Risk Equals Reward

Heather addresses 3 of the main questions she has received from nonprofit organizations across the US since the pandemic hit.


Hi everybody. Heather Frank, President of STUDIO 4Forty. I wanted to come on today and address a couple of the questions we’ve been getting nationally from a lot of our partners.  

“What do we do with events and virtual fundraising?”

Many of you, I know, have had to make the hard decision to postpone, cancel, or reschedule your spring galas, fundraisers, gold tournaments, and right now the fiscal and financial impact is probably devastating. There is a lot of concern of the unknown on virtual fundraising. We knew at some point it was going to sneak up on us, we just didn’t expect it to happen this fast. So, top three questions and concerns regarding virtual events:

  1. “Will my donors come along and participate?”

Yes! The answer is yes. If anything, we are seeing a higher percentage of donor participation and reengagement of donors who have not participated within these organizations for years. This is the perfect opportunity to expand outside of your usual attendees and really reengage and re-cultivate with donors who have at some point been champions of your organization. 

  1. The second question we’re getting right now. “Financially, what if we don’t hit the numbers that we hit with our galas or our gold tournaments?”

The expectation is at this time is that something is better than nothing. We are seeing huge returns. We’re seeing gross numbers fall dramatically, and net numbers increase. I would realign your budgets with clear expectations. Put revenue first. Entertainment and incentive definitely needs to be a factor as we think virtual, but remember, we are “fund with a d” – raisers, and we want to encourage them with fun, but we also want to know that our call to action is our priority right now within our communities. 

  1. And the last question we’re getting right now is, “What if we fail?”

I promise you, you have nothing to lose by trying. It is the people that are leaning in to the idea of doing things differently, understanding that what we know about fundraising is different right now, and virtual events is part of the unknown, BUT if you embrace it, you lean into it, and you take on the challenge, the risk outweighs [equals] the reward.

I promise you, your donors are there for you, they want to support you, I know, I know, they believe in what you are doing in your communities, so keep doing it.