The year that shall not be named—and yes, we’re relying on Harry Potter humor to soften these past few years—led to numerous adaptations and innovative ideas.
At M&C, that meant a new virtual office environment, collaborating in different ways and even trying our hand at outdoor, socially distanced team meetings. It also meant continuing to execute client projects successfully and adjusting every word of copy, every strategy and every project. Though this wild ride still continues some days, given the ongoing pandemic, we’ve also realized some of the changes and new ideas are worth including in our strategic plan moving forward.
Clients and colleagues have echoed similar feedback. We’ve heard many proclaim, “We should have been doing this all along!” This got us thinking about good ideas that are worth keeping.
Here are several strategies we heard from colleagues that are serious contenders for your strategic plan.
A Kansas City-based nonprofit called every donor during the shutdown in 2020 to let them know they were thinking of them and to see how they were doing. They also thanked them for supporting their organization. They raised thousands of dollars in just a few days. What if this were an ongoing part of stewardship strategy?
An international nonprofit organization used to hold annual gatherings in person but could only in the United States. Some constituents would travel, but many were located in other countries and did not make the trip. In 2020 and 2021, this event went virtual. More attendees than ever were engaged and involved, including people from countries that hadn’t been able to attend previously. Thanks to going virtual, this organization was able to be truly international.
Lots of nonprofits launched virtual watch parties for signature fundraising events. They connected with more people and raised more money. Though many still prefer in-person, it’s worth considering if there is a part of your event that could be virtual. Parents with kids love the convenience and it’s a great way to steward annual fund donors.
We heard of a musical performance nonprofit that filmed well-known musicians rehearsing and shared snippets of this exclusive content with major donors. It was a major hit and evolved into one of the most anticipated and appreciated offerings they provide. A little thought, strategy and exclusivity can go a long way to making donors feel special.
What did your organization plan to keep from 2020? Did it happen?
What did you start, but have since stopped doing?
As you finalize your plans for this next year, consider ideas that were successful early on in the pandemic. Remember the bright spots that came about, the gratitude we all felt and expressed at even the simplest of things. Consider returning to those great ideas. Keep the ones that made your program better; the ones that made your donors feel valued and broadened your reach.