COVID-19 Fundraising Risks & Opportunities

Well this is moving fast.

Just as they struggle to organise themselves to respond to the crisis, charities are grappling with understanding what the impact will be on their income. And if they will be able to continue to operate just at the point where they are needed most.

Do we know how this will affect charity income? No not yet, but there are some clear pointers.

Things which have happened already:

  • Any kind of non-virtual fundraising event. All stopped.
  • Charity shops. All closed or closing very soon.
  • All types of face to face fundraising. Stopped.

Pretty much everything else is under some kind of threat. Charities are very worried about regular giving. How many people are sitting now at home, not sure what their income is going to be over the next few months, reviewing all of their regular commitments? Same for weekly lotteries. What about companies in the same boat with their giving. Trusts worried about their asset losses?

On the other hand we are already seeing people and organisations starting to give to the crisis and my prediction is that this will soon become a deluge. People will want to do something and volunteering and acts of day to day altruism will explode. But not everyone can volunteer and giving is a practical way we can all respond. And we will and it will be big.

But charities can’t and shouldn’t expect this tsunami of generosity to automatically come their way. People are and will be giving to friends, acquaintances, the local traders, the emergency services…

They will support you if you are relevant in this current crisis. For most charities this shouldn’t be difficult, your beneficiaries are very likely to be the most disadvantaged and the most vulnerable, not necessarily to the virus but to its profound social and economic implications. We already have a mental health crisis for instance, how much worse will this make it?

And if you can make yourself relevant, there are obvious channels to reach current and existing supporters. Digital above all, but media consumption across traditional media is also likely to increase so TV, radio, mail and print media will all reach more people and get more attention than before. If you want advice on how to run an emergency appeal, read this.

To help charities understand and plan for the fundraising impacts of the crisis, I have created a very simple COVID 19 fundraising risks and opportunities planner to help you understand where your priorities ought to be.

It’s here. Use it if it helps.

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