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Global supply chain crisis: How nonprofits can recover over the next 6 months

The global supply chain crisis has taken its toll on all industries these past few months. But it’s been especially trying for nonprofits as they close out another year of fundraising.

If you’re one of the many organizations feeling the stress of paper shortages, labor shortages and shipping delays—to name a few—caused by the supply chain crisis, you’re not alone. And if you’ve taken a hit at year end, here are a few tactics you can incorporate over the next six months to boost your fundraising into the new year:

Assess your plans

It’s important to take stock of your current plan for 2022. If you’re like most food banks I work with who have a July fiscal year end, adding a few key campaigns in the spring can help make up for any revenue losses caused by the supply chain in the winter.

We’re currently assessing our plans for clients and adding a few key campaigns when necessary, including:

  • A multichannel match appeal
    Match appeals always do a great job incentivizing donors to give, so adding one in the spring months can help boost revenue numbers.
  • Special update from the CEO
    It can be as simple as a postcard, but a special update from the CEO in the spring summarizing the impact the supply chain has had on your organization can help keep the issue top of mind for donors.
  • Impact reports
    We all know donors like to see how their gifts have helped. Sending impact reports in the first few months of the year can remind them of the good they’re doing and even add a little motivation for an extra gift.
  • Giving days
    We’ve been talking about the power of creating your own giving day for a while now—but it’s never too late to start. If you need to raise more revenue ahead of your fiscal year end, creating a giving day exclusive to your organization is a great way to start. If you’re looking to take it even further, consider creating a giving season.

Supplement with smaller tactical additions

Adding in smaller touches—especially when it comes to digital—can help provide supplemental revenue. Some of the tactics we’re recommending include:

  • Micro digital campaigns
    Donors love to fund specific programs or tangible items. It gives them a goal to work toward. So if you’re in need of a new refrigerator, have a truck that needs rehab or have a program that they can support, add a micro digital campaign to help you meet this goal.
  • Adding a “cover-the-fee” box to your donation forms
    This may sound minor, but adding a cover-the-fee check box to your donation forms to allow donors to include credit card and processing fees in their gifts can have a major impact on your bottom line. In fact, data from our Donor Marketing Cloud revealed that clients who had this as an option on their donation forms saw 51.04% of donors opt in to cover the fee, totaling 1.84% of digital revenue.
  • Check in with sustainers
    Monthly donors are typically removed from regular mailings. But, seeing as they’re your most loyal donors, now may be the time to consider adding them back in or going to them to ask for additional support.
  • Send urgent appeals
    If all else fails, sending an urgent direct mail or digital appeal explaining the impact the supply chain has had on your mission can help keep this issue top of mind for donors who are looking for ways to support their communities.

Examine your data

A standard practice ahead of year end is to look at your data for donors who gave last year but unfortunately not this year—also known as LYBUNTs. With mailings running behind, that may be challenging to do this season.

By continuing this practice into the spring, you can have a better picture of who may have missed out on giving their typical end-of-year donation. After identifying who these donors are, make calls to those over a certain giving level to remind them that there is still a need. You never know who may have missed receiving your direct mail piece and was planning on still giving their annual gift.

Most importantly, plan ahead. By taking a look at your plans for the next 6-12 months, you can add strategic touches, like the ones I’ve mentioned above, to help you reach your fundraising goals despite the challenges caused by the supply chain.

More resources on navigating the supply chain crisis:

Tonie Howard

As Senior Vice President at RKD Group, Tonie Howard works with food banks to provide innovative mail, digital, phone, research, major gifts and planned giving strategies for clients. A strong champion of RKD’s donor-centric philosophy, Tonie and her team consistently exceed clients’ fundraising goals. She brings more than two decades of experience and leadership to her role of providing multichannel fundraising and marketing services to organizations that market at the local and regional level.

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