All Posts

Engaging Major Donors Amid Crisis

Kristin Hammett

Kristin Hammett

May 1, 2020

If your inbox is like mine, it is full of subject lines like “Surviving COVID-19”, “Leadership in Crisis” and “Connecting in the Age of Social Distancing”. It is true; we are all looking for answers to our current circumstances. There is no guide or playbook with the answers.  

Or is there? 

Clearly, we are facing obstacles and uncertainty. However, our goal is what matters. Is it just to get through it, or is the goal to be stronger on the other side?  

In Joshua 3, the Israelites faced the Jordan River standing between them and the Promised Land. I think we can learn a few things from their experience. 

  • Stop and refocus.

The Israelites camped before crossing the river. Sound familiar? While we are all camped out, working from home, we have an opportunity to reflect on relationships 

Recall what donors have done to date. They have invested in your organization’s work. Call them. Tell them thank you. Check on them. Relationships are what matter most. Take this time to spend developing and renewing relationships. Ask how donors are doing and connect with them by asking for prayer requests, how their kids are, and how this is impacting their business or work. 

  • Be dedicated. 

Joshua uses the word consecrate, which really means get right with God and devote your work to Him. There is a promise that comes with that commitment: He will do great things tomorrow 

As you engage with donors, be sure to be focused on the future – give hope. Major donors want to know you have a plan. They like to give to confident leaders who are not only thinking about surviving today but also planning and adjusting for the future. How will your ministry model change? How will technology enhance your work? How will you leverage today’s crisis as a catalyst for innovation and growth? 

  • Follow His lead.  

The Israelites were in unfamiliar territory, facing uncertainty, and seemingly insurmountable odds. A river flowed between where they were and where they were supposed to go. They followed His lead, and He provided.  

Just as this Old Testament passage describes, we also have not been this way before. It is important to pray first. Ask for God’s wisdom and insight. Follow where He guides. The timing is in God’s hands.  

  • Do something.  

The Levites led the way and stood in the Jordan. They stepped into the river. As the nation crossed the Jordan, they began a series of battles to take the Promised Land. They took action again and again.  

What action are you taking? As you talk with major and mid-level donors, there are many potential action steps.  Here are four:

    1. Listen. This is a time to discover more about your donors. Learn about their kids, grandkids, their business, or work. Perhaps they share about the struggles of homeschooling or their delayed trip or stay at a vacation home. 
    2. Plan. Use your time at home to create an individual development plan for each major donor. This includes your communication, contacts, and appeals. 
    3. Prospect. Develop a prospect list. Designate time each week to focus on researching more about potential donors – look at LinkedIn connections, etc. 
    4. Write. It is always a good time to write a handwritten note. Send a note to donors sharing hope, a story, and appreciation. 

Just as the Israelites crossed the Jordan with stronger faith and took the Promised Land, you gain strength through trial. Look at this as an opportunity to focusdedicate, follow Him, and take action. Lean into major donor relationships and utilize this as an opportunity to grow and be stronger on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis 

About Kristin Hammett

Kristin Hammett

As the Director of Nonprofit Success at The Signatry, Kristin Hammett works to train, consult, and equip nonprofits with fundraising solutions to connect God’s resources with His work

Start your journey towards a lasting legacy

Bring your family together around shared values and goals for generosity through a donor advised fund.

Start a Fund
Large Call to Action Background

Together we’re redefining generosity.

Join the conversation and get our newsletter.