Top tips for charity fundraising during COVID-19 and beyond

All areas of the charity sector have been impacted by COVID-19, with fundraising becoming an increasing concern for many.

These top tips have been developed to offer suggestions of steps your charity can take during this challenging time. Difficult lessons learned during the height of COVID-19 also provide an opportunity for your charity to enhance its fundraising and resilience. 

Continue to fundraise! Many charities, especially those not on the front line tackling the effects of COVID-19, may feel apprehensive about asking for donations during the crisis. However, we have seen that people are willing and ready to step up to support the causes they care about.

Communicate regularly with existing donors. Being transparent and proactive in your communications with donors is key during uncertain times. Regularly update your donors as communities come back together and your organization looks ahead. This could be different to the usual ways you keep your donors informed, for example, special email updates, newsletters or virtual events.

Create the right message by making sure that you have a clear case for support that outlines why your charity needs funding. Now more than ever, being able to clearly define your organization’s need for funding and your value to people and communities is vital. View our guidance on writing a case for support. 

Encourage existing donors to be lead donors during COVID-19. Reach out to people who already give to your cause to see if they can give more during this difficult time or help to encourage others to give to your charity.

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Consider new and creative ways you can raise funds. Ideas include creating merchandise such as t-shirts to sell online, online auctions or a competition where participants pay a small fee to submit entries online.

Consider your fundraising resilience. COVID-19 has demonstrated that diversifying your voluntary income streams will help ensure your fundraising is more robust in the future. For example, if you own a building you could consider creating income from room hire for events with social distancing measures in place.

Research online giving, to begin or improve your digital fundraising. If you have been fundraising online for a while, now is a great time to review your digital fundraising strategy.

Research possible donors. Donors have adapted quickly during the crisis to meet the needs of charities and the communities they serve. We have some useful tips to help you organize your research, with signposts to where you can find COVID-19 emergency grants.

Create new online or digital events to inspire people to give and to engage young people with your cause. For example, you could start an online challenge event – get your community on board to come up with their own challenge events or fundraising activity. You could use a virtual fundraising platform to run the event and collect online donations. There are a variety of providers who will offer one-stop virtual event hosting, including customized tickets, donation processing and event management. You also get access to analytics, the ability to have networking, online auctions, in-kind donation management, breakout educational sessions and 1:1 dialogue. Check out Eventstream, GoToMeeting, Frontstream, Eventbrite and Hopin.

Consider crowdfunding, it’s a great way to engage a much wider audience. Providers include  Go Fund Me and . A full directory of Canadian Crowdfunding portals can be found at the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada website. A full directory of Canadian Crowdfunding portals can be found at the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada website.

Consider reaching out to other non-profits and local groups to work in collaboration. You may be working with increasingly stretched resources. Collaborating with other charities in your sector or local area may help in sharing resources and reaching more people. For example, you could work with other local charities to map out the need in your local area or create joint events.  

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Researching possible donors and funders

Good research into relevant donors and funders sits at the centre of successful fundraising. Read our useful tips to discover and assess new funding sources.

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