If you lead or work for a nonprofit of any kind, you likely have a ton of questions surrounding your donor development efforts.  Questions swirl around topics of whether or not you should be asking for funds, how to set yourself up for success post-pandemic, and more.


We sat down with our donor development strategist, Sherry Taylor, to ask her some of your most pressing questions on the podcast, and we’re detailing a few of our favorites below:


What are the commonalities of ministries or nonprofits who are strong right now? What can we learn from the funding model they had in place?

  • Accessible cash
  • Strong reserve (many with a preexisting policy in place for raising reserve)
  • Board and staff able to pivot and be flexible
  • Diverse giving outlets (not reliant on large foundations, grants or few major gifts)
  • Strong relationships with major-level donors

What advice do you have for nonprofits who didn’t have robust mid- or major-left gift programs in place pre-crisis? What can they be doing now to prepare for a better future of funding post-COVID-19?

  • Start today.
  • Take small steps first: Identify anyone who had given a decent size gift within 34 months before the pandemic, take the top 10 gifts or so and reach out to them casually to give them an update on what you’re still working on, as well as to thank them (not necessarily for the first touch to be an ask for more money).
    • “I’m reaching out to share with you what your gift from 4 months ago is doing today”
    • “I’m calling to say thank you – what questions do you have?
  • Don’t take the victim role as an organization
  • Assure them that your nonprofit is effective, and their last gift was meaningful.

Lots of events have been canceled. Should the majority of organizations shift to a virtual event? What’s your advice?

  • Your organization should not be dependent on events or programs for the majority of its funding.
  • Now is the time to transition your “event donors” to donors that give outside of standard programming or events. People should be inspired to give to your mission, not to your event.
  • Virtual events are great, but be sure to communicate the need beyond that event gift.

Should people be asking for large gifts right now?

  • Yes. In short, it’s the donor’s decision whether or not they can give. Not yours. Approach the conversation with the ask with empathy and listen to what they have to say as donors, but don’t be shy with communicating your need.
  • Don’t say “no” for them – you’d be underselling your mission

To hear more of the Q&A with Sherry Taylor, be sure to check out our podcast episode.


If you need help positioning your organization for financial success, be sure to check out our Fundraising Bootcamp. This is a one-on-one coaching journey that runs over the course of 90 days to help assess and improve your nonprofit’s donor development efforts. To learn more about what each month entails, as well as to sign up for a free first discovery call, click here.

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