Posts tagged ‘coronavirus’

April 1, 2020

Stress Relief for Fundraisers: A Special Webinar for You

Help is on the way!

In the best of times, we all experience occasional stress. Sometimes, it’s personal stress. Sometimes, it’s professional stress. Sometimes, it’s both. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, we are all dealing with a massive, new level of tension.

Most of us are working from home, many for the first time. We don’t go out much. We have personal financial concerns. We have loved ones we worry about and care for. We have anxiety about our own health.

Fundraising professionals are also concerned about continuing to raise the vital resources to help nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions, now more important than ever. As you know, we shoulder a tremendous burden.

If giving into stress were helpful, that would be fine. Unfortunately, stress itself is corrosive. It drains our energy. It erodes our immune system. Stress causes physiological and psychological damage. It makes us less pleasant to be around. It makes us less able to care for others.

To help you cope more effectively with the stress in your life, I’m hosting a special webinar for fundraising and nonprofit professionals:

Stress Relief for Fundraisers

Date: Monday, April 6, 2020, 4:00-5:00 pm (EDT)

Expert Instructor: Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, ERYT500, MFA

Requested Donation: This is a donation-based webinar. Any contribution amount from $1 to $100 will grant you access. The suggested amount is $20. Your donation will help Michelle to continue to provide services for people living with cancer and chronic diseases at little to no cost.

Platform: This class will happen via Zoom. The link for joining will be sent 15 minutes before the session. Registration will end 15 minutes before the session.

You’ll Learn: Discover practices for managing stress in difficult times:

        • Learn simple breathing techniques to ward off anxiety
        • Get grounded in your body through simple movements
        • Quiet your mind with concentration practices
        • Cultivate a framework for seeing what’s really here

Register Now: Click here to register for this webinar at Eventbrite.

Despite the challenges we face, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. Let’s start by integrating some helpful practices for managing stress. Join me in this one-hour class on stress reduction. When you take some time to take better care of yourself, you’ll be in a much better position to take care of others.

While the webinar will provide a number of techniques for coping with stress, I want to give you one simple technique right now.

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March 20, 2020

Free Webinar: Get Fundraising Tips in the Time of COVID-19

[GOOD NEWS UPDATE (March 21, 2020): If you attempted to register for my free webinar with the AFP Greater Philadelphia Chapter, you may not have been able to do so as the program was immediately over-subscribed. However, AFP-GPC has increased capacity to accommodate more participants. Please try to register now by clicking here. I apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.]

[UPDATE (March 20, 2020): Based on how quickly my free webinar became over-subscribed, I realize that there is a massive need for information about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the nonprofit sector and what we can do about it. If your charity or professional association wants to deliver an online training program on this, or any other subject, please contact me. Together, we’ll get through this.]

Join me for a free webinar hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter and sponsored by Merkle Response Management Group. During the program, I’ll outline 12 ways coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect your nonprofit organization. I’ll also share powerful, practical tips for coping with the current fundraising environment. In addition, you’ll get 10 useful survival tips to keep you, your colleagues, and your loved ones safe during this challenging time.

The webinar is free of charge and open to fundraising professionals and nonprofit managers and senior volunteer leadership everywhere. Here’s what you need to know:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Ways It Will Affect You and Your Fundraising Efforts

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM (EDT)

You’ll Get:

      • Insights about key ways fundraising efforts will be affected by COVID-19.
      • Tips for keeping yourself, colleagues, and loved ones safe.
      • Bonus materials.

Click here to register now.

Each day, you and I are confronted by new information concerning the spread of the coronavirus and the related implications. It’s a lot to keep up with. Yet, we must for ourselves, our loved ones, and our organizations upon which so many depend. We try to stay on top of the story, but it’s an incredibly fluid situation. Then, there are the nagging questions we ask ourselves or the CEO asks or a board member asks, including:

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March 18, 2020

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed? Take a Moment for YOU.

With life comes stress. With coronavirus comes much more stress.

When times get more challenging, we need to be especially careful to take care of ourselves. If we don’t take proper care of ourselves, we’ll be in no condition to help others. We need to practice self-care to ensure both our physical and mental wellbeing.

Knowing that, my wife and I went for a long walk to get out of the house and away from the depressing, on-going news about coronavirus (COVID-19). We wanted to clear our heads, relax, gain some perspective, escape a bit.

While on our walk, we came across some daffodils. The sight reminded me of a poem I enjoy reading every springtime. We appreciated our break, and felt recharged. Based on the initial responses I received when I mentioned this on LinkedIn, I decided to share the poem, and a photo I took, to give you a bit of break from all the news, too. I hope you enjoy them.

