3 Ways to Ask Supporters for Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brightly colored community mural

“My understanding is that we are generally a very philanthropic and compassionate people — that when there are disasters in the world, individual citizens send loads of money into appeals for different things.” Mark Rylance

The managers of some nonprofits are under the impression that with everyone navigating a new reality these days, people shouldn’t be asked to offer help through financial support.

But these managers are getting it wrong.

People want to help each other — especially during a crisis. In fact, the desire to help, which is deeply woven into our human nature, becomes even more active during times like these.

That makes this a great time to ask for help. And the more you reach out, the better you’ll get at it, and the more successful you’re likely to be.

Of course, anytime is a good time to ask people for help. As mentioned above, people like to help others. It makes them feel useful and respected. But now is an especially good time to request help because a lot of people are stuck at home and many of them are feeling quite helpless and disconnected. By asking for help, you provide them with a way to feel useful and part of a community… and you help fill up some of the excess time they have on their hands.

Additionally, many people, particularly those who are a bit older, may be thinking a bit more deeply about mortality and the meaning of their lives these days, which often leads to seeking out philanthropic outlets.

That is all well and good, but here’s your challenge: Obviously, due to laws instituted because of the virus, you can’t ask for the kinds of help that brings people together physically. For example, there can be no in-person group letter-signing or envelope-stuffing parties, no hosting events in their homes, and no helping with programs on site. But you can, and should, ask people to help with other things that don’t involve physical social interaction.

So, what we’ll look at today are three socially responsible ways you can ask people’s help for your clients’ charities and nonprofits. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to think of more creative, socially distant ways to solicit supporters for help.

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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