4 Ways to Communicate with your Major Donors During the Coronavirus Crisis

COIVD-19 is affecting every nonprofit. If it was hard before getting your nonprofit message out there this has made it even harder. 

Your nonprofit needs to continue to communicate regularly with your major donors but, in this time of social distancing what is the best way to do that?

Here are a few ways you can communicate with your donors and show that you care. These initial interactions may help you continue to build your relationship during what may be a significant disruption in your donor’s life.


Stand out by sending a handwritten note to your donors.  Your note should be simple and emotional with a heartfelt check in making sure the donor is braving isolation well.  

In your note make sure you show empathy for your donors and their families. Many of your top donors, those who have family foundations and a lot of money invested in the stock market, are hurting. Many of your donors have had to shut down their businesses, or are no longer receiving paychecks, or have elderly parents who are at risk of getting the virus. And some have college-aged children who are now living back at home.

Let your donors know that you care about them and their circumstances. I assure you; this compassion will be reciprocated when things settle and donor relations can be more reciprocal.

If handwriting letters feels like too much to add to your busy schedule, enlist your board members to get more involved with writing letters.


Set your nonprofit apart from the pack and pick up the phone to check on your donors — in addition to sending a handwritten note before or after.

Phone calls can build bonds of trust between your nonprofit and a donor because they are personal in nature. The time on the phone also allows you to get to know your donor better by asking them for their opinion on different topics that affect your organization.


Send a short email to check on your donors.  It’s easier and less expensive than mailing a handwritten note in the short run. But, in the long run, you’ll likely retain more donors if you send both handwritten and email communications.  

Discuss how your organization is responding to the crisis. Let them know how you’re managing programs and helping your clients. Donors have a lot on their minds, but they do care about you and your mission, which is why they supported you in the first place. Keep communication short.  Simply highlight what’s going on and how you’re handling operations, programming, clients, and staff.


Send them a hope you are safe text. Younger donors communicate primarily through text. This demographic prefers a text over an email.  Despite age, if a person is a business professional, they check their text constantly. 

You can follow up with a video text showing your organization in action during this crisis.

In the end, your donor will not forget that in a time of crisis you took the time to check on them.  

So, write, call, text, and continue the conversation. Just don’t ignore them or feel like you need to leave them alone. We’re all in social isolation, and it’s more important than ever to be connected.

We are all in this together!

I hope this helps. Your feedback is appreciated.  Sharing is caring. What are your greatest concerns when it comes to your organization in the face of Coronavirus? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are a CEO or ED of a nonprofit organization and want to learn from me and others join the Supporting World Hope Facebook Group.

You can follow me on Instagram @the_nonprofitexpert and other social media platforms @supportingworldhope: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest.

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