I also hope you take the time to take care of yourself. Eat right. Exercise. Meditate. Phone friends. Go for a walk. Do whatever works for you. The coronavirus situation will not end in a week or two. The crisis will likely last for months with the economic ramifications felt even longer. We’re in a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of yourself. Pace yourself.

Okay, enough preaching. I hope you enjoy the poem and the above photo:

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March 13, 2020

AFP Cancels Its In-Person International Conference

The Association of Fundraising Professionals has announced the cancelation of the in-person experience for its upcoming International Conference. However, AFP ICON VIRTUAL will still go ahead. Mike Geiger, President and CEO of AFP, issued a statement on March 12, 2020 that, in part, says:

The situation regarding COVID-19, the coronavirus, has changed dramatically. With Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement today of the executive order prohibiting gatherings and events over 250 people, we have canceled the in-person experience of AFP ICON 2020. However, despite the announcement, we have plans in place and AFP ICON VIRTUAL will continue on schedule.

In fact, we are looking at ways to expand the VIRTUAL experience to make up for the lack of the in-person event, including how to best integrate more education and networking aspects into AFP ICON VIRTUAL. If you are registered for AFP ICON 2020 and have not yet transferred or canceled your registration, you have four (4) options.

  1. Transfer your registration to AFP ICON VIRTUAL. You can learn more about AFP ICON VIRTUAL at afpicon.com/virtual.
  2. Transfer your registration to AFP ICON 2021, April 18-20 in Minneapolis, Minn.
  3. Cancel your registration for a full refund.

If you are contemplating canceling your registration, we invite you to consider the fourth option of donating part or all of your conference registration fee to the AFP Foundations for Philanthropy. This would be a tax-deductible donation. To donate, simply email foundation [at] afpglobal.org by March 31, 2020, stating your intended donation amount.

I’m sorry we won’t be able to offer the full AFP ICON 2020 at this time, because the education and networking experience in-person is always exciting, unique and inspiring.

The AFP community is a strong one, and I know we all remain dedicated to our causes. Thank you for your patience, and I commit to you that we’ll continue to look for ways to offer education and training this year that will help you advance your cause.”

To read Geiger’s full statement, which includes relevant contact information, click here.

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March 12, 2020

Worried about Going to AFP ICON? Now You Can Attend Online!

[BREAKING NEWS (March 12, 2020): The AFP ICON in-person experience has been canceled. The AFP ICON VIRTUAL will still take place. Learn more by clicking here.]

The World Health Organization declares that the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a pandemic. Nonprofit organizations around the world are beginning to limit non-essential travel, events, and even routine group interactions (e.g., sporting events, performances, classes, visitation, etc.). As the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference draws near, Mike Geiger, AFP President and CEO, continues to closely monitor the evolving situation.

With the AFP ICON scheduled for March 29-31, the organization issued two recent announcements:

  1. At this point, the conference will open as planned in Baltimore, MD. Both AFP and the Convention Center are taking precautions. You can learn more by clicking here.
  2. If you cannot or do not want to attend the AFP ICON in-person, you now have the option of participating online.

“AFP knows it’s not a normal time—and your organization may have placed a ban or restriction on your travel, or perhaps you’re unsure and concerned about traveling. But you still need to learn and develop your skills and be inspired by extraordinary speakers from around the world. You still need what AFP ICON can offer, which is why we’re offering AFP ICON VIRTUAL, your online fundraising conference,” says AFP.

Registrants for AFP ICON VIRTUAL will receive:

  • Three days of AFP ICON sessions — that’s 9 different education sessions — featuring some of the best content and speakers that AFP ICON has to offer—and each one video-recorded so you can also watch them at your leisure;
  • Q&A participation to help you get involved as if you were with us in Baltimore;
  • Access to bonus materials including new live content, webinars and micro-learning videos in between education and plenary sessions;
  • Keynote sessions with activist Zainab Salbi and Chef José Andrés; and
  • Audio recordings of EVERY breakout education session offered at AFP ICON, so you still get all of the training you need to be an effective fundraiser!

The registration fee for AFP ICON VIRTUAL is $1,249 for AFP members or  $1,499 for non-members. If you have already registered to attend the conference in Baltimore, AFP permits you to convert your registration to AFP ICON VIRTUAL if you choose.

There are a number of benefits to attending AFP ICON VIRTUAL:

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March 6, 2020

How will Coronavirus Affect Your Fundraising Efforts?

