Advancing Philanthropy October 2020 - 58

Fundraising Through Crisis

Sometimes during crisis, you forget about yourself and the
team around you. Celebrate the wins. Celebrate the growth.
Celebrate the fact that you've learned something new.
the time to consider what will or will not work instead
of reacting to every changing moment. Ask yourself,
when was the last time you processed an organizational
assessment or a did a board and organizational audit
as it relates to equity? Are their diverse people and
perspectives represented throughout?
In this profession, when we think about people,
we think about 'Who are we serving?,' 'Who are our
donors/constituents?' and 'Who is our audience?' In many
instances, these are sometimes different people.
As fundraisers, it is our responsibility to know the
difference so we can craft a message (or fundraiser) that
speaks to the appropriate audience.
With times constantly changing, and as we continue
to see social injustices and civil unrest, we challenge
you and your creative brains to explore opportunities
that include different populations and demographics
who have often been ignored in your fundraising and
acquisition efforts. What do your fundraisers look
like? Are you, for lack of a better term, "preaching to
the choir"? How are you using your donor engagement
opportunities and fundraisers to attract new donors
and supporters without alienating your current ones?
Though it sounds so simple, we must do the work that
engages all people because one message may not
resonate with everyone.
Here is something important to remember: You
are present in this moment. Sometimes during crisis,
you forget about yourself and the team around you.
Celebrate the wins. Celebrate the growth. Celebrate
the fact that you've learned something new. Seek the
counsel of mental health professionals and others who
have weathered the storm. Burnout is real, and because
leaders and fundraisers are constantly planning for
what's next, you need to take time to reflect. Rest is
mandatory to restore order. Anxiety is at an all-time
high; get ahead by seeking out therapy and familial
support. Trust us, the time spent will save your life.
As nonprofit leaders and fundraisers, we desire to
lead with purpose and integrity. Now is the time to
speak honestly about your work and needs as the world

58	

Advancing Philanthropy	

has slowed down, and we become more attuned with
the ills of society. With the three P's-pivot, prioritize,
and people-at the forefront of your mind, you can
breathe better knowing that you gave this opportunity
the best of you. In the end, remember that you are not
an island, and you can't do it all. Give it your best shot
and do the next best thing.

Lenita Dunlap, MPA, MA, has more
than 20 years of service working
in educational and nonprofit
organizations that uplift and
empower young people and their
families. She specializes in working
teams through crisis and lifting
their awareness among various
stakeholders. As a fundraising, community development
and mental health expert, she combines research, policy
and expertise to empower teams and motivate and rally
partners. Currently a Ph.D. student and a nonprofit executive
coach and consultant, Lenita studies burnout of nonprofit
professionals to inspire leaders to slow down, breathe
and celebrate.

Shawn Wills, CFRE, currently serves
as vice president, operations and
strategy for the Women's Business
Council-Southwest. In this position,
Shawn is responsible for driving the
overall strategy for the organization,
as well as representing the council on
a local, regional and national level,
which includes overseeing all major fundraising initiatives.
Prior to this position, she served as senior vice president,
development at Texas Women's Foundation, and as the chief
development officer for CitySquare.

October 2020 / www.afpglobal.org


http://www.afpglobal.org

Advancing Philanthropy October 2020

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