4 ways to keep it personal during COVID-19

Let's face it. You're struggling to keep that personal connection with your donors.

How can we inspire donors to give when everyone is still being affected by this pandemic? Now is the time to wrangle up your most innovative, problem solving, mission-minded colleagues and make a plan. Here are four ways to strengthen donor relationships that we love – and think you will too!

1. consistent emails

Email marketing is an excellent way to get up-to-date messages in front of leads who have already subscribed to your business.” Justin Wenokur

The average open rate for nonprofit is 20.39%. That means if you have 1,000 contacts on your email list, 204 of them would open up the email. Now that it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s higher than other industries. Why is this? Because people are interested in news from their favorite nonprofits! 


So – keep your donors and sponsors in the loop. It is important to supply a visual representation of what your nonprofit has been doing to keep up during COVID-19. Sending out a virtual impact report or newsletter is a great way to pack information into one concise piece for donors to review. Be honest about the struggles, challenges, and breakthroughs you are experiencing. Add in a call-to-action and BAM! You’ve got support. 

2. lunch on us

“What’s for dinner tonight? Whether that question comes on a commute home or after a failed attempt at dinner for two, consumers around the world are turning to food delivery apps to get their grub more than ever.” Thinkum

“People are more likely to give more to those whom they have a closer relationship with than those that are of an acquaintance level.” Erika Stoerkel, MSc Show your supporters that you not only care about them, but local businesses too. If it’s in your budget, have food or a service delivered from a local shop or restaurant to your donors or partners home or office. You could even try to partner with a local business and both benefit from the act of kindness. Another option is to send a discount code for Doordash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats. Include a personal note or message from your staff. It’s the thoughtful things that count. 

3. video updates

“Donors want to hear an Executive Director’s or CEO’s perspective on the crisis, as well as his or her plans for moving forward amid tremendous uncertainty.” Suzanne Hilser-Wiles

Send individual videos to donors and sponsor groups directly from the CEO, giving an update on your nonprofit and their plans of action. A personal video is more likely to be well-received than other forms of outreach. 

Create “How to Stay Connected” videos that can be sent to all stakeholders. You can share ideas that will empower each person to stay connected with your mission, whether that is participating in your virtual events, getting out of the house and into nature, or volunteering in unique ways. Be a light in the darkness.

4. virtual events

“Setting aside financial and logistical issues for a minute (and there are plenty of them!), marketing leaders must determine whether they can create a memorable experience in an online setting that will meet/exceed your attendees’ expectations for the value they would have received in person.” Lauren Ramos

Host an online event such as a fundraiser, virtual run, or online auction. It is possible! This is a great way to get donors and sponsors engaged without being face to face. Your team has gotten you this far through the pandemic, why not take your fundraising to the next level? Learn more ways to make your event successful here.

Another option is to have your supporters sign up to host a small party themselves. Send an event basket filled with everything they would need to host a gathering. This can include food, games, collateral, and more. Include a video link (5-10 minutes) to play during the event that embodies your nonprofit’s mission. End it with a call-to-action!

Remember to always keep storytelling at the heart of these ideas. Make it personal by keeping people at the center of your brand. Gather stories that demonstrate the heart of your mission and tell them in memorable ways. 

Want to learn even more ways to keep it personal? Need help executing some of these bright ideas? We have a few more tricks up our sleeves.

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