Nonprofit Fundraising Amidst a Pandemic

By Oscar Boccelli

 

COVID-19 has shaken our world to its core, leaving people everywhere unsure of what the future holds. It has had an especially negative impact on nonprofits, unsure of where to acquire funding in a remote setting. Given the circumstances, it is apparent that anyone looking to fundraise amidst the pandemic should be adaptable to the circumstances and approach their donors with empathy.


Being adaptable is about adjusting what one would do normally to a virtual setting. As cited by Elizabeth Abel from CCS Fundraising, “31% of nonprofits indicated their organization held an online fundraising event. That figure jumped to 44% by September” (Ccsfundraising.com, 2021). Rather than shutting down completely, it is better to embrace the circumstances and make the most out of what is available. Jesenia Latorre, Manager of Youth Centered Initiatives at SGA Youth & Family Services, agrees, arguing that “one has to be patient in the nonprofit world.” Patience and adaptability are essential for nonprofits if they want to move forward and surmount the obstacles presented by the pandemic.


Aside from being adaptable, nonprofits looking to fundraise also need to approach their donors with empathy. As discussed by Alan Cantor from the Harvard Business Review, “successful requests for charitable donations will need to be embedded in a larger expression of mutual support, empathy, and solidarity. This approach should not be temporary” (Hbr.org, 2020). Instead of being so concerned with acquiring donations, nonprofits should come from a place of understanding. Otherwise, one can ruin the relationship they were looking to establish with their donor. Allyson Zak, Director of Philanthropy at Cedarfield recognized that her donors were in “survival mode,” and therefore didn’t ask for money when the pandemic was in its prime. Later on, simply “regularly checking in on her donors in combination with a Covid Heroes Campaign raised $14,000.” When all is said and done, nonprofits should be patient and adaptable amidst the circumstances, as it will allow them to maintain connections with their donors.