Healthcare Fundraising During COVID-19
It is tough to fundraise for healthcare when the economy is do well. It must be extremely challenging to do it during an economic crisis and a pandemic. My heart goes out to all the charities, foundations and grassroots teams out there who are raising money right now. Their determination is inspiring.
In the early days of COVID-19, many healthcare organizations pivoted from their standard fundraising and began running programs to help obtain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their staff. Community and grassroots organizations did the same. Most used a two-pronged approach:
Outreach to local businesses that use PPE and ask them to donate it to frontline workers (ie: tatoo parlors, dentists, etc)
A $$$ donation drive where all the money collected goes to purchasing PPE
There were many successful campaigns and many businesses stepped up. Here are just a few examples:
Wickenheiser plea for PPE, with Ryan Reynolds assist, scores big donations
Mayor Lightfoot Thanks Companies, Organizations and Volunteers for Helping in the Fight Against COVID-19
How 100 tech companies are supporting their communities
Not yet able to treat patients, Stanford medical students help caregivers
UCLA Anderson students lead donation drives to gather PPE for health care workers
After this initial rush of PPE donations, however, I found fundraising efforts went quiet. It wasn’t until this past week that I started to get electronic requests from various healthcare foundations and charities that I donate to.
I wonder if it was strategic on their part – to wait until the COVID-19 situation had stabilized (somewhat) before attempting to reach out to donors. I’m not sure how people would have felt receiving a donation request to help with Alzheimer’s research in those early days of the pandemic.
With the pandemic far from over, however, healthcare charities and foundations are in a bind. Social distancing rules have cut off many fundraising events that organizations depend on like galas and run-walk-bike events for example. Without those cornerstones, they are having to adapt. I’ve heard that some organizations are experimenting with virtual galas while others have put on virtual running events . I couldn’t find any data on the success rate, but I imagine that these events do not bring in the same dollars (or press) of the in-person versions.
According to a survey conducted by Campbell Rinker on behalf of consulting firm Dunham & Company back in April, 53% of donors plan to continue giving during the pandemic, but more carefully than before. 20% said that they plan to stop giving until the economy is back up and running.
In April, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) projected a $20 million loss. CEO Andrea Seale called the pandemic “the greatest challenge that the Canadian Cancer Society has faced in our 80-year history....