Continuing a Non-profit Fundraising Campaign in Uncertain Times
Not for profit charities play a vital role in creating a fair and equal society. If organisations such as the Red Cross, WWF, RSPCA, NSPCC and Macmillian didn’t exist, humans and animals would suffer greatly.
For most charitable groups, fundraising is essential to remain in operation. While the government may offer grants, it’s public donations that ensure a not for profit organisation can continue to provide its services.
In recent times, the economic situation around the world has impacted charities and individuals. With many people worrying about their financial stability, it’s getting more difficult for organisations to fundraise.
Whether you’re a small group or a global charity, you’re probably feeling the impact of Covid-19.
In this post, we will discuss the possibility of continuing a non-profit fundraising campaign in uncertain times.
The Impact of Covid-19
It seems almost unreal that 18 months ago, we had no idea how our lives would change. While the Coronavirus pandemic originated in China, it quickly spread to other countries, leading many to close schools, shops and entertainment venues.
With many businesses having to shut down temporarily – and some permanently – not for profit organisations are perhaps one of the crisis’s biggest casualties.
In some cases, companies could switch to remote working, but individuals in the retail, manufacturing and hospitality industry face extended furloughs, and in many cases, a loss of employment.
An article published by This is Money shows the pandemic’s economical impact, and when we look at it, we can see why charities are struggling to stay afloat.
As more people worry about their financial situation, charities are losing a regular stream of donations. Perhaps the pandemic’s most worrying aspect is that not for profit organisations are needed more now than ever.
Should Non-profit Organisations Continue Fundraising?
It’s a question many organisations are asking themselves, and the short answer is: yes. You shouldn’t stop fundraising because you can still generate donations from the public.
While it’s likely that the donations you receive will be lower than they were before the pandemic, plenty of people will still be willing to offer financial support – as long as they know your work is essential.
A non-profit organisation has so many purposes, and you should still offer guidance and support during these difficult times.
For example, a current NHS campaign reminds people that if they have symptoms that could be confused with Covid-19 for more than three weeks, to see a GP. It could be lung cancer, so the helpful information will protect people from a potentially fatal disease and keep them alert.
Remember, you get what you give. While some people might not donate right now, if you remain a valuable point of contact and offer your audience resources, they will remember you and contribute when the economic situation improves.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to continue your fundraising efforts.
Understandably, you might feel worried about your organisation’s future during these uncertain times, but everyone’s going through the same thing. When people panic, they often make hasty decisions that can result in severe consequences.
The Wall Street Crash
Perhaps the best example of how panicking can make a situation worse is the Wall Street crash of 1929. Initially, people began purchasing stocks because they believed it was safer than banking.
When the market began to lose its value, people panicked and decided to sell their stocks. This resulted in others following suit and caused the stock market to crash, leading to the Great Depression.
If people had waited for the market to recover, they wouldn’t have lost their savings and ended up with nothing.
The moral of the story? Panicking causes more problems. Step back, take a deep breath and evaluate the situation.
If you stay strong and keep your goals in mind, you can survive this pandemic. People will recover – along with the economy – and when that happens, it’s going to be an excellent time to let the public know how you helped during Covid-19.
Stay in Touch
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, so imagine what you can accomplish with a board of people. You must keep your team together and hold remote meetings regularly.
During each meeting, you should check in with your team, assess the current situation and discuss any ideas to improve your fundraising campaign. You can achieve a lot by planning and making sure your campaign is adaptable to the changing restrictions.
Ask yourself and your team the following questions:
Will more people need our services?
Animal shelters, domestic abuse organisations and groups that support the elderly are just some of the charitable groups that will see a surge in people needing their support. It’s good to look at which areas of your charity will be most in demand.
For example, furloughs, hospitalisations and job losses mean many people cannot keep their beloved pets. In this case, an animal shelter would see a surge in unwanted animals. Domestic abuse helplines are also stretched as the lockdown makes abusive situations worse for victims.
What resources do we have to support people?
If you do have more people trying to access your service, it’s good to evaluate your resources and look at how many you can feasibly support.
Could we minimise our other services to focus on the most needed?
Most non-profit organisations offer many services, and if you can limit your spending on the less needed ones to focus on your essential branches, you can save a lot of money. Look at how many people are asking for support and get your team together to discuss your options.
Keep Your Donors Informed
Everyone’s going through a difficult time right now, and while you might not want to push your donors, it’s vital that you stay in touch with them and let them know what’s going on with your organisation.
You can send regular emails, texts and letters, so people know that you’re still active and need financial support. People might not be able to offer money, but they may be able to contribute their time.
For example, an animal shelter could ask its regular donors if they’d be willing to foster an unwanted pet. Domestic abuse helplines and groups that support the elderly could ask people to act as contact points for individuals who need emotional support and advice.
Don’t Stop Fundraising
It’s easy to see why some organisations become disheartened and cease fundraising efforts. People are less likely to donate when they have financial issues to consider. But the worst thing you could do is stop fundraising.
If you’ve been planning an extensive campaign for months, then you should continue it – but make changes to accommodate the lockdown restrictions. Virtual events are growing in popularity, and the pandemic means they’re essential for any organisation’s survival now.
You might need to alter your timelines and make your goals more realistic, but you can still find people that want to support your organisation.
Remember that while the pandemic is causing financial issues for many people, not all industries are suffering.
According to The Conversation, E-Commerce, pharmaceutical, and logistics companies are doing better due to the pandemic. If you alter your campaign to target people within these groups, then you might find more donors.
