Dear AFPDC Colleagues,
Grief is a funny thing. That discomfort, mind racing, hard to focus feeling many of us are experiencing is actually grief making itself at home. As we enter week 4 of this new “normal” state of social distancing anxious over the uncertainty of the path and true severity of this pandemic, every one of us is grieving in some way. We grieve the loss of our old “normal” lives; the current economic toll on our nonprofits, on our own financial situations, on our community; the loss of face to face connection and interactions; and the safety of ourselves and our families and friends. There’s also anticipatory grief sneaking in there because we don’t know when this will all end and what our “new normal” lives will look like. Because, let’s face it, we are all fundamentally changed by all we’re experiencing.
Practice Self-Care First
So, first and foremost, remember it’s ok to practice more grace with ourselves and with each other giving permission to reset to a new way of living, working, and grieving. Last week we held a webinar, “Keeping Connected, Managing Teams, and Staying Grounded Through the COVID-19 Crisis” where our speakers Simone Shonenburger, SHRM-CP, Human Resources Director at American Rivers, and Jessica Ashburn, SHRM-SCP, MS, Senior HR Business Partner at NonprofitHR, provided tips on how to work remotely and maintain our team cultures. The recording is on our COVID-19 resource page
(under Information Collections on the bottom right) and I encourage you to give it a listen.
Lead With Gratitude
In addition to the technical advice and tips AFPDC is here to provide (which are listed below), I want us to find moments to celebrate. Please use our LinkedIn page, Facebook page,
or chapter community discussion page
to give a shout out to a friend or colleague who’s going above and beyond right now using the hashtag #AFPDCcelebrates. Let’s lift each other up and let gratitude lead us forward.
Confront the Brutal Facts—Keep Fundraising
At a time like this, I’m reminded of Admiral Jim Stockdale’s description of his coping mechanisms over the seven years he was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, Admiral Stockdale said, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
While our situation cannot compare to what Admiral Stockdale endured, the brutal facts of our reality are that many of our nonprofits and vendors are facing severe financial situations and we are all trying to remote work with unprecedented levels of stress and distractions. But even more troubling to me is that as I’ve been talking to other nonprofit experts and leaders over the last few weeks, I’ve seen two distinct responses. There are fundraisers and nonprofits going full steam ahead as their organizations pivot to meet increased needs resulting from COVID-19. And then there are fundraisers who are paralyzed. Unsure what to do next. Unsure how their nonprofit will weather this time. Unsure about their own job security. Unsure how to reshape fundraising at a time when their organization’s mission may seem unrelated to more urgent concerns.
Here’s what gives me hope: giving never stops. It didn’t even during the Great Depression when the country was in economic ruin. So, fundraising shouldn't either. That is what will carry us and our organizations to the other side.
Right now, our nonprofits need fundraisers like you more than ever. And, right now, our donors are looking to help. They’re looking to control what they can in a seemingly uncontrollable world. Giving gives them a sense of control. Now is the time to have honest conversations about your organization’s reality. Don’t assume your donors won’t contribute to you.
AFPDC Is Here For You
AFPDC is the place you can turn to for encouragement, advice, and resources to keep fundraising through
For now, all chapter events will remain virtual through the end of May. If the situation calls for us to extend this further, we will let you know. Continue to check our website for the calendar of events you can now attend from your desk, couch, deck, or wherever. Our next newsletter on Thursday will list some highlights for you.
Please reach out to me
directly if there is any other way AFPDC can support your fundraising.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep our nonprofit sector strong. Stay well and safe.