COVID-19 has changed the economy, the way people interact, and many other aspects of life. One thing it has not changed is the causes that nonprofits are championing. For Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana (RMHCCIN), it has not changed that many Indiana children are facing life threatening illnesses. Families are still seeking out necessary care and look to RMHCCIN to keep the family together and offer comfort while receiving care.
As nonprofit organizations persevere to support their causes, their need for funding and support are more essential than ever. The way nonprofits fundraise has been altered by COVID-19 and its effects. The changes from the pandemic have resulted in cancellations of in person events, temporary pauses and fewer volunteer programs, and struggles to find new ways of support in a time of financial hardship and social distancing rules.
RMHCCIN has pressed forward in this unique time to continue to support families throughout Indiana and have stood alongside other nonprofits who are finding new ways to support their purpose during this challenging time.
Find New Avenues of Fundraising
While annual galas, golf outings and other summer events are key fundraisers for RMHCCIN and so many other nonprofits, it does not stop the process of fundraising. This time gives organizations like ourselves a chance to get familiarized with new opportunities for fundraising virtually. The change in plans has led to creative virtual fundraising ideas like virtual walks/runs (5K’s, mini marathons, marathons), silent auctions, cooking lessons, movie/documentary viewing parties, galas, dance parties and so much more. While this may seem far-fetched due to logistics, there are plenty of software solutions that make the process simple.
- For live events: Zoom or Facebook Live
- For live auctions: Bidding for Good, One Cause, Silent Auction Pro, or qtego
- For virtual run/walks: Charity Footprints or Racery
- For crowdfunding or peer to peer fundraising: Charidy, CauseVox, DonateKindly, or everydayhero.
Keeping the Connection of Human Touch
One aspect that I see to be missing during this time is the lack of human touch and interaction. People crave human touch now more than ever due to the recent months of stay at home orders and social distancing that are still in place. While virtual fundraisers are a great way to bring people together, that human touch and collaboration makes fundraising events unique and attractive to those looking for ways to spend their spare time. Organizations can take any number of approaches to make their events collaborative and give them the human touch aspect. Some examples can include:
- Team structured fundraisers
- Social media takeover
- Live activity, like a canvas painting class
- Games tournament
- Peer to peer fundraising campaigns
Don’t Assume People Can’t Give
While COVID-19 has brought financial distress to many individuals, groups and businesses, there are still those looking to support nonprofits. It is our job in development to continue to ask for support and cultivate those relationships. If we simply assume and don’t ask, it takes the opportunity away from everyone.
Although the cycles of fundraising are ever changing, facing challenges during fundraising will always be a constant. This was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundraising often has peaks and valleys throughout the year, with the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas typically being the peak. Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, but Giving Tuesday Now was created this year to promote giving due to the economic hardships that have been experienced across the globe. The Giving Tuesday Now event on May 5 brought unforeseen fundraising opportunities around the world and showed how the fundraising landscape continues to evolve and present new opportunities.
Understand What Your Corporate Partners Might be Facing
While nonprofits like RMHCCIN are looking to generate funds now more than ever, we must understand the economic hardships that everyone is going through. Corporate sponsors are a large part of most organization’s fundraising efforts; now is a good time to be cognizant of what they may be facing as well. These partners may have to make challenging decisions of donating to long term nonprofit partners and using the funds to protect jobs. Showing support and understanding for these companies now will help the organization persevere and likely continue partnerships later in the future.