Coronavirus is spreading with profound implications for the nonprofit sector. As I write this post, there have been 98,088 global documented cases of COVID-19 resulting in 3,356 deaths.

This is my third post about coronavirus. Previously, I looked at how you can keep yourself and your colleagues healthy, and I have written about what the Association of Fundraising Professionals is doing to ensure a safe, successful International Conference later this month.

Now, I want to look at some of the ways the advance of COVID-19 might affect your fundraising efforts. Most of the points were shared with me by Ken Wyman, a Canadian-based consultant and Professor Emeritus from the Fundraising Management graduate program at Humber College. I thank Ken for generously sharing his insights.

While there is no reason for you to panic, you and your nonprofit organization should prepare for what is happening and what could happen. To help you with your planning, here is a list of just 17 ways your fundraising efforts could be affected:

1. Special events may need to be canceled. Already, the American Physical Society canceled its annual conference; the Global Health Conference has been canceled; the American Bar Association canceled its National Institute on White Collar Crime; Chicago State University has canceled some basketball games; and other nonprofit and for-profit events have been canceled. You might need to cancel certain events out of real health concerns or because attendance would be low because of fear.

2. Staff and volunteers may need to work from home, and/or take sick days. Sick people should stay out of the office rather than come in and risk infecting colleagues. Not only will this protect people from coronavirus, but it will also protect them from many other illnesses as well. To allow for this, your organization might need to revise its policies and procedures.

3. Donors may value your health-related projects more. If your nonprofit is a healthcare organization or a charity that offers health-related programs, you may find greater donor interest in your services. Be sure to let people know how your organization is responding to the current health situation.

4. Corporate donations may go down as profits and stock markets decline. The US stock market has seen several days of sharp decline and extreme volatility. Leading economists anticipate a global reduction in Gross Domestic Product because of COVID-19. A decline in corporate profits will likely result in a decrease in corporate giving. When appealing to corporations, be sure to demonstrate how giving to your organization will deliver value to the corporation.

5. Don’t lick envelopes for thank-you cards. Eww! The same goes for any correspondence you mail. Instead, for high-volume mailings, automate the process; for low-volume mailings, use a damp sponge or paper towel to moisten envelopes. The bonus is that you won’t risk getting a paper cut on your tongue.

6. This is a good time to remind donors about gifts in their Wills. A gift in a Will is a great way for someone to support their favorite charities when they might not be able or willing to do so with a current cash gift.

7. Isolated lonely donors may welcome phone calls. As people start spending more time at home rather than risking a trip out in public, some will begin to feel isolated. These supporters will appreciate a phone call from you even more than ever. Call donors to thank them, update them about a program, survey them, etc.

8. Virtual board meetings are less infectious and better for the environment. Instead of gathering your board members around a conference table, you can host a virtual board meeting. You have a number of technology options to accomplish this ranging from a simple conference call to a video meeting. The bonus is that using technology will reduce greenhouse gases as board members will not have to drive or fly to the meeting.

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March 4, 2020

Is the AFP International Conference in Jeopardy?

[BREAKING NEWS (March 12, 2020): The AFP ICON in-person experience has been canceled. The AFP ICON VIRTUAL will still take place. Learn more by clicking here.]

[UPDATE (March 16, 2020): The Association of Fundraising Professionals has announced the schedule for the AFP ICON VIRTUAL while slashing the price. The cost is now $799 (members) and $999 (non-members). You can review the schedule, discover the extras included with registration, and learn how to register by clicking here.]

Will thousands of fundraising professionals from around the world have their plans derailed by the coronavirus (COVID-19)? With the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference scheduled to run from March 29 – 31, in Baltimore, MD, it’s natural for people to have concerns.

As I write this post, there have been 95,481 global documented cases of COVID-19 resulting in 3,285 deaths. Business supply chains have been interrupted. The stock market has fallen significantly. Airlines have canceled flights. Governments have imposed quarantines and travel restrictions. The World Health Organization says that the spread of coronavirus could lead to an international pandemic.

While the threat from coronavirus is real, we need to keep it in perspective. For example, influenza has resulted in over 18,000 deaths in the US this flu season alone compared to 11 deaths resulting from coronavirus.

I’m not being dismissive about the threat from coronavirus. I’m just suggesting we need to prepare rather than panic.

That is exactly AFP’s perspective.

Mike Geiger, AFP President and CEO, announced the show will go on:

AFP ICON 2020 in Baltimore is ready to go, featuring over 100 educational sessions, two amazing keynote speakers and plenty of networking opportunities for you to see old friends and make new ones.”

