CEO Corner: Talking to Your Donors about COVID-19
Alice Ayres, MBA
Many of you have been reaching out to ask for guidance on how to talk with your donors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions have included whether it is appropriate to be reaching out, whether we have information about the impact of financial market insecurity on giving, and how to use digital channels more effectively. We’re working hard to surface information on all of this for you and will share it as we find and create it via our COVID-19 resource page.
While all of these are excellent questions (and there are many more I am sure!), I wanted to provide my thoughts on the first one: how to talk to your donors. We work in an industry that is truly on the front line of this crisis. Your organizations are literally safeguarding the health and safety of our communities across North America. While it may feel like an inappropriate time to ask your communities for help, in reality your organizations have never been in greater need, and your donors’ dollars will do more for our communities than ever before. Healthcare organizations’ resources will be over-extended at just the moment when we will need them most.
Your donors are a part of your communities. They care about your organization, your patients, and your community. They are ready to help, but—as is always the case—you need to invite them to do so. There are several articles on the resource page that lay out how best to make a case, even in crisis. The basics remain the same: have a powerful message, make it relevant, and engage donors in the community benefit of supporting you at this moment.
I posted one potential message to donors on LinkedIn earlier this week, and I thought I would share it again here:
|Hospitals and clinicians are on the front lines saving lives and keeping us healthy as the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic. As healthcare providers begin launching crisis plans, they have never needed their communities more.
On a good day, hospitals run at a one to three percent margin, which leaves little room to fund research, new services, and even new equipment. Hospitals rely on the help of generous donors to fund that work, and every day people do just that.
Now, our already financially strapped hospitals are leaping in to help, choosing to worry about their own financial well-being later. Hospitals are offering testing free of charge, adding staff and expensive equipment, and promising that under- and uninsured patients will get what they need without a bill.
If you have ever considered donating to help your community, now is the time to consider a gift to your local hospital. Never before has that contribution been needed so much, and never before has the dollar you give had the potential to make such a tremendous impact for us all.
We are all in this together, and the power of this association is the way we all support one another. If you have resources you'd like to contribute to the resource page, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.