Donor Connections During a Pandemic

Lessons from the 2021 Virtual Bridge Conference
By Karen Loggia

The mission of the Bridge Conference is simple: providing fundraising professionals with the tools and expertise to build a bridge between themselves and the donors who support their organizations. This year was no exception. Despite the headwinds, the “ENERGY | ENDURANCE | EXCELLENCE” themed Bridge Conference provided considerable learning opportunities. It gave consultants, agencies and companies like Tension the opportunity to meet, interact with and learn from professional fundraisers in its virtual format.

Finding New Ways to Connect

Similar to the Bridge Conference, many attending nonprofits pivoted to virtual events over the last year in order to meet fundraising goals and connect with donors. The speakers from these nonprofits told stories of how they had to tap their creativity and sharpen their skills, campaign after campaign, and did so successfully. In fact, one recent report described how:

  • 62% of nonprofits converted to a virtual fundraising event. 
  • 70% described the event as successful.
  • 42% of nonprofits expressed plans to hold a hybrid in-person/remote event in 2021.

Deeper Connections with the Help of Phil Psych

We learned from the keynote, presented by Professor Adrian Sargeant and Professor Jen Shang, the world’s first PhD in Philanthropy, both of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy, about the importance of connection. Phil Psych – short for Philanthropy Psychology – pulls from the concepts of philanthropy (love of humankind) and psychology (study or research of the psyche or the soul). Combined, it becomes the approach to understanding about how people love humankind.

Leveraging the ideas of Phil Psych, nonprofits can find ways to better connect with their donors, especially during a time when virtual formats are the norm and in-person events are challenging to hold. Dr. Shang described how deeper connections can increase wellbeing, and how an increase in wellbeing can come from feeling valued and even loved as a connected donor. And more so, when donors feel connected to the cause they are contributing to, they are likely to continue or increase their donations. Telling donors where their donation is going and more importantly, who it is going to, helps establish that connection. 

 

Let’s Connect Again!

Tension is grateful to the organizers of the Bridge who gave us the opportunity to be part of the larger philanthropy movement. This time next year, we look forward to seeing you in person!

Learn about the 2022 Bridge Conference

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