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Nonprofit COVID-19 Fundraising FAQs

Nonprofit COVID-19 Fundraising FAQs

As we are nearing the three-month mark of life during the coronavirus pandemic, we thought it would be helpful to round up COVID-19 fundraising FAQs.

Is it okay to ask for donations right now? 

Yes! Absolutely. Just be sure to make sure you:

  • Tactfully ask for donations, being sensitive to the shifting financial realities for some of your donor base.

  • Strategically ask for funds. Beware of creating donor fatigue by asking too frequently on your platforms (email, text, social media, etc.).

  • Honestly share what donations will go toward right now and if you are having any financial difficulty.

Should we raise emergency funds if we aren’t providing coronavirus-specific emergency services?

All charities should still solicit funds during this global health pandemic. However, if your charity is not providing coronavirus-specific emergency services, don’t say or imply that you are. Be forthcoming. Don’t call them “emergency services” unless they really are. Plus, you don’t want to get into a situation where funds become restricted (i.e., “for emergency services only”). This is especially so in the case that you may need funds for coronavirus-specific emergency services in the coming months.

What’s the best way to raise funds online?

The best way to raise funds online is to have a streamlined, multi-channel approach. Meaning, create a digital fundraising and marketing plan that has consistent messaging across multiple digital platforms at the same time. Examples of channels include Text-to-Give, Text-to-Engage, Livestream, emails, ads, your website, and more. 

Focus on:

  • Crafting consistent, mission-driven, donor-centered messaging

  • Creating compelling visuals (pictures, videos, GIFs, stickers, etc.)

  • Building community among your supporters 

  • Listening to your followers (what they say and what you wish they did)

  • Trying new strategies to capture the crowded attention of your followers

Is it better to move our fundraising event to Livestream or postpone the date?

It depends. It’s becoming clear that most nonprofits can successfully pull off a Livestream fundraising event, no matter the size. Livestream events help nonprofits save big on overhead costs (e.g., venue, floral, signage, food, drinks). Plus, most Livestream platforms are free to use, like Facebook Live and YouTube Live. If you are on the fence, try to:

  • Attend another nonprofit’s Livestream event – learn from them!

  • Compare Livestream platforms and see if it would be technically feasible for your team.

  • Give your team leaders some more practice on Facebook and Instagram stories to get more comfortable in front of the camera.

  • Ask your board and staff their opinion on Livestream fundraising events.

  • Hop on a call with a few of your most influential donors and seek their advice.

On the other hand, maybe postponing the event would make more sense for your nonprofit. For example, endurance events may be better off waiting until restrictions are lifted on large gatherings to get the highest return. Your development team may already be maxed out on other strategies, and Livestream’s uncharted territory would stretch the team too far. It’s okay to pass for now until you are prepared rather than trying and failing. 

Do we switch up our fundraising strategy? How much?

Now is a natural point of the year to evaluate your annual fundraising strategy. Take stock: what’s working? What’s not? These questions will naturally lead your team into discussions about new digital fundraising opportunities.

Brainstorming can do wonders for team morale – which we could all use right now! It can also catapult donor engagement if you bring major supporters into the conversation. The key here is to innovate and try new things, so you don’t get left behind, while also not losing sight of foundational best practices in development.

Key Takeaway

COVID-19 presents a set of unique challenges and opportunities for fundraising. Try digital fundraising strategies, but remember – don’t ditch the best practices you already had in place. Balance is key. Stay mission-driven and never lose sight of building strong relationships. The nonprofit community will come out of this even more resilient than before.

ZGIVE, a leading mobile giving platform can help you out. The app includes unlimited campaigns to improve your donor communication and launch Ready-Auction TM for your nonprofit.

Head over to our main website,, or send us a message at to learn more.


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