Sean Triner of Moceanic has clients on multiple continents, all dealing with varying degrees and effects of the current health and financial crisis. He’s helping charities face declining donations, supply chain problems and cancelled events in many countries. And we’ve asked him along to help you.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Here we go. Okay, Sean, we’re ready. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started? Cool with you?

Sean: Yes.

Steven: All right. Well, cool. Welcome, everyone. Thanks for joining. This was a kind of a last minute presentation that we’re putting together here, all about the current COVID-19 coronavirus situation. Thanks for being here. My name is Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang. I moderate these webinars. We usually do these webinars on Thursday, but we’re adding some extra special presentations this week. We’ll probably do more than just the Thursday webinar next week because we want to get this information out to you. But thanks for being here.

Just a couple of quick housekeeping items. We’re recording this. You should already have the slides. If you don’t have the slides, don’t worry, we’re going to get that to you. Sean’s got some other resources that we’ll send out today. So if you get interrupted, if you’re working at home like me and maybe a kid barges in, you may see that here a minute, don’t worry, we’re going to get all that good stuff in your hands. But please send in your questions. We’re going to do a lot of Q&A today. We have some prepared material, but we’ve got a lot of time for Q&A. So send the questions in, you don’t have to wait for, you know, a half hour to go by. Send them in. We’ll try to get to as many as we can before the 4:30 Eastern hour. But send them in now, send in your chats because we’d love to hear from you.

If you never heard of Bloomerang, we are a donor management provider software. Don’t worry about that right now. That’s just for context. This is who we are. But we do these webinars pretty frequently. So if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, that’s why we do them because we just love sending out that education. But I want to go ahead and introduce our guest. Sean, how’s it going? It’s, what, 6:00 a.m. in Australia, right? Did I got that right, 6:30 a.m.?

Sean: Six thirty now. Yeah.

Steven: Wow. All right. So I want to say a couple of things about Sean before he destroys his office there. Number one, Sean reached out to me to do this on I think Wednesday or Thursday. So not only is it he super gracious and generous for doing this and for thinking the idea, but he’s been on the ground helping with his clients all over the world. And if you are joining us from North America, you know that, you know, the rest of the world or majority of the rest of the world is a couple of weeks ahead of what we’re going on here. So he has seen what needs to be done and is seeing things work.

And beyond that, check him out at Moceanic, awesome, awesome resources. If you see his name on a conference schedule, please go to that session. And I hope you don’t mind me mentioning this, Sean, but just to hammer home the point of what an awesome human being you are, you’re also a volunteer firefighter. Is that right? Did I understand you correctly when you told me that the other day?

Sean: Yes.

Steven: And he’s in Australia, so you know, connect the dots.

Sean: Hence, the muscles.

Steven: Yeah, I mean, look at him. He’s got an awesome shirt on. So you all are in for a treat. Keep the questions coming. He’s got some prepared slides, which he’s going to go to now. So, Sean, I’m going to stop sharing so that you can start your slides. And we’ll do this little awkward transition, but then we’ll get into it. Okay, looks like it’s yours now.

Sean: Hi, everyone. Hope I’m sharing the right one.

Steven: Yep. Go for it.

Sean: Hello, everybody. And thank you very much for sparing your time for this. My only goal and Steven’s too is for your organization to come out through 2020, we really have no idea how long this is going to be, a stronger organization in lots of ways. And I know there’s a lot of fear around, you know, particularly arts organization, but actually not particularly. It’s really hard to say particularly, anybody, there’s a lot of fear around.

Well, the first thing is congratulations. If you like this T shirt, it’s actually from a fundraising conference in Italy because this is actually Italian fundraising or you can be [Antoniana 00:04:00]. That’s what we had, an Italian conference. But we are in . . . I mean, what a job. Don’t you feel proud of what you do whether even if you’re a supplier . . . even if you’re a supplier, even if you’re on a sit side in charity, you are making the world better. And well done, what a fantastic job.

As Steven said, I’ve been in fundraising a long time, actually back in the ’80s. I know you’re thinking, “Gosh, he must have been two . . . ” But anyway, I was at university in York in England, that’s the original York, the old one, and working in student fundraising. Then I went and worked in disability, just for a year. It was kind of like an internship. And then I did, like, another internship at what is now one of the largest charities in the UK and got really big after I left, no connection there. And in those organizations, I was doing a lot of fundraising events. And then I went to work at Action Research, where I became the boss of fundraising. So it was all quite quick, but it’s very exciting.

And then I went and became the director of marketing and fundraising at Mind, a mental health charity, which was a fantastic place to work. And I was kind of acting CEO when my CEO got sick and realized I don’t like to be a CEO. And so I left and set up my own agency called Pareto, which I sold a few years ago. And that was . . . I really enjoyed that. It was great fun, and we work with clients all around the world doing stuff, full-service agency, call center, digital, and direct mail, the whole monty.

And then after selling that, I thought, all right, the best thing I can do in the sector is teach people, basically share best practice, connect people. And so I set up Moceanic, and the only goal of Moceanic is to do things like this, basically to share information and to make sure that we build capacity amongst fundraisers. So that’s all that Moceanic does. And Steven will just post too, it’s Just join through it so you can just see a little bit if you want too. Not right now, but it’ll be in the chat.

So I have a promise to you, always I want to try and start with a bit of a promise. I want you to have some of the things that you need to say to your boss. You’re going to be under pressure. It could be that your organization is going to have to make cuts. There is a possibility that they will have to, and there’s also possibility that they’re worried that they’ll have to so they’ll make the cuts anyway. That latter is very dangerous because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but you may well have to make some cuts anyway. And if you do, you’ve got to protect fundraising investment.

Also, I’ll give you some ideas because some of you . . . it’s a huge problem already, a lot of organizations around the world are having a lot of problems around events. I work with charities in Europe, and in Europe a lot of organizations when you do direct mail, people donate by taking the donation to the post office, and that’s actually more than half of gifts in Italy, for example. So that’s actually been a steep learning curve. So I’ve been working with my European clients, fantastic ideas with Italian charity, and we’re actually now confident that despite that, they’re actually going to be better off at the end of COVID-19 than before because of their planning and their strategy around their fundraising.

And also, I want to leave you with a plan to grow fundraising because a lot of what we can do is just best practice. So this is the time to really, really, really focus on best practice in fundraising. And off the back of COVID-19 emergency campaigns, if you’re going to do any, then you need to be looking at [inaudible 00:07:44]. Now, we do have a cheat sheet for you, COVID-19 and Your Fundraising Cheat Sheet. This is put together with Jeff Brooks, who’s in Seattle at TrueSense, fantastic copywriter and an all-round fundraising strategist, one of my colleagues at Moceanic. He’s put that together. And we’ve got a few more complex stuff for our members. But it’s a really useful kind of cheat sheet for you to take with you to the boss, and you’ll be able to download that, and we’ll post that link again.

So the two most important things for you when you look at COVID, I think the first one isn’t such a big issue now as it was last week when everyone was still complacent about it. Many, many people were really complacent, “Oh, it’s not a big thing,” “It’s not dangerous.” Some of us had world leaders, or prime ministers, or presidents telling us not to worry, it’s not a bad thing. Actually, it is a bad thing. This is a genuine pandemic. The first I’ve ever lived through and probably the first that nearly all of you have ever lived through that is so infectious and is likely to impact your personal life, as well as your work life.

