We are now about three weeks into the Coronavirus crisis in the UK. Dust is beginning to settle, and we are getting some idea about what is becoming the new normal. For our third sector partners who we work with, we have seen a recent surge in emergency campaigns. And we have helped these charities in their time of need, with their donation processing, banking and thanking needs.
British Red Cross is well versed at launching and delivering, at speed, emergency campaigns. But they were one of the first to outsource their response forms to us, which is usually done in-house. Upon receipt of the replies, we open the business response envelopes (BRE), we scan the donation forms and process the donations. We continue to support our clients at this time and have deployed our own emergency continuity processes in order to deliver our services.
So, with major events cancelled and other income-generating activities, such as face-to-face fundraising suspended, many charities we work with are investing in direct mail, TV, newspaper inserts and door drops. In fact, many direct mail specialists believe that with substantially more people at home than usual currently, it is likely that engagement with mail will increase even more during this period.
Mosaic operates an omnichannel response operation that is technology-led. This means that we also have a bank of call centre staff located safely at home to respond to donors wanting to give over the phone. We are ISO, PCI and Cyber Essentials accredited meaning we remain secure whilst we operate in this way. We also have a digital print solution, that means we can also thank, as well as bank – and quickly!
As an end-to-end back-office solution, we have seen many of our clients requesting our services to process their general business post, including Macmillan and WaterAid. So, whilst head offices in London close, our rural location near York allows us to operate safely, adhering to the safe distancing measures and we can scan and upload general mail to either SecureFTP or our proprietary Image Acquirer throughout this crisis.
Whilst the amount of fundraising advice in relation to the Coronavirus has ballooned in recent days, at Mosaic we are now seeing the impact of live campaigns. We have been asked a variety of questions, which include:
“What happens if people can’t get to the post box?”
You can still use donation forms and response envelopes where government guidance still allows people to leave their homes. They also act as a reminder that a response is wanted. We do however, suggest that in all communications you give donors the choice to give online where possible. But remember, you can still thank with us, using our print facility.
Read our article here about banking and thanking.
“Should I ignore this whole thing, and carry on fundraising as normal?”
This is a global pandemic and it’s affecting all our lives in unprecedented ways. So, we should not ignore it and DM, Digital, and even TV should acknowledge the crisis and show how your organisation is mitigating the impact of the virus, how you are helping your beneficiaries and dealing with the impact of increased demand against the pressure of cancelled public fundraising events.
“Do I pull, or delay an appeal / campaign? I am worried?”
Unless there is a very special reason, we’d advise you to go ahead, but, if you’re about to send out a DM pack, we’d make three suggestions:
- Add a lift letter or stop press insert as a low-cost last-minute addition to explain what you are doing in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Adapt your donation form to capture email addresses and telephone numbers (along with relevant permissions), explaining that they are important communication channels should mail services be interrupted.
- Consider an option to give a regular/monthly gift to last the duration of the pandemic.
“Won’t supporters be worried about their jobs and finances?”
Yes, maybe so you need to be respectful. Acknowledge that this is an uncertain time for many people and go out of your way to let them know that they should only help if they are able. Whilst usual prompt boxes are still okay to use, be clear that you will be grateful for anything your supporters feel able to give at this time.