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Foundations seek out new opportunities during pandemic

As donors reel from economic downturn, organizations explore new funding sources and look to keep lines of communication open


Sept. 11, 2020
By Walt Williams

Association foundations are dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic just like their parent organizations. But with a good communications strategy and focus on identifying new funding sources, some are not only surviving but thriving.

The International Franchise Association Foundation represents an industry in which 75% of IFA members had to close businesses at least temporarily. The impact had the potential to be severe.

“Revenue just stopped for so many of them and, as a result, everything trickles down through that,” said Rikki Amos, managing director of the IFA Foundation.

Facing that reality, the foundation changed its approach to communicating with past donors because it did not want to ask for money at a time when many companies were short on revenue and laying off staff. The foundation instead asked the franchising community what it could do to help them during the economic downturn, and it allowed donors to give money on their own terms.

“Flexibility is key,” Amos said. “Most of them are telling us they want to continue with their pledges. They just need some flexibility from us on payment schedules or extending the terms of their donations.”

Tightening finances