Effective Fundraising During The War: Strategies for Compassionate, Relevant, and Successful Year-End Campaigns

War rages on in Israel. Since the assault began on October 7, organizations all over the world have stepped up to raise money for those affected. Hundreds of millions of dollars have traveled to those who need it the most. 

And while the war continues, year-end fundraising approaches faster and faster. 

It’s an uncomfortable situation for fundraisers. They (you) understand that Jewish communities’ philanthropic attention is appropriately focused on aiding the victims of the war. 

And, at the same time, you feel a responsibility to the institutions that you serve. Your schools still need donations. Your shuls can’t rely on membership fees alone. Your organizations’ business models include, by design, donations. 

Fundraising is not a nice-to-have for your organization. It is a need-to-have. 

And that’s the good news in this sea of current events catastrophe. 

The people who cared about your cause on October 6th still care about your cause now. Even if they simultaneously care about the heartbreak and suffering happening in Israel. 

In fact, many donors look to organizations they trust so they can put Good into the world and fill the air with kindness. 

The bottom line is this. It’s OK to fundraise now. 

But just because it is OK to fundraise now doesn’t mean there aren’t best practices to follow. Done incorrectly, you run the risk of alienating donors, of appearing callous and disconnected. Done correctly, you will not only raise crucial funds for your organization but you will strengthen your relationships with those who support you. 

That’s why we’ve put together the five Ss of fundraising during this Israel-Hamas War.

These five Ss will make sure you a) are sensitive to the situation and loss of human life, b) recognize that many donors have donated more money than they expected to donate, and c) are fulfilling your responsibility as an organizational professional. 

Start: The end-of-year will be here before you know it. Don’t get caught behind the eight ball when you see your peers running successful November and December campaigns. Get started now.

Stewardship: Now more than ever you need to steward your staff, your volunteers, and your donors. Speak with each segment and key individuals to explain to them why your campaign is important and why it’s important now.

Sensitivity: Do not be tone deaf. Demonstrate authenticity and care. Make sure that care and awareness is felt and heard. Ask a friend or colleague to proofread your message or pitch to make sure your message cannot be misinterpreted. 

Story: Develop a story that connects with the wider context. During COVID we saw a generous outpouring of donations to education for example. People didn’t want these enduring institutions to close down. It was a non-obvious connection to COVID but education was a huge part of the story. How does your nonprofit become extra relevant even now?

Step Up: Talk to donors about this being the year that the Jewish People need them to step up, to support Israel AND to support your cause. This is the year of stepping up. 

More than 30% of all online fundraising takes place in December. There is no time to wait. Now is the time for action.

To download the infographic, click here.

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