Now, it is going to impact you, of course. It’s going to impact you in lots of different ways. But the key here, two most important things are recognize it, it is going to happen, don’t panic, and still fundraise. So this is real. You really do need to take it seriously. It’s not like fake news or anything. This is real. This is really happening right now. So even if it’s not a big thing where you live, we had somebody on earlier chatting, they’re in Ireland, Malta, and Scotland goes, “Oh, you’ll be safe,” she said, “No. It’s on the island.” But anyway, even if it’s not a big thing where you live, it is a real global threat and you can see the impact throughout the toilet roll suppliers of the world, supermarkets, the whole thing. It is real.

You have unparamount . . . of course, it’s your duty of care to staff, donors and beneficiary. So this is really important for all of us, and I implore you, wherever you are in the world, right now is the time to be . . . if you’re not in a lockdown place, if your country is not closing down schools and stuff yet, I would still get everyone to work from home tomorrow, and practice it, and then get everybody back in the office the next day, and then work out what you did and didn’t do right, and basically use this week to learn how to work from home because you’re going to be working from home. Be prepared. So stuff like that, we really got a duty of care for staff, our donors, and our beneficiaries, of course, and yourself. So do look after your own health, not just your physical health, but there’s going to be lots more so far. It’s only been about, you know, the symptoms of the virus itself, but actually, we really need to look at our mental health as well, being stuck at home.

So a lot of our members, we’re pairing people so they can have video chats with each other and stuff. Fundraising can be lonely, anyone. And it is new though. Nothing has happened like this. So I’m really confident about what to do with in a financial crisis for fundraising perspective because we’ve got lots of evidence, and there’s fantastic books like . . . oh, dang it, like Mal Warwick’s “Guide to Fundraising When Money is Tight,” and other things like that. So there’s some really good stuff out there.

And also, we know what to do when there’s a natural disaster, so, you know, when there’s a natural disaster, how you respond to fundraising, whether you should stop fundraising or not, we know exactly what to do. This is a global disaster and a virus. So anybody who confidently tells you, “This is what’s going to happen,” maybe, but nobody knows. So what I’m trying to do is tell you what I think you should do regardless of what is going to happen because we don’t know what’s going to happen next week. So we really need to do the right things that are basically mitigating what may happen.

So don’t panic because many charities are already making this worse, not the virus, I mean, but making the impact on their fundraising worse. There are still some charities . . . I can’t believe this, there is still some charities that I work with, they were debating whether to cancel their event in two or three weeks’ time. Of course, you’re going to have to cancel your event. And even if your event is in three months or two months, you’ve really, really got to take control now. Well, now you have a choice in canceling that event. Anywhere you are, you might have a choice, but if you’re going to have to cancel it anyway, or might have to cancel it, cancel it now and take control. And we’ll talk about that a bit more later.

Now, everyone can make things worse, panic, cut fundraising, delay appeals, the three worst things you can do. Please do not do any of that. If you had an appeal going out tomorrow, get that appeal going out tomorrow. Don’t stop. But what we’re going to talk about is under what circumstances we might change those campaigns. But if it’s due tomorrow, don’t change it. Get that thing out because if you’re worried you might not raise as much money, the best way to make sure it doesn’t is don’t mail it, or email it, or whatever and then it won’t raise as much money, as long as it doesn’t put anybody in danger such as an event.

Now, you may well have direct, immediate, and medium-term revenue hits. This is happening already, of course. There are some charities that I know in Australia that’s possibly going to go to the wall because they don’t have a broad portfolio, they’re dependent on one event, and they really don’t have the skill sets to . . . really smaller organizations, they just don’t have the skill sets to bring that event online or do an emergency campaign.

So that is going to happen as well. So please, please be careful, be out there. And I know Bloomerang has got an extra web. We’re going to talk a little bit about events, but Bloomerang has got another webinar as well. I think it’s with Simon Scriver . . . is it, Steven, about events?

Steven: Yes.

Sean: Okay. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to talk about the external vulnerable areas, like what might happen to your organization that you can’t do really anything about, and then the internal vulnerable areas, which are basically your fault if you do the wrong thing. Externally, the London Marathon announced . . . it’s huge fundraiser in the UK. I think it’s the single biggest fundraising event in the UK, is postponed, which is a much better word, by the way, for all of your events than canceled. So really, really, I would say postponed on everything if I were you.

The other area which some people are noting and others might not is supply disruptions, so your ability to actually fundraise. So the top example is a dark mail pack that I received a few days ago, it’s from China so it would have been shipped before COVID was a big thing, back in December, it would have been about in the mail house and it’s only recently gone out. So that’s what’s happened with this package. So I actually managed to get it, but there’s going to be issues around supply chain for all activities and things like that. And then, of course, there is supply like these UNICEF fundraisers. This is in Brazil. I just saw these guys in Rio, during the World Cup actually, which is of course, UEFA Cup is going to be canceled, which is really annoying because I have tickets, but there are more annoying things right now.

But you can see that there’s those wonderful women working for UNICEF, stopping people in the street and asking them to become monthly givers. Now, to give you an idea of scale, by the way, for our Americans, you probably don’t realize this, but that method is the largest source of monthly givers in the United States of America now, like it already has been in the rest of the developed fundraising nations like Australia, New Zealand, most of Southeast Asia, most of Europe, Canada, and much of Latin America. And that’s basically grinding to a halt around the world. In Europe, it’s basically the streets are empty anyway. So that’s people on the streets, door to door and shopping malls, asking them to become monthly givers.

Then there’s the economic impact, and this is just a screen grab from the news yesterday. That’s our rather useless prime minister short talking about the stock market. I’m only calling him useless because of his reaction to the bushfires, by the way. Anyway, internal vulnerability, these are the issues around you and what’s your responsibility. And this is one of the main ones, which actually might be your bosses, but I’m talking about your organization.

Fantastic cartoon from The Marketoonist. It’s a couple of years old. And in case you can’t read this, “You have a full accountability for this P&L.” “Great. Where are my controls?” “You control that one lever. If your revenue drops, pull it.” “What does it do?” “It cuts your marketing budget.” This is the normal response, so fundraising is down, big events are canceled so nobody wants to cut services. Everybody wants to cut fundraising first. Possibly even you. You exist to provide your services. I mean, really? Isn’t that tempting and the right thing to do? But in reality, that’s a little bit like, if your government is slow to try and stop large events and things, it’s because they’re worried about the immediate economic impact.

But what we know is the later they are in stopping large events, the bigger the long-term economic impact is likely to be, as in more people will get sick quicker, which will have a greater burden on our health systems. So the whole idea is to try . . . as you know, you’re reading this all the time, to try and slow the spread down. So what we’re trying to do here is actually slow the impact on our organization down. And if we’ve got to make cuts, we’re usually better off cutting services than we are fundraising because we will be able to provide less services in the future if we cut our fundraising, and we could put ourselves into a spiral of obstruction.

