Introducing our new column...Just Ask
After being in the professional fundraising business for over a quarter century, our HPS team has seen it all. Whether working with a prominent Church, large educational institution, multi-campus health care provider or a small social service organization, one thing remains true – If you want to raise more money, you must ASK!
Time again, a common theme surfaces when donors are asked why they made an investment in a non-profit organization. Donors most common answer? “I made a gift because I was asked”.
We decided to take this very simple concept and put it to use in our HPS Chicago blog, which will now be a Q&A posting titled – you guessed it – “Just Ask”!
This is your opportunity to ask us questions. Our HPS Team represents 100+ years of fundraising experience and have helped our clients raise nearly $1 BILLION. So, when a question comes up and you want to get our perspective, simply drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer your question directly. We will also hare it with our readers via the “Just Ask” column, as, undoubtedly, others are probably asking themselves the same exact same question.
So, to begin this segment, we got a question from a long-time client about the current climate regarding events.
“How are most organizations handling public events and specific “masking” policies?”
We recognize the stress and challenges every non-profit is facing as we continue to struggle with COVID-19 and its' variants. People are growing weary of virtual events, yet many are not yet ready to attend a 500-person sit down dinner. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
First and foremost, our recommendation is to follow the most current CDC guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/considerations-for-events-gatherings.html
Next, if you are planning to host your event at a venue, you will want to follow their guidelines. These may include having guests provide proof of vaccination and requiring all those in attendance to wear masks and maintain social distancing protocols. We also recommend you communicate with your guests clearly and often in advance of the event, which will help alleviate last-minute challenges and stressors.
Finally, when in doubt, consider "sitting it out". One of our clients decided to cancel their Annual Dinner and Dance, as it is a client-focused event. Despite the fact that all of the clients are vaccinated, the organization does not want to take any chances by hosting this large, indoor event, as many of the clients are immunocompromised.
Are there ways in which you can reach your audience without hosting an in-person event? While we noted previously, many constituents are tired of virtual events; however, is there a "feel good" story you can capture and share via video link? Are there ways in which you can inspire and motivate donors and prospective donors through a compelling story? While not ideal, these alternatives may be enough to keep donors engaged - and keep everyone safe at the same time.
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