Essential COVID-19 resources for non-profits

In recent days, we’ve been answering many questions about fundraising in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s good news: economic recession doesn’t necessarily imply that charitable giving will go down. In fact, in America, giving went up during the recession of 2009.

But of course, there’s work to do if you’re going to help your non-profit survive COVID-19. If anything, your mission is more important than ever… and these resources will help you unlock your supporters’ generosity.

1. Top 10 Nonprofit Coronavirus checklist (with crisis comms plans)

This useful resource will help you think through how to create and execute a coordinated communications plan from the top level of your organisation. In a period of panic, everyone is over-communication. You need to cut through with what you say, and this blog post will help you do that.

2. Raising Money During Challenging Times

This extensively researched white paper from leading donor communications platform provider Blackbaudprovides an in-depth look at the relational elements of successful fundraising. With an abundance of stress and anxiety induced by the pandemic, it’s essential to maintain key relationships, and the paper will give you the strategies you need to do so.

3. What to say to donors about Coronavirus / COVID-19 (includes letter/EDM template)

In this helpful blog post, Linked Creative’s lead copywriter Rich Beeston provides a free ‘fill in the blanks’ template you can use for communicating to your donors during the COVID-19 outbreak. Whether you’re crafting a letter, EDM, social post or even a video, this template will give you the words to say to help encourage generosity in your donors at this difficult time.

Check out the template here

4. COVID-19 Charity Preparedness Group

You can join this bustling Facebook community for support and guidance managing your organisation through COVID-19. If you’re in need of community, joining an online space like this could be a vital resource for you.

5. Nonprofit Comms during COVID-19 (examples)

This is a public Google Drive folder full of example communications pieces from leading nonprofits in the last few days and weeks. It’s got many helpful examples, including direct appeals, social media updates, and how to announce the postponement of fundraising events.

6. How to Write an Emergency E-Appeal if Your Organization is Being Affected by the Coronavirus

This video from Steven Screen provides 8 points on writing an emergency e-appeal in direct response to the pandemic crisis. Of course, digital communications are the most direct and immediate method of communications. Everything has changed, and Steven Screen will take you through writing an e-appeal in this new climate.

7. Tips for Leading Your Team Through Stressful Times

You’ll need to ensure that you’re managing relationships with your staff as much as your donors. With uncertainty regarding income streams for nonprofits, you need to be as transparent as you can without causing panic. This article from Rebecca Koenig is an insightful look at how to communicate personally, clearly, and calmly with your team.

8. Sponsorship During Times of Crisis: Cancelled Events, Postponing and Refunds

This LinkedIn article from sponsorship expert Chris Baylis will help you think through the ramifications of cancelling or postponing your events, especially in the context of managing sponsor relationships. There are complicated legal and relational hoops to manage, and reading this will help you make the next step for your event.

9. 8 Work From Home Tips to Boost Nonprofit Fundraising Productivity

The workforce has rapidly shifted to working from home, including many in the non-profit sector. Of course, the limited face-to-face interaction curtails fundraisers’ capability in many ways, but these tips will help you find your routine at home and maximise your time spent fundraising at this most critical time.

10. COVID-19 Call Script

If your relationship-building strategy with supporters includes phone calls, this script is an extremely valuable resource for you as you consider how to ease fears and strengthen connections. Phone calls aren’t ‘old-school’ – they can form an essential part of your communications strategy, and this resource can help you strengthen and personalise your relationships with supporters.

11. 4 Ways to Engage Major Donors During the COVID-19 Crisis

Major donors sit right at the core of a nonprofit’s mission, enabling much of the social good you’re able to do. It’s nothing short of essential to be in touch with your major donors during this crisis. This article from leading fundraiser Suzzane Hilser-Wiles will help you engage your key donors during a time of economic and personal uncertainty. Hilser-Wiles takes a long-term view, in a time when most are seeing in terms of hours!

12. REAL Talk Fundraising – LinkedIn

REAL TALK Fundraising is a LinkedIn community for professionals navigating the post COVID-19 world. The group emphasizes strong opinions and robust discussion. If you’re looking to sharpen your ideas, this LinkedIn group could be the best option for you.

13. How to (Quickly) Mobilise Volunteers to Maximise Nonprofit Fundraising During COVID-19

Although many events will be forced to cancel in the coming weeks and months, you may well find yourself with the valuable resource of volunteers at a loose end. Even though in-person events are off the table, these volunteers may be even more willing to give time to your cause, understanding the threat of COVID-19. In this article, Barbara Maduell helps you think through a number of ways you can mobilise your army of volunteers and keep doing the good you need to do. She even includes some tips for involving self-isolating volunteers!

What to say to donors about Coronavirus / COVID-19 (includes letter/EDM template)

Scroll to template…

Over the last few days, we’ve received numerous requests to help non-profit organisations communicate with their donors about the COVID-19 crisis.

Many organisations are worried about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the amount of donations they will receive. And rightly so.

But on the other hand, organisations need to be aware of the difficulties facing donors, who may have seen their superannuation accounts drop dramatically, lost their jobs, or be facing uncertainty about their health and future.

To help organisations craft an appropriate message that balances the need for ongoing support, alongside an appropriate sensitivity towards donors, we’ve crafted a ‘fill in the blanks’ template which is free for any organisation to use and adapt.

It’s around the right length to be used as a short letter, EDM, or Facebook post.

Please feel free to share with anyone else who might find it useful.

And if there’s anything else our copywriting team can do to help during this time, please get in touch with Rich at

COVID-19 / Coronavirus donor message template

Subject Option A: Important coronavirus update
Subject Option B: Your support during COVID-19
Subject Option C: Coronavirus and you
Subject Option D: You are needed more than ever

Dear [Donor Name],

As one of our incredibly generous supporters, I wanted to reach out to you personally about the impact of COVID-19 on our work together.

But first, I do hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy at this difficult time, which is causing so many challenges for all of us.

Over many years, the support of wonderful people like has been so important in helping to [insert cause e.g. bring children out of poverty].

You have achieved so much through your generosity and we’re so thankful for you!

I know we are all uncertain about the future right now, and like you, I’m hoping the impact of the coronavirus only lasts for a short time.

But no matter how long this crisis lasts, [First Name], the reality is that [insert cause-related copy e.g. life will only get harder for children in the world’s poorest countries].

With that in mind, I’m hopeful that you will continue to give as generously as you can throughout the current crisis to [insert impact e.g. care for vulnerable children].

[VAR Regular Donor] Of course, if your financial situation means you are considering reducing your support right now, I completely understand and encourage you to contact our team on [phone number] to discuss pausing, reducing or cancelling your giving. [END]

Thank you so much for standing with [recipient e.g. children in need], and for your big-hearted support that has already brought [insert impact e.g. hope to so many children who really need it].

Warm regards,

Sender Name
Sender Title

P.S. [First Name], if you’re in a position to continue giving, [insert beneficiary e.g. children in poverty] need you now more than ever before. Thank you for your kindness and generosity, and I hope you remain safe and well during this time.