Fundraising in the time of COVID-19

We’re living in strange times, friends. We were all left slightly adrift when COVID-19 reached pandemic status. Many of us feel lost, confused, and anxious, and understandably so. This crisis serves to illustrate the deep and interwoven connection between all human life. As we move into a time of necessary social distancing, supporting our local and global communities has become paramount. It is the resiliency of the human spirit that rises to the occasion when we are faced with such upheaval. As the days grow uncertain, and direction seems rudderless, we have an opportunity to focus on what matters most.

As fundraisers, digital strategists, philanthropic ambassadors, and voice amplifiers, how do we work within this new framework? How do we connect with a donor base (or potential donor base) in the wake of this disruption? How can we help our beneficiaries in such a turbulent time?

We here at Yeeboo Digital have compiled a list of organizations addressing these questions. And we’re sharing it with you! We’ll be adding to this list as the days go by so make sure you check back here every so often.

Social media - short and sweet

Habitat For Humanity uses type to do the talking. A simple highlighted impact statement grabs the viewer’s attention and offers a visual break in the expected feed.

Feeding America takes a more personalized approach that features a story to drive connection to their mission.  

Plan Canada goes back to basics with a headline that focuses on necessities , employing symbolic giving with a relevant and timely ask.

Peer-2-Peer Fundraising - How to Pivot?

Ottawa Cancer Research Foundation canceled their Crush It For Cancer event, acknowledging the risk to their participants. They encouraged their fundraisers to continue to fundraise via their personal pages.

Emergency appeals for affected populations

Boys and Girls Club addresses the pandemic in their latest appeal by highlighting the impact on their beneficiary population.  Thousands of children rely on school lunches or Club-supplied meals and snacks for nutrition. With school closures during this time these children face the risk of malnutrition. Their clear call-to-action and concise messaging here provide a simple path to giving.

Scarborough Health Network Foundation is a hospital foundation located in Ontario.  Their appeal addresses the equipment needs the hospital requires in order to fight this pandemic.  A direct call-to-action for financial donations or equipment donations in kind is clearly outlined providing an obvious impact for the donor.

Daily Bread Food Bank, based in Toronto, sent out an urgent appeal for donations highlighting a matched gift, allowing donors to double their impact in a time of crisis.

Yonge Street Mission provides a variety of programs and services to vulnerable populations in Toronto.  In response to the COVID-19 outbreak they had to transfer volunteer duties to their staff in order to continue to serve their beneficiary populations.  Their appeal addresses the rapidly changing circumstances, while asking for a monthly donation. 

Covenant House Vancouver offers support to homeless and at-risk youth in Vancouver.  Their appeal uses a no-design, text-only approach to speak plainly to the donor. By forgoing a stylized method the appeal appears more personal and direct.

Trillium Health Partners Foundation is a hospital foundation in Mississauga, Ontario.  Their appeal focuses on transparency in uncertain times. They highlight the need for resources and equipment and ensure that healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic are equipped with everything they need, even if they’re unsure about what those needs are.

COVID-19 and existing campaigns

The American Red Cross Giving Day is an annual campaign event where local communities are encouraged to come together on a single day to support the relief efforts of the American Red Cross.  2020 marked the 6th year of this campaign. Red Cross met the challenge head-on, acknowledging the current state of things while providing the donor with an actionable response. They acknowledged the fear and confusion so prevalent among us and posed the donate call-to-action as a way to contribute while outlining the critical need for their services.

Connecting in difficult times

Save the Children Canada works to help children in Canada and abroad in times of crisis. They created an email sign-up form that clearly illustrates the work they’re doing around the world for children facing the disruption this pandemic is causing, while providing relevant information and resources for the person who signs-up to keep informed.

We’ll be adding to this compilation list in the days to come with examples from around the world.

Importantly, now more than ever, we need to be fostering connections between ourselves, encouraging communication, and giving people the opportunity to help. In these uncertain times we’re all in this together. 

Be kind, be safe. Take care of yourselves and one another.

<3 The team at Yeeboo Digital