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Fundraising in Times of Crisis


As the world learns to practice “social distancing,” colleges and universities move all classes online, and “road warriors” (including yours truly) adjust to life and work without travel, many clients are asking how the global Coronavirus pandemic will affect fundraising in the days ahead.  I wish there was a clear answer, but we’re in uncharted territory here.

Although the specific circumstances are unprecedented this time around, there are echoes of previous crises we have lived through as development professionals.  I think back to the Great Recession, or the days following 9/11, or even the dotcom bust in 2000.  Each of those events was different from the next, but alike in the uncertainty that they caused among donors, fundraisers, and the nonprofit organizations they share in common.

I wish I could say how this crisis will play out over the coming months, but even consultants are not prescient.  We don’t know how long the health concerns will persist, nor do we know what long-term effect they will have on the global economy.

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