Unspoken Donor Concerns Going Into A Season Of Recovery

Unspoken Donor Concerns Going Into A Season of Recovery


Remember the good old days, when you could go online with Delta Airlines and book a flight to a mega/major donor’s home or vacation home and make a personal visit? Then they would greet you at the door with a handshake, a hug, or even a peck on the cheek. It was a real, live “love fest” with a few hours or days of developing a deeper connection with a close friend, advisor, and key investor. You could emphasize your mission, your vision, and your core values. You could carry along a personalized proposal, share your need, and make a personal request. Those were the days. 

Our world is being reshaped by the searing experience of the coronavirus. People are fundamentally rethinking the way they work, shop, travel, gather, and give to their favorite charities. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will be able to return to the “good old days,” we’re just not sure exactly when. Hope is on the horizon. 


Nearly 30 states have either re-opened their economy or set dates to slowly allow people to return to their businesses and their work-a-day world. There appears to be life BC (before COVID-19) and AC (after COVID19). The door is not yet fully open, but the process is at least beginning. We have been encouraging you to call, text, email, or meet virtually with your donors in the meantime because in the very near future there will be a “season of recovery.” Life will slowly begin to look a bit more normal and I hope as you return to your office and reboot your ministry, your donors reflect and appreciate your efforts to contact them during the “bench time” (my baseball background sneaks in often).  


In the past, donors gave to your ministry because of their clear understanding of your mission, your vision, and your core values. With their gift income dollars and your strategy, energy, competence, and integrity, you have made a good team. It’s time to call them again and let them know of your planned revival. Ask them to level with you about their real and felt needs. Help draw out any unspoken concerns they may have. What does their individual fear, uncertainty, or doubt about the immediate future look like? Inquire about their family, extended family, anyone who is sick, or even someone who they know who has passed. Practice one of my favorite acrostics, W.A.I.T. or Why Am I Talking? Listen deeply to your ministry partner, hear what they are saying, and even offer to pray with them. Share a virtual hug and prepare for the upcoming ministry moment.  

Be sure to inform them of any updates to your ministry plans, and any changes with staff they may know and love. Perhaps a student, resident, or client they have helped you fund in the past. Graciously, appropriately, tactfully, courteously, and politely share a specific need. Make a soft ask and invite them to help you with some start-up costs for that specific need. They still love and appreciate your ministry and because you kept the relationship active, they remember that. Invite them to make an eternal investment in your ministry going forward. Remember that generosity is not about finances or fear, but rather our trust in Jehovah-Jireh, for He is Our Provider. Let the Season of Recovery begin! 

Article Submitted By Pat McLaughlin of The Timothy Group 4.30.20

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