make more out of the business of seeking resources than just cobbling together a funding proposal.

Sharpen Your Focus on Your Existing Relationships with Donors and Grant Sources

Ask: How can we leverage the board to orchestrate new efforts and strengthen ways of generating credibility and support?

Identify ways to engage the board in specific activities that improve financial oversight and accountability with people and organizations you have experience and prior success with. Task the board members with responsibility to interface with stakeholders, show their support and share their own experiences, and demonstrate their leadership, commitment, and their credibility. Get the board members to hunker down and focus their time and attention to the critical function of raising money to support the organization.

Carefully Focus on Every Fundraising Proposal

Ask: Are we answering the question why our organization deserves to be funded the very best possible way? Are we demonstrating we are the best organization among the competition?

Improve the writing and story-telling in your fundraising proposals to demonstrate that your mission-driven organization is strong and effective, and enjoys support from the community in which it is active. Provide proof that your organization is successful in substantially helping people deal with the challenges they encounter. Describe the experience and achievements using a few carefully considered and well-documented examples. Give testimonial and social proof that you take responsibility for documenting the impact of the efforts to bring about the desired change for the better.

Develop a New Proposal Framework

Ask: How can you improve your proposals to maximize a strength-based approach to your organization’s credibility and performance?

Avoid pleading! Exhibit confidence as you describe your organization and the qualities that distinguish it. Describe and document the challenges people face and make the case for needed change. Describe the proposed solutions and define how participants know they will succeed. Present the strategy – the action plan and schedule – that the organization will use to achieve success. Identify the ways the organization will be transparent and accountable. Accurately describe the costs and budgets needed to achieve success and provide continuity after the program is completed.

Bring it All to Life

Ask: How can we seek out and support solutions of, by and for the people you serve.

The most effective solutions are consistently identified by people inside your organization who are working directly with the people they are trying to help. Pay attention and listen to their observations. Necessity is the mother of all invention and it happens out on the battlefield. Solutions must make sense to the people that are directly impacted. Champion and support the internal innovators. Showcase the people and the creative collaboration that result in the critically needed tactics and solutions that make sense now and set the best possible course for the future.

Remember – Impacts First – not projects.

For more information visit

Functional and Funded: Securing Your Nonprofits Funding from the Inside Out

Harvey B. Chess

List $24.95 Paperback 166 pages ISBN-10: 0996314709 ISBN-13: 978-0996314701

Harvey Chess explains how to create winning proposals and how to build a stronger and better functioning organization through the process. He describes a step-by-step process for internal analysis and the identification of adjustments improve organizational effectiveness.