I recently read an article about Perfection often being the enemy in Fund Raising.
The bottom line is that when something “hits” that affects your agency, you need to be ready to go to take advantage of the momentum. And sometimes, it takes way too long to be “perfect”.
Speed is critical following a major event and non-profits, because of the need for approvals and consensus, are just not geared up for that quick turn.
Agencies need to create a Crisis Marketing Plan. Consider these suggestions to trim response time:
- Pre-approvals for certain actions and expenses.
- Perfect digital channels that allow for both speed and flexibility. Prepare a template ready for emergency alert emails that can go out without a photo. (You don’t want to delay getting something timely out because you’re waiting on photos.)
- Have arrangements made with local vendors for quick print & mail. Yes, digital will get there first, but not to everyone. For best response, integrate marketing channels.
- Have a social media plan in place, including Facebook.
- Test the back-end sites. Set up a couple of template donation pages. Your Crisis Marketing Plan should include who tests the links to the donation pages. Donation pages need to be responsive.
According to Whitney Broadwell, senior direct marketing development officer for International Medical Corps (IMC), the group that worked with the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, the big job comes after that first donation.
Once donors engage with your organization by making a donation following a major event, the next step is to convert them to regular donors. Even though an individual might have given your agency a quick gift, that donor might not necessarily know much about that organization. It is important to seize the opportunity to get them up to speed.
A quick thank you is important. Personally, I like a hand written thank you card, sent in the mail. It has a deeper meaning than something sent via email. It connotes effort. They made the effort to give your agency a gift, you need to make the effort to send them a proper thank you.
Remember to schedule periodic follow ups with the new donor, always referencing the initial gift. Put this into your Plan, so it doesn’t get overlooked.
Then, after the crisis is over, consider a direct mailing to your constituents and let them know what your agency did to help the members of your community.