The Fundraiser - Practical advice and insight for the charity sector

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How charities are receiving increased donations during the pandemic

The lockdown has meant that charitable events and fundraisers across the globe have had to be cancelled, leaving many charities with a large loss in income. However, as a result of the situation and public awareness, the public have been more generous than ever by supporting causes both close to their heart and those that have appealed for help.

Charities including Canterbury Food Bank and the wellbeing charity, The Eric Liddell Centre, have seen a huge spike in donations in the past ten weeks, showing just how supportive the public are, even in desperate times.

Charities that are thriving now have seized the opportunity to fundraise online, like The Academy of Ancient Music who have raised nearly £30,000 since March 20th with their COVID-19 fundraiser which supports freelance musicians.

In regards to the fundraiser, Liz Brinson, Head of Development at The Academy Of Ancient Music said; “An emergency campaign isn’t something we’ve had to do in the past, but we felt it was vitally important to find a way of supporting our musicians with direct financial support in these very challenging times.  

“The DONATE platform was really easy to set up and is easy  for donors to use too, providing a positive experience all round.  We’ve been blown away by the generosity of our supporters, raising nearly £30,000 in just four weeks.”

The charity prominently used their email newsletter, which has 3,000 subscribers, to raise awareness of their campaign, and continue to stream concerts every Sunday at 3pm on YouTube as part of their lockdown Streaming Sundays series.

For charities that are looking to do the same, here are seven tips to keep calm and carry on fundraising in these extraordinary times:

1. Start a new campaign and spread the word

Online fundraising and text fundraising are easy to set up and quick to get going. How can you use these techniques to raise money? Canterbury Food Bank set up a Foodbank Friday fundraiser which has gained momentum through Facebook posts, their website and a corporate partnership. Once you gain momentum with a campaign, you can then start to spread the word further. 

2. Set a challenge

With everyone stuck at home the will to get up and do anything is slowly decreasing, so why not consider starting a challenge that is relevant to your charity and asking people to get involved? For example, Jerry Green Dog Rescue have set up an online dog show with 8 Best in Class categories, and therefore 8 fundraisers. Supporters give £1 to enter and put photos of their dog in the comments. The charity has had such value from this that they will carry on with the online dog show monthly post-lockdown.

3. Make sure you’ve got your passive donation mechanics in place. 

Do you have an easy way to donate on your website? If not, this can done via DONATE. Do you have a database of regular supporters? Can you text them with a donation keyword? The Eric Liddell Centre promoted their mental health campaign on their website, on social media and through partnerships with local businesses. Through this they’ve raised £1820 so far and are continuing to support those in need throughout lockdown.

4. Create an SMS raffle

This is super easy to set up and can be very effective.  With all the pubs and shops currently closed they will be looking for ways to get their customers back once lockdown is lifted.  Why not ask them if you can offer a prize of a free meal for two or a gift voucher and run an SMS raffle with your supporters? ‘Money can’t buy’ prizes are also super valuable.

5. Help with the COVID-19 effort

Do you have vehicles or specific equipment that can be repurposed? The Huddersfield Town Foundation published a letter on their website and on social media asking for donations to ensure their valuable community programmes can continue to support the local community. Any help you can give to the overall effort, apart from being the right thing to do, will help with your visibility during this crisis.

6. Live-stream videos to keep in touch with your supporters.

The children’s cancer charity, The Candlelighters Trust, live-streamed their event ‘The Big Night In’ raising £5000. They also had their text-to-donate numbers in the corner of the screen, ensuring the fundraiser received maximum exposure throughout.

7. Kickstart a newsletter

Follow The Academy of Ancient Music’s lead and get the word out about your charity via your e-newsletter to your loyal supporter base. This also helps you to continue your relationships with your donors as they can support you now when you need it the most.

We know how hard this time is for charities and charitable organisations and that it can be disheartening and demoralising to see your fundraising activities curtailed, but there are always ways to keep donations flowing and supporters engaged during this time. 

National Funding Scheme has a number of options available to help that are quick, easy and good value to set up. Having worked with small charities and organisations such as The Big Issue North, The MS Society and a number of local community charities such as Parent Teacher Associations we have a huge amount of knowledge about what works.

As a charity ourselves we’re here to help and advise. Do drop us a line via Twitter (@NFSUK), Facebook or email hello@nationalfundingscheme.org or just pick up the phone and call us (020 3174 2276). We’re always pleased to have a chat and give what advice and guidance we can.

We wish you all the best of luck and will continue to share ideas for smaller charities. #supporteachother

Bart Leonard, Trustee at National Funding Scheme, DONATE.

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