Help! Should My Nonprofit Send Appeals Through The Mail?

“Curious what your clients are doing about mailers since covid hit? We are gearing up to our first direct mail campaign since the holidays last year and I’m wondering whether other orgs have seen decreased response due to the virus and safety concerns about opening mail, going to the post office, etc.”

For all mail-related matters this year, I encourage my clients to treat October 31 like December 31. Remember that this an election year and your appeal may be competing with a few political pieces. For supporters you can only reach by mail, make a concerted effort to start collecting email addresses and/or mobile numbers for text. Post a link to an email collection form on social media once a week. Make it easy to share an email address on your website. Above all else, let your supporters know that digital communications reduce fundraising costs and in turn increase the impact of every contribution. If you’ve been hesitant to ask in the past, hesitate no more – 2020 is your year.

“I’m a director overseeing a small team. We’re working remotely in an industry already known for burnout. Do you have any suggestions for how to support my team remotely? The stress of everything going on, added to the regular stress of our jobs, and I can’t be there to check in on them in person. Any advice for me as I try to be a good leader while I’m kind of lost myself?”

Great question! For routine project management, start by exploring the features of software you currently use. Google Docs, One Drive and Dropbox make document sharing a snap. All three have hustled to meet this moment with an array of helpful instruction videos. In the interest of time (and sanity management), I encourage you to take the time to find an all-in-one solution. Utilize this opportunity to identify new and improved systems to deliver on your mission. Network for Good’s smart and simple fundraising software includes an amazing task feature to help you, your team, and your Board keep supporters engaged.

Burnout prevention starts with burnout awareness. Be authentic and share your concerns with your team. In the interim, I encourage you to check out this Tedx Talk, podcast, and article to learn more on the subject. Consider inviting each member of your team to review one at your next meeting to start the conversation. Sadly, due to stigma, there is not a lot of research on how best to prevent or recover from burnout. Silver lining – I expect this will change in the next decade

Finally, advice for you – if you haven’t already done so, set an untouchable day of the workweek. No meetings, no calls, nothing on the calendar – use this time to think, recharge, and plan. Take care of yourself and lead by example with the way you manage your time – this is your best bet at being an amazing leader now and throughout your career.

Ask a Fundraising Coach is Network for Good’s weekly advice column, where Personal Fundraising Coach Andrea Holthouser tackles your toughest challenges in the world of fundraising, nonprofit management, donor relations, and more.

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