The war in Ukraine has certainly captured the attention of donors both here in our community and across the globe. What does this mean for your organization? It’s actually a great opportunity to expand your dialogue with donors and potentially increase their support of your mission.

When you validate your donors’ overall philanthropic efforts, you are signaling that what they are doing–for your organization and for others–is making a difference. This, in turn, leads them to be more open-minded about ways they can support your organization, whether through annual giving or planned giving, or both.

As you meet with donors this spring about supporting your organization, ask them if they’re supporting Ukrainian relief efforts and, if they are, ask what’s motivating them. According to research reported in the Nonprofit Times, multiple factors are prompting Americans to donate to support war relief efforts. Top areas of concern are medical support, children’s issues, and short-term humanitarian aid. Supporting long-term needs is also a motivator, including focus areas such as rebuilding Ukraine, refugee support, mental health, and democracy. You will learn a lot by listening to your donors describe their own reasons for giving, providing clues for fostering deeper engagement with your work.

Indeed, conversations with donors about their support for Ukrainians opens the door for you to describe the needs you’re addressing right here at home. Ensuring access to education, providing social services, preserving important works of arts and culture, researching cures for diseases, or whatever your organization’s focus happens to be, there are strong parallels to the needs of humanity across the board. Many Ukrainians lack food, clothing, and shelter, for example, which unfortunately is also the case with some people in our community.

Furthermore, as your donors are making immediate gifts to support Ukrainian relief efforts and perhaps adjusting their annual giving budgets accordingly, it is a perfect time to discuss planned giving options. Your donors will want to ensure that your organization is prepared for whatever the future may bring, right here in our community.

Finally, with so much focus on Ukraine right now, understandably, your donors may have questions about making international gifts. The tax-deductibility of gifts to international organizations has long been the subject of complicated rules. Donors must navigate a web of laws and regulations, especially if a donor decides to venture into making direct grants to organizations in the affected region. For that reason, many donors choose to give to a United States 501(c)(3) organization that is working in the affected region. (Perhaps your organization is one of them!)

Please reach out us here at the Winona Community Foundation to help with these conversations. We are happy to work with you and your donors to navigate current and future giving opportunities, including establishing planned gifts and endowment gifts to support your mission for generations to come.