In an Emergency — Don’t Forget the Offer

By Marcy Auman
Vice President at TrueSense Marketing

Here is how TrueSense feels about offers: Make them tangible and make them as specific as possible. Your gift of $XX will provide YY.

Right now, in the face of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, nonprofits face a new emergency. It’s important to consider: Does the appeal offer I use today reflect what is going on today?

You may or may not be serving those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and related closures directly, but event cancellations and the economic emergency mean you won’t raise funds you were counting on this spring. There is a surge in need and a scourge of economic hardship.

To help your donors relate to the situation that you face – as one that they can help solve – quantify it in an offer. Tell donors why you need their gift and why you need it now.

  • If your nonprofit serves a population that is at particular risk during the pandemic — geographically or demographically — a monthly giving offer might convert to a heightened awareness of the need for a sustaining gift: $30.00/month delivers a meal a week right to the door of a senior who is isolated at home.
  • If you’re incurring extra costs because you can’t allow volunteers on site, maybe you can break that cost into small increments: Your gift of $28 to our Helping Hands Fund will care for homeless pets while our volunteers can’t.
  • If you had to cancel a major event, can you build an offer around a replacement fund? The Dinner Bell Ball raises money to feed families all year, but this year, our city has to stay home. In this emergency, will you ring the dinner bell for one family for one month for $31?

For some organizations, demand for their services has not necessarily increased during this crisis, but the urgency that normally exists for those they serve remains. If this is your situation, you face the real concerns of donor distraction while support is diverted to critical need on or near the front lines. Your donors have invested in you in the past for a reason, and your strong but gentle (and specific) reminder can help sustain their support even while they support others: With the world in crisis, your $20 represents one child not forgotten in her cancer treatment today.

Think relief funds, emergency assistance, and budget shortfalls. Donors make choices based on the offer you make!