How non-profits can overcome fundraising challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Published on Oct 25, 2021

How non-profits can overcome fundraising challenges in the wake of COVID-19

The nonprofit sector was especially hard-hit this past year by the COVID crisis and its economic impacts. A recent FEMA report indicated that the majority of nonprofits in 2020 suffered significant revenue loss, canceled fundraising events, and had to cut back on programs or services – even as demand for those programs and services increased.

According to a recent Newsday article, non-profits on Long Island employed more than 152,000 people in 2017, nearly one in seven jobs. Many non-profit organizations in our area received government assistance during the COVID crisis, which helped keep them afloat, but there were also significant staff layoffs and furloughs. Many non-profits in Long Island are still struggling.

The non-profit organizations that have successfully emerged from the crisis had to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability to keep fundraising efforts alive during rapidly changing conditions. Here are four key strategies that can keep your non-profit strong during tumultuous times. 

  1. Pivot from in-person events – Many non-profits raise a good portion of their funds from in-person events such as walks, galas, or concerts. COVID forced non-profit organizations to rethink their fundraising events and find ways to make them safe, engaging, and attractive to donors. Many charities moved to digital fundraising efforts this past year – having concerts on Zoom, virtual auctions, and letting people participate in walks or runs in their own neighborhoods and on their own time. Brainstorm ways to turn your events into compelling virtual experiences and find ways that volunteers can support your efforts remotely.
  2. Discover new audiences – Americans are still giving to charity during this difficult economic time, although some demographic groups are giving more than others. Experts are predicting that Generation Z (the generation born in 1996 and later) will be the most socially conscious and charitable generation yet. To capitalize on that, you’ll want to cater messaging and utilize marketing channels that specifically target that younger demographic. Charitable donations from seniors dropped during the pandemic – likely due to concerns about their own health and finances. Utilize audience segmentation to send customized messaging and fundraising requests to specific groups for better results.
  3. Explore new channels – Speaking of those new, younger donors – do you know where to find them? They are more likely to be on Instagram and TikTok rather than Facebook. Cast a wider net with your digital marketing efforts by experimenting with new or different channels and be sure to track your analytics so you know which channels are driving engagement and which are not.
  4. Optimize the donation process – Today’s donors expect that giving to a non-profit will be quick and easy. Savvy social media fundraisers let you donate to a cause without leaving the platform, one-click technologies leverage Apple Pay, Pay Pal or other services, and some charities allow donors to give via text. If your non-profit’s donation process is more complicated and time-consuming, you could be losing potential donors when you need them most. Invest in ways to streamline and simplify your donation process, as well as providing multiple ways for people to give. 

The Center for Non-Profits noted that, “Throughout the crisis, non-profits have stepped up to provide essential services, caring, comfort and inspiration, demonstrating yet again their essential role in our social, economic and community fabric.”

In short, it’s in everyone’s best interests to help keep Long Island’s non-profits strong and financially healthy. If you run a non-profit and are in need of financial advice or assistance, Valley has non-profit experts who are ready to lend a helping hand.


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