4 Insights for the Next Fundraising Normal

ANA Conf.

By Kathy Swayze

March 10, 2021

I had the good fortune to attend the ANA Nonprofit Marketing Conference late last month and hear some terrific presentations. It’s a great time for a conference because ALL fundraisers are eager to hear how others have managed during this pandemic year and ALL fundraisers are eager to understand what’s coming next.


That’s why Eric Johnson’s session, Fundraising Questions for the Next Normal, was right on time. He shared 8 Insights for 2021. Today, I’ll share four of Eric’s insights and my thoughts on what actions you can take to make the most of them.


  1. More donors than ever before stepped up during the pandemic. Eric’s insight: fundraisers must learn to engage these new donors, keeping them and growing them alongside their base of Longtime Loyals. Things you can do: add extra stewardship touches for these new donors, like handwritten notes, thank you calls, and surveys to find out what they care about.


  1. Zoom is here to stay. Eric’s insight: Video chat engagement will be sticking around as a platform for information shares, impact presentations, and as access to subject matter experts. Things you can do: Move your insider phone calls to insider video meetings, host mid and major donors in similar regions for “get to know your fellow supporters” virtual events, and connect your frontline staff with donors for firsthand accounts of their impact.


  1. Millions of Boomer donors went digital this year . . . even to buy their groceries. Eric’s insight: Considering that they remain the biggest revenue engine for most charities, this new digital Boomer habit may be the most profound of all fundraising changes in the COVID era. Things you can do: Ask donors for emails (provide incentives), drive donors online from your mailings and social channels, and get more impact results out to your donors in bite sized chunks online.


  1. Data matters, perhaps more than ever. Eric’s insight: COVID has changed the donor experience norm. New donors, plus a savvier and seasoned loyal donor base, have learned to expect individualized service and engagement. Things you can do: Append new data such as age, wealth capacity, and more. Keep your data clean (nothing offends like a misspelled name!) and track actionable pieces of donor-provided data from surveys and phone conversations.


Here’s to your fundraising success throughout 2021! And if you have any insights to share for the next fundraising normal, please share in the comments below. Special thanks to Eric Johnson from TrueSense.

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