Running a nonprofit is a lot like taking part in a competitive sport—there are plenty of challenges to stop you from fulfilling your goals. One good example of such a challenge was the COVID-19 pandemic. It has transformed how nonprofits fundraise.
Without a doubt, the pandemic has proved to be one of the biggest catalysts for change in a long time. And now, even with the virus under control, and as we slowly inch back to a sense of normalcy, one thing is for sure—fundraising will never be the same again. Nonprofits, therefore, need to think strategically about how they connect with donors to ensure sustainability. In this article, we will look at fundraising in a post-pandemic world.
Overview of fundraising trends during the pandemic
Before the pandemic hit, most nonprofits had fundraising events lined up for the entire year. These were mostly offline. But in March 2020, when lockdowns and social distancing guidelines were published, charities faced a tough decision. Without in-person fundraising events, revenues would drop at a time when the world needed these nonprofits the most.
A survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund found that 60% of nonprofits experienced conditions that threatened their long-term financial stability. And some nonprofits had to scale operations or temporarily shut down operations.
But there were a few nonprofits that realized all was not lost. Since people were stuck at home, they were spending more time online—working, shopping, socializing, etc. So, some nonprofits also transitioned their fundraising efforts online. A report by OneCause claimed that 62% of nonprofits that had converted to virtual fundraising saw success and were 10% more likely to be raising at or above their original fundraising goals.
Of course, online giving has been on the rise for years, jumping from $19.2 billion in 2012 to $31 billion in 2017. But then the pandemic furthered this growth in 2020. Nonprofits had to make a choice—watch their revenue dry up or get online to raise money.
While some organizations managed to secure grants from foundations. The truth is that this wasn’t enough. Research has shown that the majority of the revenue that nonprofits depend on comes from individual gifts and donations. This is why it was necessary to follow the donors where they were already spending most of their time.
And as it turns out, there are plenty of benefits to raising money online:
- There are no geographical barriers. Just about anyone can participate in your virtual fundraiser from anywhere in the world.
- Easy to scale as virtual events usually don’t have the same restrictions that come with offline events—no traveling to the event, no limited seating, etc.
- Cost-effective when compared to similarly-sized offline events. With virtual events, there is no need to book venues, source food or refreshments, hire security, etc. And yet, you can still raise plenty of money.
- Online events give nonprofits a chance to have the same footing as bigger nonprofits. For instance, running ads online isn’t expensive. In the past, small nonprofits had to rely on local papers and magazines with limited circulation for advertising.
In the post-pandemic era, people will expect to see all nonprofits host at least a few fundraisers online. So implementing the right tools and programs to make this possible will be crucial. Focus on having a great UX design on your website, invest in mobile browsing, and ensure you have a straightforward, secure donation process.