Philanthropy and COVID-19

The Hodge Group recognizes the need to rely on best practice and steady leadership during tumultuous times. That is why we wish to share with you some lessons learned from our experience practicing philanthropic fundraising during two prior significant economic events (9/11 and the Great Recession).

In dealing with COVID-19, known as the coronavirus, our first obligation is to follow the directions of the public health community and be vigilant when it comes to issues of health and safety. Moving beyond health concerns, though, questions remain on how the coronavirus and its impact on the economy will impact our communities.

Although no two crises are identical, we can learn from each. Looking at what was successful for the community post-9/11 and post-Great Recession, four points rise to the top for me:

  1. We stayed involved and engaged in the philanthropic life of donors and the community;
  2. We calibrated requests and appeals based on the immediate environment;
  3. We were transparent with information and communication;
  4. And finally, qe maintained relationships, activities, and everything else that demonstrated we were viable today and would be viable tomorrow.

During the Great Recession, those institutions that did not continue to maintain engaged relationships and simply stopped their activities fared very poorly after the dust had settled. Looking forward, we have an expanded set of relationship tools aimed at facilitating continued engagement with stakeholders, from enhanced CRMs to video-conferencing. These tools can help us not just maintain but build upon relationships with prospective and existing donors and clients.

The bottom line is that we must carry on our work with urgency, calibrating it to be responsive to threats posed by the coronavirus and the public’s response to it. As the important work of philanthropy continues, The Hodge Group stands ready to assist wherever we can.

Russ Hodge

Principal, The Hodge Group