Keep Your Fundraising Team Engaged During Social Distancing

Keep Your Fundraising Team Engaged During Social Distancing

April 21, 2020 by Angela E. White, CFRE

Today, the vast majority of us find ourselves and our staff working from home. This remote work arrangement, while necessary for everyone’s health and safety, creates some unique challenges. Though the current crisis has changed how we work, it hasn’t changed the desire to keep the missions of our institutions moving forward. Here are a few tips for you and your team while you are working remotely that will help position your organization to be more effective once the crisis passes.

Keep your fundraising staff engaged

Donor Communication

It is important that you stay in contact with your donors even though personal visits are not happening now. In  late March,  the Better Business Bureau’s conducted a survey to gauge how donors would respond to the pandemic which indicated more than half of donors planned to keep their annual giving consistent and 30 percent plan to increase their giving. Take  this time to reach out to your donors, to check on them, to thank them for their support, and to share with them how your organization is addressing this current situation.

Philanthropic Planning

Preparing adequately for a major gift initiative or campaign is critical to its success. Use this time to clarify your philanthropic priorities and unify leaders around your vision for the future. It’s also a great time to begin working on your preliminary case for support so that you will be ready to test and/or launch a campaign once the time is right.


Undertake tasks now to help make your team more efficient and effective. Clean up your donor database – this is a great task to assign to advancement staff who may have seen their hours drop in the current environment. Take time to review and rebalance your major gift portfolios and analyze your donor capacity.


Invest in virtual training sessions on major and planned gift solicitations and donor cultivation strategies. Customized development coaching is very effective in a virtual setting and can be tailored to your specific situation to meet your donor strategy needs. 


An internal assessment can be a great tool to identify strengths and weaknesses in your workflow and help you identify ways to deploy your resources more efficiently in a post-COVID-19 environment. Analyze data, review and document procedures, and establish formalized processes that align with industry best practices. 


Although this is not how any of us envisioned our work in 2020 would be, we have an opportunity to use this time to prepare our organizations for a faster ramp up once we are through this crisis.