While Geiger looks forward to welcoming thousands of fundraisers to Baltimore, he remains focused on the health, safety, and comfort of all participants. Underscoring this, Geiger issued a statement saying:

  1. We have been in contact with the Baltimore City Health Department to let them know of our conference and open lines of communications.
  2. We have been in discussions with visitors’ bureaus, health professionals and other associations to gain an understanding of the true travel and health environments across North America and around the world.
  3. We continue to monitor announcements and updates from the US Department of Labor and the Centers for Disease Control and will take our guidance from them and other key agencies.
  4. At AFP ICON, we will institute the following policies and procedures:
    • We are encouraging participants to make AFP ICON a “handshake-free” meeting.
    • We will be providing hand sanitizers and recommending hand washing as much as possible.
    • We will have a medical office onsite in case participants are feeling unwell and would like medical guidance.
    • The Baltimore Convention Center is increasing the amount of hand sanitizing stations that are available throughout the facility and taking a pro-active approach to cleaning the facility every day.

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February 28, 2020

Coronavirus: 20 Survival Tips for You and Your Charity

When you and your staff and colleagues are healthy, you’ll all be better able to raise more money for your charity and help those your nonprofit organization serves. Unfortunately, the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) threatens both our physical and mental health. So, to reduce your stress level and help keep you physically healthy, I want to share 20 useful survival tips with you.

However, before I share those important tips, I want to acknowledge that it has been several weeks since I’ve posted. In a future post, I’ll explain the reasons for my break. For now, I just want to thank you for your patience and for continuing to be a loyal reader.

Okay, here are 20 things you can do to protect yourself, and folks you care about, from coronavirus (and other viruses):

Tip 1: Do NOT be stupid. A survey by 5WPR found that 38 percent of American beer drinkers will not buy Corona beer, supposedly in part, because of fear it is linked to the virus. However, many of those surveyed never consumed Corona beer in the first place. So, let’s look at what Corona drinkers said. Among those who drink Corona, the survey found that four percent would no longer drink the product at all while 14 percent said they would not do so in public. To be clear, Corona beer and the coronavirus have nothing to do with one another. My friend Linda Lysakowski jokingly suggested that people might also have been afraid of Lyme Disease since Corona beer is often consumed with a lime wedge; again, one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. It’s important that we think clearly under normal circumstances; it’s especially critical now.

Tip 2: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash them often. Not only will this help protect you from coronavirus, washing will also protect you from other viruses including the common cold, norovirus, and flu.

Coronavirus image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tip 3: Hand sanitizers are good at killing bacteria. But, they do NOT kill all viruses. Don’t rely on them. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Tip 4: Stop shaking hands when you greet people. Instead, fist bump, elbow bump, nod, or bow. This will help protect you and the other person from any number of infections including coronavirus. Refusing to shake hands is not rude. Instead, it’s being caring and considerate. Remember, people can be contagious without exhibiting any symptoms themselves.

Tip 5: If you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue and then through away the tissue. Then, wash your hands. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.

Tip 6: Clean the surfaces of commonly used or touched objects and surfaces. For example, clean your cell phone with an alcohol wipe periodically. Wipe down your computer keyboard with a sanitizing wipe. Do the same with office and home doorknobs. You get the idea.

Tip 7: If you are sick, stay home. Whether you have coronavirus, a cold, or the flu, stay home so you won’t infect co-workers or the general public. As a manager, do not reward sick people for coming to work while punishing sick people for staying home. Years ago at my company, we had a new manager who came to us from billionaire Ross Perot’s company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS). She encouraged us to change our sick-day policy which granted staff a limited number of use-it-or-lose-it sick time. Instead, she proposed we adopt the EDS policy of unlimited sick time. While I was skeptical, we tried it. The result was that our employee absenteeism rate plummeted. The primary reason the policy worked was that it encouraged ill people to remain home rather than come into the office where they would infect colleagues.

Tip 8: Whenever possible, use the self-checkout at stores. Cashiers can help spread disease through their interactions with multiple people.

Tip 9: Avoid touching your face. Viruses on your hands can be transferred to your nose, mouth, or eyes and infect you. This is more difficult than you’d expect. We touch our faces surprisingly often during the course of a day. Minimizing face touching takes practice.

Tip 10: Minimize use of air travel, cruise travel, and public transportation. A number of large companies have banned non-essential travel. As I sat down to write this piece, the latest company to announce this step was J.P. Morgan. Airlines are already seeing a drop in ticketing and, therefore, are canceling flights.

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