Fundraising Ideas During COVID
January 6, 2021
We’ve all gotten tired of hearing statements that begin with “in times like these,” “the new normal of COVID,” and “this unprecedented moment in history.” And maybe that’s because in the months since COVID-19 first stepped onto the global scene, we’ve all but gotten used to the ways in which this novel virus has changed the way we work and live. The current COVID pandemic has deferred a lot of plans over the last 9 months, if not life itself, for so many organizations and individuals alike.
Think about how your company holds events and fundraisers. We’re willing to bet that they look almost nothing like they did only a year ago. Changes necessitated by social distancing mandates and other safety precautions related to the coronavirus are turning our annual gatherings completely upside-down. In light of Coronavirus, events cancelled or rescheduled may seem long gone.
But these changes don’t mean that fundraising has stopped altogether. Nor should it! Nonprofit organizations and community institutions play a vital role in communities around the world, and they, like all of us, still need help to remain open and functional.
Here is a list of great tactics some organizations have been using to conduct events and fundraisers that will raise money for your organization, and keep you and your audience safe and healthy.
5 great ways to hold fundraisers and events during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Online Silent Auction
Silent auctions are some of the most popular methods of fundraising. Audiences love them, as they’re fun and engaging, and they have the chance to take something home with them after. Traditionally, a silent auction might feature food, drinks, and entertainment surrounding the bidding. This is unfortunately impossible under the current circumstances. However, online auctions can be just as effective and entertaining. And best of all, they have the potential to reach a wider audience. With a little effort, your fundraisers during COVID can be just as fun for your viewers. For a more detailed look at how to run an online silent auction for your organization, check out our other article: How to Run a Silent Auction Online.
Online Community Meet and Greets
Your visitors love an opportunity to hear from relevant experts in your field, and relish a chance to talk to them and answer questions. And these types of events are some of the easiest to hold while we’re all sheltering in our homes. We’re all likely sick of applications like Zoom by now, but they make your weekly ticketed lecture events possible to hold, through rain or shine or pandemic.
For a more intimate crowd you might also consider holding online cocktail parties. Once your guests purchase their tickets, you can send them recipe ideas for fun, on-theme boozy beverages with their receipt.
Urgent Call to Action on your website’s homepage.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need right away. You likely already have a donations process somewhere on your site, but pressing times call for pressing measures. Take a page out of Wikipedia’s book, and install a donate button right in your landing page banner. You might include a heartfelt and sincere message which will urge your visitors to contribute to your cause.
Future Investment Benefits
Your organization might be stretched a little thin right now. And that’s okay! Most of us are. You might not be able to give anything away at this moment in time. But one way you can encourage your donors to contribute during an uncertain time is to promise future rewards in exchange for them helping your company weather the storm.
If you have merchandise that can be given away now, advertise that as a potential gift for your audience’s generosity. Or, you might offer preferential treatment like meal and drink tickets at a future event, early access to other cultural happenings, or even a discounted elevated membership status.
Truly Socially Distant Events
If you can figure out a way to have in-person events which implement a rigorous safety protocol, do that. But before you go rushing off to dust your ballroom off and take the event seating out of storage, take a deep breath, and ask yourself if a safely distanced event is really a possibility for your organization.
When you can guarantee (no really: guarantee) safety, in-person events can still work, but they need to be done intelligently and with utmost attention to detail. An outdoor venue is best, and you will need to make sure that all of your guests are wearing their masks properly, and observing social distancing guidelines. In the next section, we’ll go over some COVID event protocols to get you up to speed.
CDC guidelines on social distancing and events.
Here are a few things to consider while planning your next in-person event.
- The in-person risk factor. Virtual gatherings are zero risk for all involved, and the optimal option while in an active pandemic. To keep your in-person event as low-risk as possible, you should limit the number of guests, and ensure that the location selected for your event has plenty of ventilation – ideally outdoors – and allows visitors to keep a distance of at least 6’ between them and other guests at all times.
- Temperature. You should be taking your guest’s temperature at the entrance to your event. Anyone with an elevated temperature should not be admitted.
- Hand hygiene. Ample hand-washing stations should be supplied so guests and staff can observe proper hand sanitation.
- Masks. All guests over the age of 2 should be wearing a mask. The fabric of the mask must cover the chin and the nose in order to be effective.
- Touching. Display signage that discourages your guests from making physical contact with one another. Gestures of greeting and affection such as handshakes, hugs, or high-fives should not be engaged.
- Cleaning. All surfaces including tables, bars, buffets, etc. should be disinfected regularly, ideally after a guest has touched it and before the next one does.
For more detailed event guidelines, visit the CDC’s COVID events page.
How ACME can help.
ACME is a comprehensive ticketing, membership, and POS solution designed to work for all kinds of public-facing cultural institutions. And ACME’s donation and ticketing features keep working for you, even in the face of a global pandemic.
Our latest donations feature allows you to encourage your guests to contribute, with personalized and customizable messaging. And if you’re keeping your doors open, ACME has incorporated paperless ticketing and timed entry to keep both you and your audience members safe and healthy.
To see how ACME can work for you, sign up for a demo today.