So far, 2020 has thrown a lot at nonprofits. This unprecedented year has been full of crisis, conflict, and budget crunching, and many social change organizations have had to scramble to pull together funds simply to keep their doors open. In Fundraising During A Crisis, a twelve-week course from Wright Consulting Group, Alyssa Wright and her team hope to arm nonprofit leaders with the skills they need to successfully raise funds in the midst of uncertainty.
“Fundraising During A Crisis is a online 12-week course that includes an analysis of the current philanthropic landscape, a check-in for fundraisers as to how they measure their success and who they want to become as purpose-driven professionals, and time to connect with guest speakers who you wouldn’t normally see as part of the development field,” says Wright, Founder of Wright Consulting Group. “It’s a really important program because it teaches nonprofit leaders how to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and also, what to value and how to measure their success during this very uncertain time.”
The 12-week course, starting on July 24th and meeting every other week on Fridays, focuses on the hurdles in front of nonprofits today. Courses focus on organizational culture and development strategy to shift the culture of organizations and execute smart fundraising strategies. The course will also feature connections with industry speakers, such as renowned storyteller and intersectional feminist Jamia Wilson.
“The definition we currently have for ‘success’ in our field, in and of itself, is rooted in the dominant culture and patriarchal thinking,” says Wright. “It’s not just about money, it’s about ensuring relationships and resources are all moving toward’s social change. Sometimes this results in a check and sometimes it results in a changed behavior or heart. As a development professional, I have come to value both in my work.”
“Since the pandemic hit, not a day goes by that our firm doesn’t receive an email from a nonprofit organization struggling to figure out what to do around its fundraising efforts,” Wright adds. “And with so much money going to direct services, as we are in a global health crisis, it’s been hard to talk about systems change with some funders. This moment has also woken our nation up to vast income inequality and now some funders want to talk about that. These times require development professionals to be good investigators and wise conversationalists, so they can understand the quick movements happening in philanthropy while also being able to listen, learn, and access the knowledge necessary to move donors toward a gift or grant. It’s an uncertain time, so we have to be smart, savvy, and prepared for whatever conversation we may find ourselves in. We also have to be okay with being vulnerable because there are many things we just do not know.”
Fundraising During A Crisis will be run through Wright Consulting Group, an organization that serves the changing needs of nonprofits.
“Wright Consulting Group is a network of womxn consultants who are committed to creating new, innovative fundraising practices that move us into new models and help womxn in the nonprofit sector feel supported and empowered to drive change from the fundraising seat,” says Wright. “We are so much more than event planners and database managers. We can actually create change as we fundraise for social change.”
Through the course, Wright and her team hope to empower other womxn fundraisers and nonprofit organizers to work toward social change while supporting their organizations and their communities.
Throughout the course, participants will receive:
- A comprehensive toolkit on how to design, execute, and raise $5,000 or more from virtual events
- Scripts and draft emails for communicating with funders during and after a crisis
- Access to (2) case studies from organizations who have fundraised during a crisis
- Access to a network of over 25 other seasoned development professionals
- (3) personal, monthly 30-minute sessions with a Wright Consulting Group consultant to discuss the exact needs of the participant’s organization
- A certificate from Wright Consulting Group in Crisis Fundraising and access to quarterly resource newsletters filled with free tools, tips, and funding opportunities
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, many organizations are taking the time to re-examine their internal structures and cultures. Wright and her team see this as an opportunity.
“It’s not enough to just have a well-organized database, execute a few inspired events, and capture donations and grants that meet your budget,” she explains. “We need to re-imagine the fundraising seat–as one we can sit in and actually be a part of mission-making from–as we talk to donors about racial equity, gender justice, and many other social justice topics. I want attendees to get tools that help them access and use their power to move this all forward into the coming year because, perhaps, in some odd way, this pandemic has gifted us the time to think about it and actually get traction on changing it.”
Part of the inspiration for the course comes from Wright’s own experiences as a fundraiser for various women’s rights organizations.
“I found myself in many conversations, being asked to give up my power in order to raise money for the cause–yet our mission was all about empowering women,” she says. “I felt a real tension in my everyday work as a development professional and eventually, I just said, ‘Forget this. I’m not giving up my power anymore.’ That was when I began to talk about the need for support for womxn fundraisers, not only amongst my nonprofit colleagues but amongst women donors as well.”
Fundraising During A Crisis is also inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Wright Consulting Group traditionally donates 15-20% of its annual revenue to a social justice cause. In the same giving spirit, Wright Consulting Group will donate 10% of proceeds from the course’s registration fees to Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
“With the current unrest in our nation, and because our team is mostly white, we feel it is important to stand in solidarity and give all we can financially to a timely cause,” Wright says. “We choose Color of Change because they are working to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back across the nation. Most recently, they organized 45,000 of their members publicly to stand up for justice for Breonna Taylor, and it resulted in the FBI finally investigating her murder. This work is really important to us and should be to anyone with social justice values.”
Wright encourages other nonprofit leaders to take a strong stance for social justice.
“We also want to take more risks,” she says. “I actually received an email this week indicating I might be doing so. I had someone email me and say they aren’t registering for our course because we are being political and we should exist to help any nonprofit. As a small business owner, that scares me and puts my livelihood on the line. But as a white woman, I know I need to do more of this risk-taking if I really, truly care about seeing change.”
Registration is now open for Fundraising During A Crisis. Sessions begin on July 24th, so be sure to sign up before seats are full!
About Alyssa Wright: Having spent time as a human rights activist in Eastern Europe and East Africa, Alyssa brings over a decade of experience in international philanthropy to Wright Consulting Group. As an accomplished facilitator, consultant, and coach, she helps organizations build new revenue streams, shift to a Culture of Philanthropy, and come to believe that change is possible–no matter what. She has trained over 100 boards, from Malawi to Maine, to fulfill and fund their missions, resulting in over $10,000,000 in new and increased giving for social change. A 2017 TEDx speaker, Alyssa speaks to motivate individuals and organizations alike to become powerful agents of change. Alyssa is a regular contributor to Forbes, Global Giving, and Network for Good, and is a powerful Millennial voice in the social change movement.
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