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COVID-19 Fundraising Observations from NextAfter with Brady Josephson

June 26th, 2020


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Brady Josephson, Managing Director of the Institute for Online Fundraising at NextAfter recently sat down with us to share what he’s learning about the changing fundraising landscape during the COVID-19 crisis.

This conversation and the learnings that Brady shares are based on observations from more than 157 nonprofits that were and are actively fundraising during the COVID crisis. Brady is learning and seeing some interesting trends that you’ll no doubt want to be aware of:

  1. As COVID took hold in early March, a lot of fundraising slowed or stopped. There was a marked decrease in email volume, as some organizations slowed down and some went entirely dark.
  2. Starting early in April, organizations began to emerge from the initial shock of COVID, and fundraising (particularly online) saw growth both in April and May (in both email volume and total revenue). This was further supported by the Giving Tuesday NOW initiative.
  3. Through late May and into early June, we’ve now started to see a correction (downturn) in email volume again.
  4. There is absolutely value in achieving first mover status when it comes to responding and communicating in a crisis. The faster an organization can get into market and begin to communicate with constituents, the easier it is to navigate a crisis situation.
  5. Organizations responding fastest and raising the most money during the COVID situation are those that are NOT focused on perfection, but focused on speed to market. They are willing to move quickly, test, learn, and adapt.
  6. The more human you can make your digital fundraising and marketing efforts, the better you’ll perform.
  7. The elevated sense of empathy across the globe has resulted in increased giving across many different types of organizations, even those that might not typically receive increased funding during a crisis (i.e., arts, etc.).
  8. High dollar sustainers may be more apt to opt out of their monthly commitment right now. They are seeing this emerging in the U.S., and we have seen it more significantly in Europe.
  9. Since people are at home more right now, a lot more of our online consumption is happening on desktop vs mobile. That’s good news because desktop experience tends to increase conversion rates. However, this may mean that when the country reopens and people return to work (whenever that is…), online conversion rates my drop again to reflect the shift back to mobile consumption.

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