THINK are sharing with us guidance on how to approach fundraising activities against the backdrop of the current coronavirus outbreak. In this blog, Beccy Murrell looks at community fundraising, which she suggests could be the worst affected of all the fundraising disciplines.
We continue THINK’s blog series about fundraising activities against the backdrop of coronavirus by looking at community fundraising which could be the worst affected of all fundraising disciplines, due to the face to face nature of relationship fundraising which rarely happens in isolation.
Whilst the primary concern will always be the health and wellbeing of supporters, staff and beneficiaries, how can community fundraising teams best mitigate the impact of coronavirus? Here are some top tips for you to consider:
- Adopt a flexible approach to working as staff may have additional responsibilities outside of work due to the virus, such as caring for children and vulnerable relatives. Implement a home working rota for any office-based teams to reduce pressure on the office environment which will help to limit the spread of the virus in offices and on commuter journeys.
- Make it as easy as possible for supporters to re-schedule their fundraising events to a later date. If possible, avoid cancellations by ensuring that your organisation’s case for support is more robust than ever. Coronavirus won’t reduce your beneficiaries’ need and therefore the priority should be for the fundraising to happen as some point, as opposed to not happening at all.
- Keep an eye of the websites of local groups, corporates and other associations who are supporting you and keep in touch with them. Depending on your causal area, you might need to ask these types of organisations for some different support over the coming weeks, so make sure they keep you in mind.
- Stay abreast of regular reforecasting and revising future budgets, to reflect the impact of cancelled and postponed events and also to incorporate the likely overall downturn in fundraising resulting from reduced confidence, increased anxiety and social distancing and possible financial recession that may result from the virus.
- Utilise digital solutions where possible, such as directing donation payments to websites, supplying digital fundraising packs and fundraising materials and introducing virtual iterations of some common fundraising events.
- Develop, regularly review and circulate a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions for both staff and supporters, covering a range of topics such as the organisation’s response to coronavirus and how the virus is impacting on the organisation and its beneficiaries.
- Keep all communication channels open to stay in regular contact with staff and supporters alike. Scheduled updates are an important support and morale boosting tool, even when there is no ‘new’ news. Encourage supporters to get in contact with each other through social media, to support each other and potentially counter some of the loneliness of isolation.
- Keep in touch with supporters who fall into high risk categories – they will no doubt appreciate a call and a chat even if they weren’t due to do in fundraising for you over the next few weeks. Keeping that connection will be key.
As we all do our best to navigate this unprecedented period of uncertainty, we must do our upmost to mitigate risk and to keep our teams, supporters and beneficiaries as healthy and supported as possible. Community fundraising may well be the most impacted area of fundraising, but it is also one of the most long-standing and resilient. Communities are coming together and forging new links to support one another through this crisis and your individual and groups supporters will be playing their part in this and will emerge in a stronger position in the long run.
Throughout this week and next, we are sharing our thoughts on how best to mitigate the impact on other areas of fundraising including corporate partnerships, individual giving, supporter services and leadership. We’d love to hear your thoughts.