And there are lots of examples of organizations that have done that in the past and some who haven’t recovered. Roger Craver was telling us . . . Roger Craver is a fundraiser in America, he was telling us a case of an organization cut in 2008 after the GFC cut fundraising ahead of services and still hasn’t grown back to that size.

The other one, very, very famous quote, we just mustn’t be afraid because one of the problems that we’ve seen in the past is that people have cut things because of their fear of revenue being down, rather than revenue actually being down. So they’re actually scared of things going down, like direct marketing and things like that, so that they didn’t do their direct marketing.

I call this tsunami suicide because I mean in Australia a couple of years when the Boxing Day tsunami in Asia happened, and many organizations during that tsunami thought the tsunami would impact their fundraising so they cut their fundraising so their income was impacted. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you never had a tsunami suicide, then refer to Katrina suicide, global financial crisis suicide, bushfire suicide. There were organizations in Australia as we’re going through a horrific bushfire season that had nothing to do with bushfires so they stopped their fundraising because they were worried that people were donating all their money to bushfires whether they were working with people with learning disabilities, or overseas, or education or whatever. They were worried that their income could be down so they didn’t do their fundraising, so it was. Please don’t do that.

So there’s three scenarios, like lots of people are going to tell you, “Fundraising is not going to be down,” “Fundraising is definitely going to be down,” “Fundraising is going to be about the same,” and there’s no doubt that many areas of fundraising aren’t going to be down. Events, face-to-face, supply chain, things like that, you got no control so they’re going to be harmed. But by reacting to that well, fundraising could be up for some organizations.

So for you, what if fundraising is you don’t know which of these three it’s going to be unless you’re totally reliant on events and you know it’s going to be down? But you really don’t know. You’re frightened that it’s all going to be down. But what if it’s this up, the same, or down? What is the right thing that you should do regardless of which one of those it’s going to be?

Fundraising . . . oops, you need to do brilliant fundraising. I mean, none of those scenarios is taking your eye off the ball on your fundraising a good idea, in none of those scenarios is suspending your campaign about education for girls in East Timor, or about being able to fundraise new piece of equipment in your hospital, or to tend to burn victims or rescue koalas post-bushfire. All of those things still need you to do your brilliant fundraising.

But let’s just have a look at the type of organization you are. I’m kind of going to put you into three sort of categories of which the third category could kind of cross over. So it is going to depend on your cause as to what might happen to your fundraising. So actually . . . and I’m not predicting what is going to happen, but you could have no significant impact if you are an organization, perhaps like World Vision with really strong, robust monthly giving programs, then you’re probably going to be all right. Sure, you might have problems acquiring people because the biggest source, face-to-face, in many countries is kind of wiped out for a few months, but you’re still going to have this base of wonderful people that are going to continue their monthly gifts.

Your direct marketing in many countries should still work while posties are delivering post. And your bequest program, you know, money is still going to come in from things like bequests and what have you. Or you’ve got really big reserves, and sure it might have an impact on your fundraising but hey, guys, what are reserves for? They’re for rainy day. Hey, guys, it is absolutely blowing it down with rain right now. So this is the time to use your reserves. Do not cut fundraising if you’ve got any reserves. This is where you as a fundraiser really need to be on top of what is the difference between budget and money. So often, you might not have the budget, but the organization may have the money.

So make sure that you know how much is in the reserves of your organization. I’m always shocked by how many fundraisers do not know the balance sheet or the P&L of their own organization. And you need to know that. By the way, it’s a really useful tip to know that every year when you’re trying to get budget, really look at what those reserves are. And those reserves, of course, are going down now, and that probably have been covered quite a lot, but they’re still going down. And you’d be better off using those reserves for extra fundraising right now, which is going to get much better returns than leaving it in falling and declining stock markets.

So the first type of organization, no significant impact. The second type of organization, you are frontline, your mission is working with these people, whether that’s in overseas aid, or it’s with older people, or homeless people, or people with diabetes, people with compromised immune systems and those sort of things. So we’ve got to be cautious about those people and that’s our job, to fundraise for those people. You’re likely to actually increase your revenue during this period if you’re smart. So you’re the organizations that are in the kind of one of the best positions. However . . . and I’m not sort of making this sound like opportunistic, but we have to survive and we have to do our best to help those people that we care about.

The other category is income is down and you aren’t on the front line. So I was talking to a charity who works with women who survived breast cancer, and they do an event where these women are basically body painted, and they do press ad sort of naked but with body paint, and they sell this calendar, and it’s a fantastic thing, their income is going to be down because we can’t get the women together to do the calendar, blah, blah, blah, there’s going to be a cash flow issue, maybe they have lots of events or face-to-face. Whatever it is, you might be relying on things that are out of your control that are going to get harmed. So if that’s you, what you probably want to do is do some of the actions from . . . well, I’m going to show you one of the actions that you should do depending on which category you are in there. And I do appreciate that you could be frontline and you’re relying on events, for example, so your income might be down too, which is actually both a double whammy for you and also a double opportunity for your fundraising.

What we can do about it. Okay, so we can’t control the virus, but we can control what we do next. And one of the best things is that people who have chosen you to be one of your charities, those beautiful, wonderful donors, they still care about your cause. And they could be frightened or in denial and all sorts of other issues as well, but they still care. They’ve been there for you before, and we can’t make the assumption that they’re not going to be there for us right now.

Now, if you have no significant impact for whatever reason, you don’t change your fundraising plans because then you will have an impact. So again, a charity that’s not impacted by bushfires pulls back its fundraising, suddenly is impacted by the bushfires because they didn’t do that fundraising. Please don’t pull back from anything that you’ve planned unless it’s illegal, dangerous and puts anybody at risk like face-to-face events. Please cancel all physical events.

Do mention COVID-19 in your copy. And I’ve got an example coming up. It took so long for charities to caught onto this, and my first example from Australia that came through in a dark marketing campaign, this was an email, was from Australian Conservation Foundation and that was yesterday. But you really do need to mention in your copy what you write about yourself, in your website, and what have you.

But never in a way that gives an excuse not to give. So don’t say, “I know you might be worried about COVID-19 and your finances but . . . ” nothing like that. We really basically want to talk about them, “Yes, COVID-19 is a thing, but I’ll show you how they’ve done it, how Kelly did that.”

And then of course, make sure that you’re doing best practice. You know, there’s tons of stuff that you should be doing. You know, you should be doing those longer letters, you should be mailing more frequently or less frequently, depending on who you are, you should be mailing more expensive packs to fewer people, you should be telephoning donors, and there’s just loads of stuff that you know you really ought to be doing but you’re not doing because nobody really likes many, dark marketers in particular, we don’t like actually talking to donors. We like to tap, tap, tap and send them stuff. But actually, this is the time to be calling your donors and talking to them. This is when we need to do best practice.

I’ve got a really cool idea, a cheat idea about how you might be able to increase your capacity to make phone calls. So this is an example of a campaign. And you can see it came through 6:00 p.m. last night, which of course, I think that’s in the future for you, isn’t it, in America? Anyway, because I received that in Australia time. We’ve got an email from the future from Kelly [inaudible 00:28:12]. And Adani is a big coal mine. We want to stop it. It’s ridiculous. We really don’t need to be digging more coal up right now.

