Man delivering talk on fundraising

Fundraising and the Coronavirus: be bold and get online

Published: 30/03/20 | Categories: Funding, Author: Alison Pritchard

Due to the coronavirus pandemic charities in Wales are losing income as fundraising events are cancelled and individual donations decrease. Alison Pritchard, Sustainable Funding Manager at WCVA, has some advice for charities on how to enhance their online fundraising presence.

Charities all over Wales and indeed the entire globe are seeing drastic drops in income as trading and fundraising events come to a stand still during world-wide social distancing and lockdowns. Donations from individuals may also be falling as people fact uncertainty about their own incomes over the coming months. I encourage charities to think about how they can change or strengthen their ‘fundraising ask’ to encourage donations during this time. 

Just ask


The first rule of fundraising is ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. Use whatever online communication tools you must ask your networks if they’d consider supporting you. This could be for additional services you’re running to respond to the crisis or just to help you keep the doors open.

People who can work from home and don’t have their incomes being affected are probably actually saving money. Those daily coffees aren’t available, gym memberships are being frozen, and people are being encouraged to food shop in ways that don’t accommodate daily ‘popping to the shop for lunch’ habits. For some, this could mean savings of over £100 per month.

Don’t be afraid to share how serious your circumstances are. The hashtag #EveryDayCounts in Twitter is full of people from the voluntary sector sharing just how important charities are to society and what their closures could mean for their communities and service users.

You can also ask your existing supporters, especially those who might have been planning to do an event for you, to do some online fundraising activities instead. This article lists some suggestions: and individuals are able to run fundraisers from personal Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Clear case for support

Use facts and figures to help demonstrate how important someone’s donation could be. This could be:

  • how much money it costs per session/week/month to provide a particular service
  • how much income is being lost through closures of trading operations
  • what donations of different amount could mean:
    • g. £20 is another hour of your advice line remaining open to support vulnerable people affected by the virus
    • £30 is a food delivery for a vulnerable person isolated at home
  • How many people you usually help during a week/month/year with your normal levels of income
  • How many additional people you could help who have become considered vulnerable because of the virus?

Be transparent about if you are fundraising to provide additional services to your day-to-day activities to respond to additional needs created by the coronavirus or to keep the organisation running whilst your income is so depleted. Both are extremely valid reasons to ramp up your fundraising activity.

Encourage your customers to become donors

If a lot of your income comes from trading, whether that be via a café, shop, admission/ticket sales or anything else, you can curate your message to regular customers. As mentioned above, chances are at least some of your customer base are saving money. Ask them to turn their regular purchases into a donation instead, helping your organisation make it through this time. You might be able to offer gift vouchers, providing you with much needed income now and the customer chance to redeem them when we go back to ‘normal’ in the coming months.

If you are in a position where you are offering refunds for bookings, this is an opportunity to encourage donations instead. The below is a great example of this from the Hay Festival:

Make it easy for people to give

For me this is the second rule of fundraising – make it as easy as possible for people to give you money; reduce any barriers. During this time of isolation and social distancing, this means online fundraising.

  • Add a donate button to your website or Facebook Make it prominent on the home page and any other pages you think are appropriate (Paypal is one of the easiest ways to do this if you are a registered charity)
  • Facebook and Instagram both offer fundraising functions that could be very worthwhile, but only if you already have good audiences on those platforms (or supporters with good audiences on those platforms)
  • Crowdfunder are offering fee-free crowdfunding throughout the crisis –
  • JustGiving are waiving transaction fees (which they normally encourage donors to cover) during the crisis –
  • Local Giving are a great online giving platform for organisations that are not registered with the Charity Commission