Nowadays, the news seems to be filled with crises, ranging from the wildfires in California, the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, a pandemic and protests for racial justice. The abundance of emergencies has left many charities, nonprofits and fundraising organizations expecting to fall short of their fundraising goals for the year. If the organizations fall short, many will struggle to fulfill their setout missions. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help from donating blood to help hospitals combat the pandemic to volunteering and donating to the American Red Cross.
A survey of more than 850 fundraising organizations conducted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), found that fifty-six percent of respondents expected to raise less funds in 2020 compared to 2019, with some expecting the decrease to continue into 2021. (Full results can be read here.) One reason for the drop is the limitations COVID has put on fundraising efforts, with fundraising organizations being unable to host in-person events and connect with donors. Regardless, fundraising organizations are sure of one thing: fundraising cannot stop.
“There is one general rule that is the most important for charities to follow during difficult and challenging times,” Mike Grieger, CEO of AFP, told AFP News. “Organizations cannot afford to stop fundraising, and those charities that continue to raise funds—and even increase their fundraising—will do the best. We have to raise money and engage our donors with sensitivity, but the funding must continue in order to support our critically needed missions.”
To combat limitations, fundraising organizations have set out to engage with new and regular donors remotely through email, virtual events and social media. fundraising organizations are also focusing more on donor retention and forming closer relationships with donors in an effort to build stronger communities. With a stronger sense of community, fundraising efforts are more likely to be successful.
For those who are looking to donate or volunteer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has guidelines and recommendations for how individuals can help. FEMA recommends using the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)’s website, to search for vetted non-profit organizations.
Blood and plasma banks in particular need donations. Local blood banks can be found through the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). Those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 especially are recommended to donate plasma, as the antibodies found in their plasma have the potential to treat COVID patients. More information about donating can be found at the Food and Drug Administration’s webpage on convalescent plasma.
The American Red Cross is also looking for volunteers to fill positions in medical service, shelter service associates, blood donor support and work from home positions. Volunteers who can travel will be sent to aid the Hurricane Laura relief effort if they are on the East Coast and sent to aid the California wildfires if they are on the West Coast. More information can be found on the Red Cross volunteer web page.
There is no pressure to donate if an individual’s situation does not allow it. There is a lot more that can be done that was not mentioned in this article, from grassroots mutual aid groups to racial justice organizations and local GoFundMes. In times like these, it is important to remember that despite everything going on, there are thousands of volunteers and activists working to assist in any way they can.