So she said, “The truth is we had an important work planned before any of us knew the extent of COVID-19 and that work must continue.” And she’s saying, “Our climate is being destroyed, the places we love decimated, our government continues to support coal mining profits and pollution,” so no holding back, but it is appropriate to mention COVID-19, and the way that she’s done that, the context of that is really good. Now, they’ve probably banged this out and changed it very quickly, but that’s pretty darn good. And that’s kind of what all you need to do.

What if you’re one of those organizations where your mission involves COVID-19? I’ll describe those types of organizations. Well, guys, this really is your time. This is it. This is where you’re going to turn your organization around, you’re going to raise lots of money, you’re going to bring in lots and lots of monthly givers. I’ll give an example, WWF in Australia during the bushfires, this was their time. They were running campaigns around fires. They were running campaigns about forestry. They’re running campaigns around koalas and threatened species. The bushfires happened, and they raised pretty much their entire year’s revenue in that campaign and added thousands and thousands of new monthly givers as a consequence of that. The organization was transformed by a horrific catastrophe because it’s the best place to help fix and save that. If your mission involves COVID-19, you’re the best place to help save the world to make a huge difference.

So here’s an example . . . and by the way, I am so short of examples. No one anywhere . . . and I’m a pretty generous donor, I give to lots of charities, no one has asked me for money so far for the COVID-19 work they did. And this was just one of my members in the United Kingdom, International China Concern. So they’re based in the UK, wonderful woman, Judy Elliot. She is like one of the smartest fundraisers ever, and don’t poach her because ICC totally depends on her. And she has done a fantastic campaign straight up about their coronavirus response in China, and she got this up last week. So that is just absolutely fantastic and really brilliant.

And basically, first to market aren’t going to make the difference, and don’t hold back. I was speaking to somebody at a major international aid agency, and they’re like, “Well, we don’t really know what we’re going to do about COVID-19.” They work in refugee camps. I bet the people on the ground in those refugee camps know what they’re going to have to do about COVID-19 right now.

Can you just imagine the impact that’s going to happen on the medical resources of rich countries? Imagine what that’s like in places like Jordan with huge refugee camps, or Uganda. I mean, come on, guys, this is a horrific situation. COVID could just whip through a refugee camp of some of the most vulnerable, and basically people without proper facilities. This is the time that we really need to be helping those people, and that’s the time that those organizations need to get some campaigns out. I’m going to show you some kind of a little bit more detail on how to do that to just give you something to get going because you need to do that today basically or tomorrow, if it’s your evening, or tonight.

What if you’re in the third category, which is most of you, where your income is down, but you don’t actually work in COVID-19? The first thing to know . . . I think this is possibly the first time I’ve used this word, existential. It literally is threatening the very existence of your charity. I don’t want you to be frightened because the biggest problem is if you’re frightened, and you cut fundraising because you’re worried about your organization’s future, and you basically cripple your organization’s future by doing so, this is the time that you basically want to focus, focus, focus, focus on fundraising right now.

And if you’re relying on events, we really need to make up for some of that revenue. Now, I am pretty confident that most of the members that I have who do an event and have a set of donors, even a small set of donors, are actually going to come out of this financially better off. And like I said, you can’t believe anybody’s predictions because nobody knows. But I’m confident, after having some meetings with people and the brilliant ideas that they’ve come up with, particularly [inaudible 00:32:53] in Italy, that fantastic ideas of the team, we had a good chat about what they’re going to do. There are amazing things that we can do that really involve and care about our donors that will transform those organizations.

I reckon half of the people here are involved in fundraising events. So the first thing obviously is cancel any physical events, even three, four months away. I mean, I put three months ago but that was yesterday. I’ve been reading the news today, maybe four or five, six months out. The key here though, the sooner you decide to cancel that event, the sooner you can tell you’re postponing it, the sooner you can tell people that’s what’s happening and you can tell them that you’re in trouble, that you need extra money, that this was something you relied upon.

Luckily, overnight, and I literally saw this at 5:30 this morning, as soon as I got out of the shower, I saw somebody who’s actually close to one side, I’ve got a little bit of information with the first one like that, but with your events, obviously, could people take part at home? Can you bring online and tune into Bloomerang’s . . . I think it’s the next webinar, which is all about how you might do that, and plan a crisis appeal.

Now, this is really hard. There’s some language here. I’m just going to call an emergency appeal for an organization that works with COVID-19, “So it’s an emergency. We have to help these people. Send more money now, please.” And then we’ve got a crisis appeal, which is how our organization is being harmed by COVID-19, “Help, please help. We need extra funds right now.” So crisis campaign is organizations that aren’t working with COVID-19 are in trouble and emergency campaign is those that are working with COVID-19 and won’t be in trouble afterwards, I hope.

Here’s a good example. This is in Vermont, Spectrum in Vermont. They have big annual events. And Sarah is . . . I think she was working on the weekend. We sent a lot of useful templates. Actually, we created template pretty much for her to help her pull this campaign together. She has three sleep outs, which are in two, three and five weeks’ time. I’m sure you’ve seen her sleep outs. It’s where lots of people get together, sleep in the park overnight and to highlight homelessness. And they usually raise $300,000. This is not a huge charity. That’s a big significant chunk of revenue. So what they’ve done is they haven’t cancelled it. They’ve made it a virtual event. And they’re asking people to take selfies, sleep in their yards, and the gardens, in their balconies and things like that.

If I were a betting man, I would bet that they’re probably going to raise that $300,000 especially if they also do a crisis campaign as well, which is basically a direct mail shop saying, “We’re really worried. This is our big event. Will you donate as well?” to their normal donors and what have you, and hopefully some phone calls. So it is crisis appeal time for you today, right now, if your finances have been stretched and what you need to do is tell your donors. You need to tell them and you need to be honest. If you are worried that your income is going to be down, then tell them, say, “We’re relying on these events that are going to happen in the future.” Do get this crisis campaign out. Of course, if you’re frontline, and you’re relying on events, then you’re going to both basically just, “Hey, we need to provide these services, and we’re really worried because . . . ” and I’m working on a template for those as well, but it’s been busy.

Follow up with strong monthly stuff. So back in 2003, I was working with an organization that was in financial crisis. I do remember one of the copy said, “Because of the effects of SARS, the recent bushfires, and the recent . . . ” something about the war at that time, “we’re in a financial crisis.” And they raised the whole years’ worth of donations in one campaign. And then, they did a follow up asking people for monthly gifts and got so many monthly givers on board. And the message was, “Of course, we never want to be in a position like this again. My best chance is if I get monthly givers on board.” So that was an amazing campaign.

And I think this is really important for you, if you do an emergency campaign or a COVID-19 campaign because your frontline, follow it up, with monthly giving. Calls are great, ringing all the people who donate once off, ask them for monthly gift on the phone. In your thank you letter, you might include a cleverly crafted monthly giving ask saying to people, “Thank you so much for your gift, my best chance of keeping us basically on track is to get a series of monthly givers.” So there’s some really amazing messages that we can do right now.

