How Charities are Safely Fundraising During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a serious impact on the charity sector and is set to continue to do so for a long time to come. Charities that are already working on the front line with high-risk groups such as the homeless or people suffering from mental health to provide community support, practical support, information, and advice are experiencing a range of unprecedented operational challenges. Charities that work with older people or people with health issues, for example, are facing social distancing challenges and an inability to conduct activities that involve close contact. And with community fundraising and charity events largely paused, many charities are also struggling financially. So, how can you safely raise more funds for your charity during a pandemic?
Virtual Fundraising Events
The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on charity events. With large gatherings banned and mass participation events cancelled around the world, many charities that relied on these types of events to raise money are struggling. The good news is that there has been a real community spirit response to social distancing and lockdowns in the UK, and this has brought about an opportunity to make the switch to virtual events and challenges. Charity supporters who would normally attend events in-person are likely to be willing to attend online events where they can bid on auction items, donate money and take part in challenges to raise funds from the comfort of their own home.
Many charities have lost another major income stream due to the pandemic in the form of community fundraising. Cake sales, coffee mornings, and other community events that are often set up in order to raise money for charities are being cancelled in droves as limits are put on how many people can meet up at any one time. If your charity relies on community fundraising, it may be worth considering making the switch to digital fundraising. Communities that meet up online such as in Facebook groups and related forums may be interested in hosting online events like Zoom coffee mornings or sponsored Facebook fundraisers for a good cause. And, taking online donations allows your charity to earn more from Gift Aid.
Cash Collection Boxes
While fewer shops are now accepting cash payments, your charity may still be able to earn money from cash collection boxes set up in stores in your local area or around the country. Setting up cash collection boxes that are safe to use in socially distanced areas of supermarkets such as at the end of the checkout may be a good way to encourage people to donate their spare change that they are unable to use while shopping due to payment restrictions because of the pandemic.
While some organisations might see a reduced income from individual donations due to the financial difficulties that the pandemic has caused for many people, and the reduced face-to-face engagement of charity supporters, the COVID-19 pandemic has already seen a boost in generosity from the British public who are genuinely concerned and want to do what they can in order to help minimise the impact of the crisis on people’s livelihoods, jobs, relationships and mental health. Individual donations can be given on a one-off basis or you could consider membership schemes that allows donors to donate a regular weekly or monthly amount to your charity by setting up a direct debit or standing order.
You can make individual cash donations stretch even further by claiming Gift Aid through the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. Goodman Jones are chartered accountants and tax consultants that offer more information on this scheme and how charities can use it to claim 25% of the eligible donation. The scheme is available to cash and contactless card donations of $30 or less. Visit the Goodman Jones website for more information; their blog posts discuss the Gift Aid Small Gift Donations Scheme and how to use it.
With remote working becoming more prevalent than ever before, charities that relied on corporate partnerships for income may be facing some consequences. And with many businesses dealing with unexpected challenges from COVID-19, there is likely to be a shift in priorities for many companies which might result in corporate partnerships with charities being put on pause. If your charity works with a corporate partner to raise funds, it’s important to focus on maintaining that relationship during these uncertain times, even if financial support is put on hold for the time being. It may also be worth working together with corporate partners to come up with different ways that they could get involved, such as encouraging employees to take part in virtual fundraising events and challenges.
The COVID-19 crisis has meant that several charities are needed more now than ever before, but social distancing guidelines have made it impossible to host certain fundraising events and raise money in many of the traditional ways. Thankfully, your charity can encourage supporters to continue donating with virtual events and figuring out different, safe ways to fundraise right now.
Photo by Joel Muniz
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