I’ve been reading a lot lately – about (what else?) the COVID-19 virus. A lot of the world’s most wise minds are calling this a watershed event – one that will change our world forever. This pandemic could well be for us what the Great Depression and World War 2 were for our grandparents. Put another way, this isn’t just a four-week storm we need to weather through until we can return to normal. Many of the people I respect most believe that things are changing now, that we won’t go back to ‘normal’ even when this pandemic subsides. What we think of as normal is about to change.

In my view, there is a very fundamental sea change going on in the way that we as fundraisers communicate with our donors. My fellow Good Workers and I have been talking for a while now about how important it is to be truthful, straightforward and non-boastful when we talk about our organizations and our work.


This pandemic has made this need for authenticity even stronger. When we’re fighting for survival, we don’t have time for exaggeration and boastfulness. We tune out self-serving words that sound like they’ve been written as ad copy.


Your donors still want to hear from you – and they want to hear your truth. How is your cause still relevant in these crisis times? How is your organization tackling your mission – and – how are you succeeding? What do you need from your supporters in order to continue to succeed in challenging times?


If your mission is blood transfusion and you’re short of blood donors, say so loud and clear. If you’re a women’s shelter and your turning away victims of violence for lack of funding, ask for help. If you’re a community hospital that needs to buy equipment to keep your workers safe, don’t be shy about asking for donations!

Shoot straight. Don’t spin. Your honesty and your relevance in these times will be rewarded. And good luck!