And if you’ve got big reserves, be aware of that because why are you doing a crisis? Why are you calling out a crisis? But often, an organization say with a $10 million turnover should have $2.5 million in reserves because of cash flow. But a donor might look at that and, “Well, that’s lots of money.” So you really got to make sure you understand as a fundraiser what those reserves are for, how much is committed, and how much is actually net assets that are available to the organization to spend and find that out and spend it right now on fundraising, by the way. But be aware of your reserves, both for you because . . . forget your budget, your budgets out the window now, by the way. Just ignore your budget. You now want to see what money your organization has got to save your organization.

And please, I’m going to ask you later, what were the three most important things that you learned today and to write them down. And I think that’s probably one, your budget has gone pivot. It’s not a relevant thing anymore. You need to tell your board that probably, but it is not. What is key is how much money your organization has got right now. Go fast now. You need to do this right now. How come you’re still here? Why aren’t you writing your campaign? Hang on, I’m going to show you how to write that thing.

You really need to hit this strong. This was a 2003 campaign. The one on the right is a 2009 financial crisis campaign. I just love this copy. This is one of the most important letters I’ve ever written. I prefer the 2009 one. This is the most important letter I have ever written. By the way, if your CEO or the normal signatory won’t write that, then you write it because it could be your first letter you’ve written anyways. So definitely it is the most important one. But someone must write that, and if your signatory refuses to write that, they are not the right person to be signing this letter.

So this is really the kind of strength of language that you really need to hit. And this isn’t in the handout, by the way, so you might want to do a quick screen grab on that and on the other one. Starlight, I think this is so honest and personal and first person singular, “Starlight is facing an unprecedented financial crisis which is forcing me to make decisions I never imagined I would face just 12 months ago.” This is Jill Weekes, the CEO of Starlight. Isn’t that just beautiful copy? She is taking personal responsibility for this. She is a true leader. She’s not blaming others. She’s not blaming anything else. She has been a fantastic leader and saying, “Look, I need to deal with this. I need your help.” It’s fantastic. And of course, again, this was an amazing record-breaking campaign that set them up very nicely for that monthly givers, monthly giving.

So I’ve been working on this template over the weekend. We’ll still be working on it. I’m going to share it. At Moceanic, we have this thing called Moceanic Fundraisingology lab. We have a Facebook page. Technically, we actually had our membership open when COVID hit. For Bloomerang people and for Steven and all you guys, we are actually extending that membership to Friday, so please do join. But we’re going to post that actual template, a full template for you to basically type in whatever those little chevrons, you know, to really, really help you get that out. Now, of course, you can change some of the words there, but really, really try and get that campaign out in Courier, in black and white with photocopied pieces to go with it. Make it look like you did it tomorrow because do it tomorrow. But get on with it.

This is the first kind of feedback I’ve got. We told our members on Friday morning my time, which would have been Thursday evening U.S. time, we have two and a half hours of Q&A with members, two different videos went up. We did them in two different time zones, lots and lots of questions. But some of the reactions, this is a member who said . . . so she must have watched that on Thursday night, by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, she got an email out, she got a small list, 4,100 people, a quarter of them opened it, and normally, she might get one in seven, and the click rate was more than double what she would normally get. She did tell me that . . . she hasn’t finished this obviously, it’s just gone, but she’s had lots and lots of likes and hits, and it’s just doing really, really well. So get on with it, please get on with it.

But do think beyond mail and email . . . oops, so same quote again. Press ads, full page press ads, and that would include digital ones as well which would be full page in the same way. But look at full-page press ads, people are at home, they’re stuck, especially elderly people, and elderly people are particularly for dark marketing press ads are key audience. Bring back press ads. I was hoping to get an example ready for you for today. A friend in the UK was working on it overnight for me. Well, I am going to get some example templates for those up into the Moceanic member area.

Direct response TV, I heard from DTV that direct response TV is improving at the moment. Results are going up because again, people are at home and those normally cheap slots on the TV are working.

You might consider doordrops, so that’s unaddressed mail, you know, where you just . . . now, they are pretty tough to make work in most markets these days, but it might be consideration, especially if you’ve got face-to-face monthly giving acquired budget that you’ve got to spend now because you’ve got no capacity.

And other partnerships that you might do with organizations, either organizations like yours that are doing same things. So come together now. This is the time where we need to come together. And so far, I am amazed at the wonderful solidarity around the world. I mean, those videos coming out of Spain and Italy of people singing on balconies, the camaraderie, people telephoning older people at home just having chats. I mean, there’s some ugly stuff, but mostly it is so gorgeous. Don’t be swayed by the media’s availability bias. In other words, you just see the horrible stuff because that’s news, but just know that nearly everyone in this whole world is working together on this. Chinese doctors and experts flying to Italy straight after. I mean, it’s just fantastic stuff.

I’m hoping it remains humanity at its best. This is not zombie chaos. This is a wonderful opportunity for us, organizations and us, the leader of kind of social care. Keep your donors up to date. Please make sure you’re doing that. Now, do this a lot, definitely if you’re . . . well, whether you’ve been harmed by finances, or you’re not, try and mail your donors every week, not necessarily all of them, not all hundred thousand or all 10,000, but really try and mail them every week.

Every time you mail them, you should make more income than what you spend. However, you might do some mailings that are not actually asking for money, just an update, statement from the CEO of your survival plan, how you’re going to get through this, a statement, you know, but really interesting ones, not really boring, bland ones, and really donor-focused ones. So in those statements, the first consideration for us is the support and care and safety of our supporters, and beneficiaries, and staff, you know, that kind of thing. We really want to get updates out.

With Antoniana, we did a screen grab, this is a charity in Italy with all of the staff in little, you know, videos, all the staff there. And what we did is a screen grab of everybody and I’m suggesting they actually send that in their donor update saying, “This is how we’re working to keep Antoniana going.” Everybody’s working from home. It’s a great shot, everybody looks really earnest. It wasn’t staged. One of the staff, Sarah, was chatting away, brilliant shot.

Email at least two to four times a week if you have an email list. So with that example, you should be doing that two to four times a week. Again, not always asking for money, making sure that your donors have information about what they can do about COVID, make sure they know if there’s a phone line provided in your country for lonely people basically. Loneliness and mental health issues are going to . . . it’s not in the news yet, it’s going to be. I used to work in mental health. So this is a thing that I’m already worried about. We need to be looking after people’s mental health, including our wonderful supporters.

Update your social regular. Webinars or townhall style conferences. So, you know, invite donors to webinars to tell them what you’re doing. Invite them to telephone. They’re big in America I think, but we don’t really do these townhall style teleconferences in Australia. But do those sort of things.

What are we going to do? Right now, only two things you should be doing, implementing services, why you exist, or measurably raising money. There’s lots of activities we do to raise awareness or something like that. Like, don’t worry about that right now, don’t spend it while we shouldn’t be spending money on that ever anyway, but just stop spending money on anything that is not bringing in direct funds that you can measure or indirect funds like generating a lead which are in telephone or ask for monthly giving. You must have a funnel and a process. So you want to be basically looking after your donors, looking after your beneficiaries or asking for money, anything else that you do, don’t.

