Post-Pandemic Crystal Ball

Key Takeaways

We’re all wondering what the fundraising world will look like post-pandemic? In this mini-webinar, Jessica looks into her post-pandemic crystal ball to try to find the answers.

Here are some key takeaways…

  • The race to retain great employees will increase

  • Technology will continue to become a major tool for nonprofits

  • Successful nonprofits will engage in two-way communication

  • Traveling for fundraising will decrease

  • Fundraising pressure will continue to increase


Hi, I’m Jessica Cloud, your Fundraising Success Coach with Humanitru. And, today we’re going to talk about what the world might look like post-pandemic. We’re going to look into our post-pandemic crystal ball and see what we come up with.

Well, it’s estimated that more than 50% of Americans have now received the COVID-19 vaccine, and states and municipalities all over the country are opening up more, and we are starting to feel a little bit more normal or back to normal or a new normal you might call it. So, what does that really mean for fundraising and nonprofits?

Well, to my mind, the biggest thing that the pandemic has done is really exposed the fact that some organizations work on a 21st century, um, mindset or mentality. The assumptions and the foundations of their decision-making are grounded in more of a 21st century mindset. And, there are other organizations that while it’s 2021 now, still operate with, um, a mentality that is much more rooted in a 20th century mindset.

And, I think that this manifests itself in the way we approach technology and more particularly the way we approach issues of trust and control with our employees and, um, really with anyone that we’re interacting with in the world. So, I think that what we are going to see is that we’re going to see, um, really four or five specific things that are going to be trends that will stay with us out of the pandemic, into our post-pandemic world.

The first one is that there’s going to be a race to retain great employees. Um, folks have had a taste of working from home. We know that working from home makes most people more productive than less productive. And, the institutions that are going to become more draconian about flexible work options, trusting their employees, um, work from home, um, availability, um, those kinds of things.

Those, those institutions are going to become more and more attractive to the highest performing employees that want to experience that level of trust and and have that relationship with their employers that is flexible. The second thing that I think is going to happen is obviously technology is here to stay, particularly video conferencing technology like Zoom and the importance of video.

Overall, I think is going to be a theme in our world, and particularly it’s going to become a major tool for nonprofits. Um, I think donors are now really interested in utilizing Zoom. And, I think that, you know, churches are using it to increase their rates for hybrid services. I think almost all of our events are going to become hybrid events where we have an online option as well as the in-person gathering.

So, I really feel like that technology is something that is going to stay with us post-pandemic. The third thing is communication. And, so one of the major differences between a 20th century mindset and a 21st is 20th century views information flow as broadcast. So, from one centralized source, the organization out to its constituency in a broadcast manner.

21st century mindset is constantly doing communication is two-way. So, the organization has something to say and the constituents reply back. That could be through social media, that could be through video emails, that could be through email, or just soliciting opinions.

But, however it is organizations that foster a two-way communication with their audience are going to have more success post-pandemic than those that keep the old broadcast model. Fourth thing that I think is really going to be interesting, and this is just a feeling on my part…I am not sure that we’re going to continue to travel as much as we used to as fundraisers.

Um, I think that donors, again, they’ve embraced Zoom and other video conferencing technologies. And, I think that we’re going to see donors say, Don’t travel all the way across the country to see me, um, you know, save that organization, save the organization’s money and, um, you know, and that’s also more eco-friendly.

Um, I think there’s a lot of different reasons why donors don’t want to see nonprofit employees spending thousands of dollars to travel back and forth across the country all the time to just see a particular donor. This might not be true for all organizations and all donors. I just know that I’ve kind of felt that, um, that upwelling and that feeling coming from my donors at my organization, that we want to continue to be better stewards of our donors time and money. And, utilizing Zoom can help with that.

Obviously, nothing really replaces it in person fully, but I think we’re gonna see, um, travel change and the way that we use travel changing, um, and with respect to our relationships with major donors. And, the last thing, um, which is not fun, uh, is I think that the fundraising pressure will continue to increase post-pandemic.

So, there’s a lot of research out there that fundraisers feel like the pressure to succeed is the biggest thing that makes them worry about their job. And, I know I’ve certainly felt like this at points in my career. And, I’m always cognizant of my responsibility to my organization and that fiduciary responsibility to reach my goals so that the organization can continue to function and meet its mission.

And, I think that’s only going to increase. Um, the pandemic is making everybody feel the squeeze. Um, and the many changes that our organizations have had to make to adapt to our new environment during COVID-19. Um, those have all increased the need for funding, and that we’ve had to keep pace with a tremendous amount of change.

So, I think the fundraising pressure is going to stay with us. Um, I think we’re gonna continue to embrace technology. I think communication, especially two-way communication. Fostering is going to continue to be important, and perhaps even increase in importance as we move forward. And, I also think again that the trust issue with our employees and offering them those remote work options, those flexible work options, and really just fostering an atmosphere that we do trust our employees to get the job done.

I think that that is going to drive a lot of competition in the future for the highest performing employees in the nonprofit sector. So, that’s my take. And, I want to hear, if you think that those are the same things that we’re going to take out of the pandemic and have as changes in the nonprofit and fundraising world. What did I miss?

And do you agree with my predictions or not? And we’ll see if they come to pass. But, let me know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll be back next month with another mini-webinar.

About Jessica Cloud

With over 20 years of fundraising experience, Jessica has worked for the Starr King School for the Ministry, The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, The University of South Carolina, RuffaloCODY, and the Libertarian National Committee. As a consultant, Jessica provides her fundraising services to nonprofits and higher education organizations. You can find her at Real Deal Fundraising.

Jessica Cloud, CFRE, MA
Fundraising Success Coach