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The Real Implications of COVID-19 on Nonprofits

Like every industry, the necessary and vital quarantine to combat COVID-19 has had a massive negative impact on the nonprofit sector.

We’ve witnessed millions rallying around nonprofits that are best-positioned to help those impacted by the Coronavirus, which is both critical and inspiring.

However, there is such a wide range of nonprofits operating every day whose missions may not specifically address needs directly related to COVID-19 relief. These organizations are still carrying out essential work in their communities and are experiencing the same disruptions when it comes to raising funds at this time. In addition to these disruptions, they are beginning to encounter these two unique issues as they work tirelessly to find financial support.

Coronavirus relief efforts don’t focus on cancer treatment, or alleviating hunger, or caring for homeless pets. Yet, these services remain just as vital in the midst of a world-wide crisis.

First, these nonprofits are taking a back-seat to COVID-19-related fundraising endeavors. While this near-term focus is certainly critical, the ultimate impact is that the vast majority of nonprofits are getting a smaller piece of a pie that itself might be shrinking during this sudden and powerful recession.

Second, is the impact on the very way these nonprofits fundraise. From what we’ve seen from the nearly 40,000 nonprofits that have used GiveGab, annual in-person events tend to be their largest yearly fundraising activity (while participating in a Giving Day is generally their second-biggest). If those events were in the spring, they have already been canceled or delayed. If those events are in the summer, they are clearly in jeopardy.

What can be done?

This answer requires us to temporarily put nonprofits into two categories:

  1. Category 1 includes those nonprofits that directly help address immediate needs – the COVID-19 responders.
  2. Category 2 includes every other nonprofit organization – those not directly involved with COVID-19 relief efforts.

Category 1: The COVID-19 Responders

There are multiple ways to provide help to these front-line nonprofits at this time. Many digital fundraising opportunities have been made available to both individual nonprofits and the community foundations that serve them.

  • Community Giving
    • This platform provides Community Foundations with a centralized website for businesses, organizations, and donors to cultivate relationships any time of the year. Through it, administrators can highlight key initiatives, such as a 24-hour Giving Day, cause-based events, disaster relief or other critical efforts, cause areas, organizations, and more.
    • Examples include:
      • The Nonprofit Council in San Antonio, TX, is using Community Giving for their Big Give Emergency Relief campaign.
      • The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes has opened donations for COVID-19 relief through their site,
      • The Community Foundation of North Central Florida is hosting The Amazing Give Emergency Relief campaign for organizations in their community.
    • As a part of GiveGab’s free resources for COVID-19 relief, Community Foundations can qualify for a custom Community Giving site without an upfront cost through the end of December 2020.
  • Giving Days 
    • Examples include:
      • Donors and nonprofits in Rhode Island came together on April 1 to take part in 401 Gives powered by The United Way of Rhode Island
      • Roanoke Valley Gives run by The Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia, helped over 140 organizations raise critical funds on March 18
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns
    • Examples include: 
    • As an additional offering through GiveGab’s free resources for COVID-19 relief, nonprofits can sign up for our p2p fundraising suite and launch a digital campaign in a matter of minutes.
  • #GivingTuesdayNow
    • This global action initiative launched by the GivingTuesday team aims to rally awareness and generosity to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on May 5, 2020.

Category 2: Every other nonprofit organization

This category includes nonprofits that serve the homeless, the hungry, the sick who are uninsured, endangered animals – both wildlife and domestic, and so much more. All of these issues are just as prominent as ever, yet are receiving less attention and support at this time. The following are channels in which they can also be supported at this time of need:

  • Giving Days
    • These 24-hour fundraising events provide a space of equal opportunity for all nonprofits – big and small – to promote their missions, tell their stories, and garner support – all on one seamless and secure platform.
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns
    • Examples include:
      • Creating Joy During COVID-19 is a campaign created by The Memory Maker Project to serve those living with memory loss through digital mediums.
      • Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Centers created a COVID-19 Fund to support students and teachers impacted by the pandemic.
      • Arcade at Home is a campaign run through the Arcade Comedy Theater to raise funds as their theater remains closed for in-person performances.
  • Virtual Events
    • We’ve seen many nonprofits get creative with continuing their annual fundraising events through virtual channels. They’ve gotten creative with their 5k’s by making them happen on treadmills and Livestream from people’s homes, for instance.
    • Virtual events can take place using a variety of platforms, including the p2p platform mentioned above in tandem with an event platform like GiveSmart’s live auction and event software. Watch their webinar about virtual events here.

Having worked with so many community foundations, nonprofits, and schools over the years, seeing the impact of this pandemic across all of them is what inspired me, and the entire GiveGab team, to shift gears and offer as much assistance as possible.

Our hope is that the people working across the nonprofit sector know how important their work is to those they serve and to their communities – and will find the motivation to ask for support right now, even if their work is not directly helping with relief efforts for this crisis we’re in.

The implications of COVID-19 have resulted in a crisis for everyone to various degrees, and it’s our duty to step up and support each other.

If there’s an additional resource you would like our team to provide at this time, please let us know through the form on our COVID-19 resources page.