Don’t let your fundraising budget get cut. Please make your boss watch this recording or something like that. Do that. Be proud and celebrate. You might do things like making everyone work from and choosing to cancel events when you don’t have to, the government hasn’t told you to, but you really ought to and you know you should. Let’s face it, donors are older people. You don’t want to bring all those people together. So even it has revenue now, it will pay back in the future, I hope for you.

Make sure, if you’re event dependent, as you get through this, you need to go to the boss and say, “We cannot be event dependent. We need a diverse portfolio of fundraising activities.” And love, love, love your beautiful donors because the only reason they give to you is because of their love, whether that’s their love for humanity, or for Jesus, or for Mohammed or whatever the reason they love. And that’s what we need to get them back.

Remember your mail responsive donors are elderly, average age depending on which country is quite old. Sorry, if you’re that age, you’re still very wonderful and brilliant people, but these are the most dependent, sorry, most vulnerable groups and trapped at home. So one of the ideas, which I think was wonderful from yesterday was some of you, let’s say you’re an organizer, an environmental organization, and your staff are stuck at home and your field workers are normally out there, I don’t know, cleaning bogs or rescuing koalas or something, and they’re just stuck working from home. Well, they have some spare time. S

o what we can do with those guys is get them to call donors, “Hey, my name is Sean. I work with the Northern Territory group up here at WWF, and I’ve been working with some aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders and this is what we do. And I just want to see how you were. I’m stuck at home. Are you?” that kind of stuff. That will really help and they will remember your organization was there for them. But make sure that they have to hand, you know, government lines and all that kind of stuff.

All right, my last couple of things. Yes, your monthly givers might be younger, but still call those too. They might be lonely, working from home for the first time, they’ll be very happy for the chat. This is an unusual time when people will be more happy to chat to you than normal. So make sure that we reach out to our donors.

Don’t just ask. This is a P.S. from my template. It might change because I told you I’m working on it. So this is the P.S. basically which is reiterating the campaign thing, you know, basically, “I need for donation by this date, please.”

But also, here’s the PPS, “If you have respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, blah, blah, blah, call . . . ” whatever the call, phone line is. “If you need information visit these websites,” the government places. And in many countries, there are organizations or charities that exist to take calls from lonely people, to support people who are on their own, bereavement organizations, all sorts of things like that. So you might want to link to those.

All righty, we’re just going to get to the summary, Steven. I’m hoping we’ve got some questions. I’m happy to keep going until they’ve dry up. But anyway, offering donors, this is a great idea. Call donors and say, “Look, you know, blah, blah, blah,” if they’re elderly, do they use internet much. Help them, just give them a guide on how to pay their bills and order groceries online. I mean, this is really important in Italy right now. Hell, it’s going to probably very important in your country, pretty already very important in Spain and actually pretty much everywhere in Europe now.

If you’re a religious organization, offer mass services online or, you know, get a priest, or a vicar, or whoever it is you want to call and have a teleconference or a video conference. Do weekly webinars. Just email your donors saying, “We got a webinar, come along, chat, and it will be fantastic for you.” And you might even send them books, relevant magazines, you know, just stuff that’s really relevant to people, really like go look after your donors right now.

But what do I need to do now? Write down your plan, one page, get it done quickly, like really quickly. How are you going to do services? How are you going to raise money? How are you going to avoid financial difficulties? It could be pivot time, right? So if you have all your fundraising plans, I’m saying don’t stop fundraising, but you might want to do different fundraising because you might want to raise more money from doing an emergency campaign than your current programs. If so, just delay them. Don’t be proud, “Oh, but I’ve done so much work on that,” the work has to be done and that campaign can still go. But prepare to pivot, prepare to drop campaigns to hit with an emergency campaign about pivot. That’s kind of like what Oxfam, and Save the Children, and Feed the World, those kind of charities that are emergency-based organizations, Red Cross, that’s what they do all the time. And it works for them. It can work for you. So be prepared to pivot. Make sure you have the right governance. If you do pivot, make sure that you’re doing it properly, and you’re spending the money wisely, and that your normal business as usual and your commitments aren’t harmed financially.

So Steven, if you would be so kind as to join me and pause the video and you’re going to put that link up I think for people. So that’s your cheat sheet. If you haven’t already grabbed that, then please make sure you get that. I’ll bring that URL up there. We are putting so many resources together for our members, not surprisingly. We do stuff for our members first, so please, please do join. It is open now, and we are extending it until Friday. I can’t believe the timing, but please, please do join up and you’ll get hold of that complete. This also comes with a 12-page explanation of how to use it, in what context, you know, [inaudible 00:54:25]. So please do join up.

One last thing, Steven, I’m really optimistic. I think that 2020 and beyond, fundraising will be a much more professional . . . I mean, it’s not like we’re not a bunch of . . . I mean, they’re not amateurs in fundraising. There’s lots of professional, wonderful people in fundraising. But we’re kind of often treated with disdain, like there’s this well-meaning amateurs which are our bosses, our boards, often kind of like there’s a fundraising thing on the side. I think that we are going to come out stronger if we do this right. And I think organizations will have broader fundraising portfolios. And I think that digital giving which Blackboard shows . . . I saw that Blackboard report about digital giving, and it’s actually really still less than 10% in the U.S. I reckon that that could grow dramatically.

I think charities will learn how to home work better. And I think that that will actually have some big benefits. And people will realize that they really need to be investing in those three areas of where strategic fundraising revenue comes from, what I call the ultimate fundraising trinity, monthly giving, bequests and major donors. Now, while Steven and I chat about some questions, can you please write down for yourself, put them in the chat whatever, three useful things you learned today. It’s really important to do that whenever you learn anything. I think I went over time there a bit, didn’t I, Steven?

Steven: That’s okay.

Sean: And you might have lots of questions. But if you’re willing to go for it, it’s late for you, but it’s . . .

Steven: I’m willing. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now. So I’m cool to hang out a few. I know you have your entire day ahead of you. So you tell me when you want to stop, but . . .

Sean: All right. It’s when I’m really hungry and want my breakfast.

Steven: Yeah, you need your breakfast. So let’s all be respectful as Sean may not have eaten a big breakfast yet. But I just want to say thank you, not just for this presentation, but for offering to do this, for getting up early, for just being an awesome person. This was amazing. There were just so many good tidbits. And I know this situation is going to keep evolving, and there’ll be new ideas and people have to pivot. But I think you got folks off to a real good start. So I’ll get into the questions because there’s a lot of them. Here’s one from Katherine. So Katherine’s got strong reserves, and they also are doing a crisis campaign. She’s worried that maybe people will respond to the campaign and say, “You have strong reserves. Why are you asking me for this now?” What should be the response to that, or maybe how can she maybe avoid that response to begin with?”

Sean: First thing is yes, they will. Some people will, but not many. Most people don’t know that, and they don’t care. They would care if they knew, but they don’t. You know our pie charts that we put up on our website, nobody looks. So don’t worry too much about that. But what will happen is if you don’t do that campaign, you won’t get any extra revenue. If you do do that campaign, please do share it with us, then you’ll raise more revenue, and you’ll get some questions and problems.

