What emerged from ensuing discussions included not only challenges but opportunities for fundraising during the pandemic.
David Wright of Save the Children discussed the need for fundraising to be more integrated, relevant, and supportive of operations than ever before. In his view, while the pandemic is global, the response must be adapted to local contexts. For programmes, this has meant taking on a ‘glocal’ approach for delivery of their services. Jason Lewis of Responsive Fundraising and Clodagh Connolly of Corporate Citizenship explained that charities have been hit with a wave of uncertainty. Face to face activities are no longer possible, which for charities not only affects delivery of services and outreach to their most vulnerable beneficiaries, but also fundraising activities such as events, donor cultivation etc. Many charities have also been unsure about how, when and what to ask as support from the private sector. The impact of these challenges can be observed in the steady decline in funding of many charities, who are quickly learning to adapt from a low to a high context culture.
But, as Zubair Anwar-Bawany of Quantum 5 explained, ‘We are all in this together’. The private sector now realise that it is not business as usual and recognise the importance of the work charities are doing resulting in a reinforced enthusiasm for supporting them. This has opened-up opportunities for much more meaningful, deeper, and connected conversations between the two parties. Virtual communication enables charities to not only connect with a wide range of donors – new and existing, but also to their peers in the sector which facilitates collaboration, knowledge transference, sharing of best practice and pertinent learning. Donors are more receptive and conscious than ever before and are taking advantage of the various forms of communication such as telephone and online models to engage with charities. This has resulted in somewhat of an overhaul of business as usual for charities, where they are now expected and motivated to do more digitally.
Together these opportunities and challenges have paved the way for innovative new ways of thinking in fundraising. As Bradley Henderson from UNHCR highlighted, charities need to be more open to testing new ideas and embracing innovation for fundraising. They need to think about delivery of their services remotely and virtually in a way that works best for their beneficiaries, staff, and donors as well as within their budgets. Graham Drew of Bamboo Fundraising stated that now fundraisers have experienced this new way of operating it will be difficult for the sector to go back to how it was pre-COVID, and pertinent learning from this phase must be analysed to inform and define ‘success’ for future.
Having heard each of the speakers’, at IDConnect we second the idea that despite the challenges, this is a time of great opportunities.
If you need help identifying new partners or funding sources that are the right fit for your charity, get in touch and we can help with our prospect research services that are tailored to your needs and budgets. With our regular prospecting targets, we help ensure investment of your fundraisers efforts in opportunities that are guaranteed to yield positive returns or higher ROI.
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