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Use these lessons from the past to drive your crisis efforts now

While the crisis we’re facing is unprecedented, fundraising during a crisis is not.

Our nonprofits and communities have seen each other through some challenging times. We’re talking about wars, race riots, the dot-com bubble, 9/11 and natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes.

It’s a lot. And every time, we have risen to the challenge and taken care of each other.

Right now, it’s helpful to consider the lessons and perspectives of past crisis. Check out this article “What We Have Learned from Crisis and Can Use in Coronavirus Age” from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It’s accessible with a free account and features one of our fellow Giving Institute board members.

Our favorite takeaways from the article:

“Don’t stop talking to big donors just because the world is being shaken. Past experience shows some donors never forgive the charities that don’t reach out in times of need.”

This does not mean reaching out with a tone-deaf ask. It means checking in on people, offering relevant support and information, and asking for funds if they are applicable to the current situation. Are you being a giver or taker in your community right now?

“When the equity markets dropped 40 percent — and knock on wood it won’t be quite that deep this time — charitable giving dropped 4 percent that year.”

There are amazing examples of generosity and charity happening all over the world. People are giving in many ways. We have reason to believe that if people can give financially, they will continue to do so.

But don’t take our word for it. Read on and see what you can apply today to your crisis outreach strategy. If you don’t have a crisis outreach strategy, we can help you get started. Contact us at


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