Show People You Care
Now more than ever is the time to show your donors and volunteers how grateful you are for their support. If you choose to send a thank you email, make sure you use their name and explain how their donation benefits others through your service.
Other ways to show your appreciation include a phone call, a presentation and arranging a thank you event for when the lockdown is over.
Don’t Be Afraid
Sometimes all you have to do is ask for help. Instead of sending out fancy letters and sales-focused campaigns, be honest to your donors and tell them that you need them. People might be preoccupied with other things and ignore your creative campaigns – but they’ll listen if you explain how difficult the pandemic is making things.
It’s important to remember that now isn’t the time to be proud, and you should try to appeal to people’s emotions.
Methods to Maximise Your Fundraising Success Rates
There are many ways you can maximise the number of donations you receive, and most are relatively simple to implement. Let’s take a look at some of the best techniques to apply to your fundraising campaign.
Make Sure Your Digital Presence is Strong
A solid digital presence involves using the internet and mobile technology to keep people informed and generate more donations. While many organisations have a website and use social media, they might not capitalise on its potential.
It would be best if you used this time to make sure your digital presence is strong. Focus on the following areas:
Website: Does your website immediately catch someone’s eye? Is the mission statement that defines what you do clear enough? Can people find where they need to donate? Fixing these issues will result in a better user experience, which means more donations.
Social Media: Your charities social media pages are an excellent way to reach a wider audience and increase your followers. But you need to make sure the page has vital information about your charity and makes it clear about who you are and what you do.
Email Marketing: Do you have an email list? If not, then now is the perfect time to collect addresses. Design and use a landing page magnet to collect people’s email addresses. You can find a great guide on promotional pages here.
Donation Pages: You likely use a donation platform such as Just Giving or Crowdfund. Check that your information is up to date, and you let people know about the support you need.
Use Easy Donation Methods
How do you collect donations from people? If it’s by payment forms, then you could be missing out on a lot of money. People are more concerned about their data, and many don’t like to fill out lengthy forms.
Cashless payments are gaining popularity because they offer convenience and can be completed with the click of a button. Cashless QR codes are an innovative way of giving and receiving payments. They’re also mutually beneficial for both donors and charities, so it’s easy to see why so many choose to implement them.
The payment system works by generating a unique code for each organisation – which they can place on websites, marketing materials, posters and even embed them into their emails. All people need to do is scan the code, then choose how much money they wish to donate.
The transaction fees are much lower than PayPal, Stripe and other payment systems, and cashless QR codes offer more security.
Utilise Facebook Groups
Facebook is one of the most useful social media platforms around. While Twitter offers many benefits and is ideal for increasing your exposure, Facebook connects people from all walks of life.
The group’s feature is handy for your charity because you can use the platform to stay in touch with your donors and volunteers.
Once you begin to attract more people, you can talk to them about your charity and create a strong sense of community.
According to Facebook, 1 billion people worldwide use groups, so you can imagine how beneficial it can be for businesses and non-profit organisations.
Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Name your group and choose the privacy level
Your group name will ideally match your organisation’s name because it will be easier for people to find you. Once you name your group, you can select the privacy level setting.
Most people prefer to join closed groups because they can post without worrying that their friends and family will see the content.
Secret groups mean other people don’t know it exists, so it will be up to you to invite people. If you want to keep in touch with your volunteers and team members, a secret group is a great way to do that.
Fill out the information
One of the best things about Facebook groups is you can define what you offer. For example, you can choose to buy and sell or support – which means you’ll attract the right people.
When you fill out the information, make sure you explain what your charity does and how it benefits others.
Grow your community
There are plenty of ways to grow your community, and you can choose the type of group atmosphere you’d like to create.
For example, if you run a charity for older people, you could advise how to access vital services.
Animal shelters can use Facebook groups for advertising animals up for adoption, which often results in members sharing the posts. The shelter reaches a larger community and can increase its adoption rates.
Ultimately, there is so much you can achieve with Facebook, and when you link the group to your charity page, you can build an active community of supporters.
Remember to offer helpful content and information. Many organisations use groups to ask for donations, and while that’s ok, you should provide an enjoyable and interactive experience for your members.
Move to Virtual Fundraising
The internet makes it easy for people around the world to stay connected, and you might be able to move your fundraiser online with few changes. Zoom is a video networking platform that enables people to interact in groups, attend webinars, join classes and contribute to fundraisers.
Silent auctions, sponsored activities, and classes are all ideal remote fundraisers, and you can engage your audience from the comfort of their home. By using Zoom for your fundraiser, you can send people a link which they can use to access the event.
Remote fundraising seems like a daunting prospect, but it’s relatively simple to implement with the right technology and a little planning. You might even find that once you get the hang of remote fundraisers, you combine them with physical events in the future.
Many believe the pandemic is moving us towards hybrid events that combine physical attendance with remote capabilities. More people will be able to attend, which could prove very beneficial for charities.
The major benefit of hosting a virtual fundraiser is it costs a lot less than in-person events. You don’t need to worry about catering or paying for a location, which means you can keep a higher percentage of the donations.
The Bottom Line
It’s clear that many charities are suffering due to the pandemic, but the most important thing is to continue with your fundraising efforts. The economy will recover, and people will go back to work – so don’t give up hope and show your audience that you’re still around and offering your services.
If you’d like to learn more about cashless donations using QR codes, Evershare.io has some excellent resources for charities. Whether you’re a nationwide organisation or a small group, implementing the innovative cashless payment system can generate more donations from a broader audience.