Last week marked one year since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded, and it’s fair to say a lot has changed in that time. Yes, we’ve become a nation of banana bread bakers, but more importantly, many of the working behaviours that we adopted during the initial phase of lockdown have now become ingrained long-term habits and working practices.
This isn’t surprising given that earlier in the year our Status of UK Fundraising Report shared that at one stage three-quarters of fundraising professionals were working from home, with nearly a quarter doing so for the first time. We had to find new ways of collaborating, and the great news is that this has accelerated the speed at which charities are finding innovative and fresh ways of working and communicating.
The behaviours that we need to keep beyond COVID-19
In Blackbaud’s new non-profit e-book, Fundraising Focus: Looking Beyond COVID-19, third sector experts (including Zoe Amar and Lizzie Ellis from the Chartered Institute of Fundraising) share their advice and practical suggestions on the ways of working that charities need to keep and develop.
Build genuine connections with supporters
Stewardship isn’t a new concept, but the impact of the pandemic has led many charities to re-evaluate how they engage with supporters and how important those connections are. It’s vital that you know your donors, how they like to be communicated with and what language they respond to. Our research shows that charities investing in more communications channels that offer a 1:1 feel, such as personalised emails, Twitter, and paid ads on Facebook, can see returns on their events income of 2-5%.
Embrace an agile mindset
Over the past year, we’ve seen great examples of charities pivoting to embrace virtual opportunities – look at how the London marathon reinvented itself and went on to raise over £16 million. The charities that have continued to thrive during the pandemic have embraced an agile mindset, with leaders quickly switching from collaborator to coach to command and control, as a situation requires.
COVID-19 has helped remove silos as teams have shared a common need ‘to make things happen’. At a time when teams are physically distanced, it’s imperative to keep goals closely aligned and communication frequent and transparent. A great example of this recently came from our colleagues at JustGiving who worked on Captain Tom’s world record-breaking fundraising campaign. The team credited cross-functional ways of working as one of the reasons that they were able to be reactive, and ultimately achieve so much in a short time.
Enable remote workers to access fundraising data
Your data is the common thread that ties supporter engagement, being agile, and cross-functional ways of working together. The right CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) will allow you to keep all of your supporter contact details up to date, make notes of any feedback and meetings, plus access campaign reports all in one place. For many organisations, investing in cloud-based tech was one of the first orders of business back in March, relying on OneDrive or SharePoint to keep teams functioning – in fact, around 90% of non-profit organisations are currently using some form of cloud-based technology. Therefore, it makes sense that you would also use a cloud-based CRM so that teams can also share data in a safe, GDPR compliant way.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘cloud-based’ it is essentially a metaphor for the internet. A cloud-based service is any programme that you can access over the internet – in day-to-day terms this could be your Spotify account, Netflix or Gmail inbox. There’s been a lot of new terminology that we’ve all had to embrace to over the past few months – virtual fundraising, livestreaming, cloud technology, the list goes on. This may initially feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Blackbaud wants to help arm charities with the knowledge they need to confidently create new and successful fundraising campaigns during COVID-19 and beyond. That’s why we have an online resources hub, full of free tipsheets and e-books, including Fundraising Focus: Looking Beyond COVID-19 and How to Choose Fundraising CRM Software.
To discover our charity resources hub, and all of the helpful, free content on it, visit hub.blackbaud.co.uk
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