Fundraising in the Time of COVID-19

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Kelly Loose in Fundraising and Grants, Nonprofit Compliance.
Fundraising in the Time of Covid 19

Why nonprofits shouldn’t panic about fundraising during the global pandemic.

The world has been struggling to find a safe new normal as we enter the half-year marker of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many industries have faced unprecedented challenges trying to protect workers and maintain a sense of normalcy. Nonprofit organizations are concerned there will be a dramatic decrease in giving due to the economic uncertainty many people are facing. 

While nonprofits have largely canceled in-person events due to concerns of COVID-19 exposure, that doesn’t mean that they are no longer receiving any donations. Many nonprofits have been quick to adopt technology and strategies to replace those funding sources. In fact, evidence suggests that charitable giving has increased. There are a lot of great resources available for nonprofits, from resources for funding to tools for remote events. Let’s take a look at the state of giving and how you can keep donations coming so you can continue your work. 

Charitable Giving Shows Promise as the COVID-19 Pandemic Continues 

It’s only natural for your organization to be worried about fundraising during a pandemic. If people lose their jobs or face economic uncertainty, one might expect that the first thing to disappear from budgets is charitable giving. However, according to a recent survey conducted by Fidelity Charitable, that might not be the case. 

After surveying regular charitable supporters about how the pandemic might affect their charitable giving and volunteering behaviors, they received some exciting responses. 

When asked, “In 2020, what do you anticipate will happen to the amount you usually donate to nonprofit organizations as a result of COVID-19?”  The response was: 

  • 54 percent of regular donors plan to donate the same amount
  • 25 percent of donors will actually donate more 
  • 12 percent of donors aren’t sure 
  • Only 9 percent of donors plan to donate less 

The results of this survey are cause for hope for organizations that are concerned about charitable giving for the rest of the year. While volunteering is down overall due to safety concerns, there is still a multigenerational group of donors who plan to continue giving just as much as they did prior to the outbreak. Those who said they would donate more often noted that they felt compelled to give because of the need created by COVID-19. It’s possible that because it can be more challenging to donate time because of the risk of the disease, people are more willing to donate money. 

Online Fundraising is Key

With many places implementing strict social distancing guidelines, it is no surprise that people are spending more time online than ever before. If your nonprofit wants to maintain or even increase charitable donations, you need to meet donors where they are; online. 

Online fundraising platforms make it simpler for your donors to give and make recurring donations to support your mission. Soliciting donations online allows you to reach a greater number of people. But before you begin asking for donations online, you need to ensure you are following state charitable solicitation laws

Registering to Solicit is Your License to Earn Donations

Generally speaking, solicitation is defined as the act of asking for donations, regardless of the method or whether or not you receive a donation. This means that asking for donations on social media or having a “donate now” button on your site can constitute a solicitation.

There are two clear paths to achieving proactive fundraising compliance. The first path many nonprofits take is to register nationwide in order to capture the biggest opportunity. The other viable option is to only solicit in states where your nonprofit is registered to fundraise. 

Online Fundraising Compliance Guide What you need to know to fundraise online with confidence. Download for free

Carefully Plan But Stay Optimistic

It is natural to be overly cautious when facing uncertain times. It is wise for nonprofits to act carefully and make fiscally responsible decisions. But while you are making those decisions, be sure to take full advantage of online giving. Donors are still willing to lend a helping hand, so find new ways to meet them. If you do, there is a good chance your organization will come out of this ordeal stronger than ever. 


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