So it’s like what I said, be prepared. So you might look like you have strong reserves, but then what are they for? They might be committed to things. If they’re not, then I have another question, why do you have strong reserves? That money is not meant to be in reserves. It’s meant to be spent on your cause. If it’s there for a rainy day, then you should be spending them. So I would say, you know, “I’m facing a deficit of blah,” which, you know, of course, we have a small amount of reserves or spare of reserves, you could refer to that, probably try not to, but if a major donor, it’s most likely to be major donors and trusts and foundations that talk to you about that, have a good explanation. If you haven’t got one, well, there needs to be a governance issue here because if you haven’t got a good explanation, you should have those big reserves, simple as that.

Steven: Okay, makes sense. Here is a question that kind of caught my eye from Erin. So Erin’s got a gala scheduled for March 28th. So that’s about 12 days from now, from when we’re recording this. She’s got the option to postpone it to June, but her gut is saying to cancel it and then kind of recoup what they’ve already sort of invested and maybe go virtual. It seems like throughout the hour, you’ve saying, “Cancel event, just cancel them because the longer you wait, the less time you have to do something else.” It seems like she’s to cancel, right? And June might even be a little iffy at this point. Right?

Sean: Oh, June is totally iffy. You might tell donors you cancel, but you might not cancel your contract with the venue because until the government orders you to cancel, you might not get your money back, or it’d be more difficult. But probably, you know, with your donors I would cancel it, but I wouldn’t cancel the contract until you have to. I mean, obviously, that’s going to be a little bit up in the air and how you do that. Talk to your legal team. But definitely you might be going ahead with that event and postponing. I might call it postponed, date to be arranged, or I might just say canceled and do an emergency campaign around it. You’ll probably raise as much money that you would have raised from the event even if you lose your venue fee.

Steven: Makes sense.

Sean: So don’t be too scared. Just make the decision.

Steven: Here’s one from Jean, wondering how to target for profit businesses for sponsorships and maybe donations in-kind cash, but worried that, you know, businesses are also taking a hit right now, especially in certain sectors, how can they reach out, should they reach out to those potential corporate sponsors and maybe existing ones that want to renew?

Sean: Well, I mean, the thing is with businesses, yes, they are being hit, and they’re probably frightened too, or many of them. So do be careful. I mean, corporates, again, if you have a balanced portfolio, corporates are one of the worst areas of your balanced portfolio because they are fickle, so fickle. An example is a big corporate commits a million dollars to cancer research in Australia in 2019. They make the commitment and the money is going to be paid in 2020. They’d be all over the news we have hurricane bushfires, a different town is burnt down every day throughout end of December up until mid-January. So the corporate donates a million dollars to rural fire service or something. They didn’t donate another million bucks, Steven. They basically just cancel that donation to the cancer charity.

So, you know, stuff like that, a true corporate donation is not really a donation. They are buying advertising space in some way.

Steven: PR. Yeah.

Sean: PR basically. So if it’s Vodafone or what’s that telephone company . . . Bell, or whoever . . .

Steven: AT&T.

Sean: AT&T, when they sponsor something, they’re trying to sell more minutes, you know, that’s their job and that’s fair enough. So they’re going to be fickle and go where they’re going to get the most exposure. But if you’re doing a COVID campaign, you might be in a really good position for that but just be aware of how fickle. And again, if you’re relying on corporates, it’s like being reliant on events but for different reasons. Make sure you have a balanced portfolio of individuals for monthly giving or something. But yeah, I would definitely go out there if you’re working directly with COVID, or if you’re in financial crisis because they might want to show that they’re saving you. Small business is slightly different because, you know, you can have a conversation and they’re going to tell you how screwed they are pretty quickly. And small businesses should be treated like individuals, individuals make that decision.

Steven: That makes sense. Here’s one from Jill, her board, feeling a lot of anxiety. They’ve had some resignations. I think there’ll be more . . .

Sean: Oh, gosh. Sorry about that, Jill.

Steven: What can you do to calm the board down because they’re probably as anxious as we are, if not more. Is there anything they can do to get ahead of that?

Sean: Well, I don’t know. Jill, Steven, do you think that there was a lot of optimism in this webinar?

Steven: Yes. Some.

Sean: How about getting them to watch this webinar. And please, do not email them the link to watch the recording. They won’t. My experience of sending boards and CEOs emails, links is don’t. Basically, get them in a room or in a webinar and play it on your computer and broadcast it to them at their homes because you’re not going to get them in a room. Get them to tune in on their computers or phones, press play, and play it, you know, live using Zoom or whatever software, but do it live with them and ask them for questions. If you do, “Hello, board members, it’s lovely to speak to you. Thank you so much for watching this. And if you are one of those that did watch this on a recording that someone sent you a link, I’m sorry, you are the one.”

Steven: Yeah. I love that idea. Get them in a room, space them apart, don’t sit them too close together, but . . .

Sean: No. Don’t get them in a room. Get them all at home on computers.

Steven: Sean, you mentioned bequests in one of your last slides. I’m a big request guy, not enough people are doing them. A couple of folks have asked, can they do legacy mailings in this period of time that we’re in? Should they continue those because of the campaigns? What should they do there?

Sean: Yes, of course, you can. I wouldn’t be saying, “Hey, guys, you’re more mortal. It could be sooner than you thought,” so nothing like that. So just kind of avoid that. But I would still talk about your financial crisis, but we still need to get on with the fundraising. Bequests are one of the most . . . Yeah, I would . . . and yes, of course, you’ll get some people saying you’re being opportunistic. But if you planned it, don’t worry, you will get . . . we always take a few issues and complaints we get as, “Oh my gosh, people are thinking . . . ” people aren’t thinking. It’s just a couple of people are thinking that.

A great example actually is I used to run a call center. And you might be making monthly giving calls, so asking people if they’ll become monthly donors for a charity, and then there’s bushfires. And so the callers, when they normally call, people say 10 different excuses as to why they want to say no. When the bushfires were on, everybody says, “I’ve donated to bushfires.” So they think, “Oh my gosh, the bushfires are harming our income.” This is the availability bias. But in actual fact, the results are the same, it’s just that everyone’s using the same excuse, which is fine. It just feels like the bushfires are harming income, but they’re actually not when you look at the numbers in that case.

So my point is you’re going to get a few complaints, just don’t worry too much about it, ring them up, say, “I’m really sorry. We don’t want to cause offence. But right now, we can’t stop fundraising. That would be disastrous for us.” And if you’re do the right thing, do the right thing and tell people.

Steven: Makes sense. Here’s an interesting one, we got a lot of arts groups here, either they have tourism, or they’re, you know, a facility, a museum, a theater that have programs right now. This one in particular, they receive grants and community donations, but they also rely on ticket sales, and they’re having to cancel their productions of their plays, their operas. What can those folks do when that deliverable that they were going to be sending out is no longer possible? Is it recordings? Is it behind the scenes videos? What have you seen for those arts and cultural orgs, performing arts?

Sean: I think the most important thing to do is get some of the key actors, players and what have you along to webinars with donors. So if I was Sydney Theatre Company or Sydney Opera, I would get my key star into a webinar, which is actually an appeal. I’m sure you could . . . there have been virtual orchestras where everybody’s at home playing their own instrument on videos. Those are fantastic. They’ve happened quite a few times already from different circumstances. I would definitely look into that. But that’s going to take a while to organize.

