In recent weeks you may have heard me talk about how we expect this COVID-19 crisis will unfold through three phases. The Acute phase, which we are still in now, has been focused on stopping the spread of the virus and providing immediate help to those who need it. This will be followed by a period of Normalization, and then Recovery will happen after that.
Though it may be difficult to see now, there are indicators that suggest we will be shifting into Normalization in the coming weeks.
Here are three things we recommend you be doing RIGHT NOW:
- Keep calling your donors. First things first, pray with them and ask how they are doing. Then share some specific information about how your organization is managing through this crisis, and how lives are continuing to be impacted through your ministry. Tell them how much you appreciate their partnership with you, and gently ask them to please continue giving as they are able. We still recommend keeping your asks on the “soft side” for now, but don’t be afraid to dial up the urgency a little more each week.
- If you have not done so already, we strongly recommend you apply for a Paycheck Protection Loan to help you through the next 8 to 10 weeks. The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, passed by Congress late last month, provides $349 billion in loans that are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Although the initial funding ran out, an additional $310 billion is being allocated this week. Any nonprofit with fewer than 500 employees can and should apply, as you will likely qualify for a loan equivalent to ten weeks of payroll expenses. If you maintain your staff over the 8-week period after you receive the loan – or rehire laid-off employees – most if not all of the loan will be forgiven. The loans require no collateral and carry just a 1% interest rate. Faith-based nonprofits can apply with no strings attached per the sba.gov website.
- Start planning now to conduct a special emergency campaign during the summer to bridge the gap between the PPP funding and the onset of Recovery, which will hopefully arrive later this fall. You may be aware the Cares Act has expanded tax deductions for charitable giving that may provide many people with a powerful incentive to give more. These extra tax deductions are particularly applicable to major donors.
If you are interested in receiving help with this, DickersonBakker has created a special COVID-19 Emergency Response Campaign program that can help you raise emergency funding from your major donors. Modeled after the successful integrated campaign program that we typically conduct for clients at calendar year-end, we are offering this special campaign program at a steeply discounted price and with very flexible payment terms.
Without the ability to host events/gatherings or to visit with your donors in person, a campaign like this is going to be the most effective way to can raise major donations right now. These campaigns typically generate a very high ROI, and we do not typically offer them as a one-off service but given these special circumstances we have decided to make an exception to that rule.