What I would do right now, as soon as you cancel the event within a few days is write to all ticket holders. I do have some examples, you know, already my webinar was going too long, I have some great examples from . . . my partner and I have seasoned ticket holders for Sydney Theatre Company, and they said, “You know, we’ll give you your money back or you can make it a donation.” Do it the other way around, “We’re in trouble. We know you care about theater. You bought these tickets. Of course, we’ll give you your money back if you want, but please, would you help us survive by turning your ticket purchase into a donation?” Be tough, be strong, be upfront.

Now, often the fundraising team and the ticket sellers, basically two different silos and sometimes they hate each other, but basically you guys need to work together in the most beautiful harmony, like an orchestra. You need to be working so well together, and really the conductor should be the fundraiser in this thing and you should be writing those emails to customers, telling them that they’re not going to be able to go to that play or what have you. You really do need to get on that. If you do this well, especially with your high value donors, you will probably make as much money comparable to if the show had gone on. Then start making more money by doing some online webinar orchestras, online plays, I don’t know if you do an online play, but, you know, you could do like BBC Radio Show type things. You could record stuff. This is, I don’t know, some amazing things that you just need to be really creative. Hey guys, you’re in the arts, guess what you are? Really creative. So I would get on with being creative and reach your beautiful, wonderful audience that cares so much about the skills and art that you have to share, please.

Steven: I’m glad you said what you said because you anticipated more than the next question. A lot of people are asking what should we do when we cancel an event or a sponsorship? And I think you said it, ask them to convert it into a donation. I mean that seems like an easy get for them.

Sean: And do an emergency campaign, including to the people who did cancel and give you the money. I would still ask them in the emergency campaign, you know, “We’ve got to cancel this event, incomes down. I know that you gave us your ticket money, blah, blah, blah.” Try to get them on monthly giving, that kind of thing. This is the time, by the way, in arts, it’s the fundraisers that are going to be the heroes instead of our virtuoso, or our conductor, or our key actor.

Steven: Yeah, that’s right.

Sean: Awesome.

Steven: Well, I know we went a little long, and I want to be respectful of Sean’s time. He woke up at 4:00 a.m. his time. He has not eaten breakfast.

Sean: I don’t mind if you’ve got more questions. The adrenaline’s good.

Steven: Well, I thought it’d be good to end it on this. I’m going to kind of combine what a lot of people are saying here because we’ve covered a lot of topics that people are asking about, what about this idea of oversaturation? There’s going to be a lot of folks reaching out. They’re probably already getting bombarded by businesses, you know, small businesses asking them to continue to patronize their locations. What can folks do? Is it just a matter of being creative and standing out? It seems like, you know, kind of giving up and saying, “Well, it’s too crowded. I don’t want to add more noise.” That doesn’t seem like the right thing, Sean. Yeah, break that down.

Sean: So if you’re thinking it is too crowded out there, “I don’t want to get in there,” then that’s the same sort of thought of like is income going to be down, up, or below, and then making decisions that make sure it’s below. Firstly, it’s not crowded. I haven’t had a single ask for money.

Steven: Me either, honestly.

Sean: Be first. This is your week. Honestly, join now. I’m going to work the rest of the day getting this . . . well, actually not just me, it’s also the other team. We’re working to get out those templates. We’re going to be working to get our other stuff. We’ve done so many videos, technical stuff. Just get that campaign out and do use the resources that are available to you right now. I’m not doing this because I want a big sales thing. We’re doing this because this is the stuff that will help your organization survive or thrive. So, yeah.

Steven: Do it. I mean, join, please join. Obviously, Sean is a wealth of knowledge. I’m personally vouching we only bring on people that we believe in on these webinar series. And I think you’ve seen why over the last hour and a half here, so. Sean, this was awesome. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for waking up early and just being a great human being. I really appreciate you doing this for us. This is cool.

Sean: I haven’t woken up. I’m still asleep, honestly. I got just a couple of memes to leave it on the line.

Steven: Yeah, let’s do it.

Sean: Members are doing so well, huh? What I expected, anarchy and zombies. What I got, home office and no toilet paper. Jeff Brooks, my colleague, that’s his tombstone and engraved it . . .

Steven: Oh, not, Jeff.

Sean: Touched his face.

Steven: We need him.

Sean: This is another one, memes, me and my coworkers, logging into our meetings remotely for the next couple of weeks, gorgeous one from one of our members. I don’t know how . . . I don’t know, do you who The Cure is?

Steven: Yeah, I’m almost Gen X so I’m right in there.

Sean: All right, young man. Thank you. I just had my 50th last week. Anyway, this is your time, fundraisers. And don’t be proud or blasé about this, but the world needs you right now. Please, please, please get out there and save fundraising.

Steven: Yep, you can do it. We believe in you. We love you all. I mean, we have a full room. Thanks for hanging out with us. We’re going to keep these webinars going. We’re sort of diverging from our normal editorial schedule, if that’s the right word for it. We’ve got some cool sessions coming up. We are just zeroing in on this topic, bringing in the people that we believe in and we trust. We’ve got a webinar tomorrow . . . or no, two days from now, Wednesday with our buddy, Lori Jacobwith, we got Tammy Zonker on Thursday, and Friday, Sean alluded to this one a couple of times, my buddy, Simon and Nicky who they’re over in the UK, so again, they’re sort of ahead of the curve compared to us in North America. They’re going to talk about how to convert your in-person events into a virtual experience, or create a virtual experience for the first time.

So these are totally free. These are open to the public, register. If you can’t make it, if you’re going to be too busy doing what Sean recommended, hint, hint, you should do some of those things. Okay, we’re going to record them, we’ll post the recordings, and we’ll get you ways to get in touch with the presenters as well just to kind of keep the warnings going.

But there will be more, there’ll be lots of other sessions on here that we haven’t even talked about, maybe even before some of these sessions happen. We’ve also put together kind of a roundup on our website of just things we’re seeing, not just our webinars, but other people’s webinars, articles, resources, free downloads. Check out our site. Our team has been working overtime to pull all this stuff together. In fact, that’s really all we’re doing on the marketing side here at Bloomerang. So check it out please because we want you to keep going and want you to keep thriving.

And I agree with, Sean, I think we’ll come out of this next year really, really strong. So thanks. Any parting thought, Sean? I’ll let you have the last words.

Sean: We obviously didn’t get to all questions. If you do have more questions, please, please do ask them. Ask me on . . . you can email me, join, ask there. But yeah, ask away. We’re here to help.

Steven: Yeah. He’s a great guy, easy to get in touch with. And just think he’s 12 hours ahead if you’re here in the States, just keep that in mind if [inaudible 01:15:15].

Sean: Don’t call me in the middle of the night.

Steven: Yes, please, let him sleep. Sean, go get some breakfast, man. Thank you for doing this.

Sean: Always. Thanks very much, everybody. Bye, bye. Have a good evening, morning, or wherever you’re at.

Steven: See you.

Sean: Bye, bye.

Steven: Bye now.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.