May 14, 2020 – Fundraising During COVID-19



  • Posting/advertising on social media and with email campaigns to prior donors
  • Rallybound: Virtual donation pages created by team leaders (in place of them selling “tables” at the event)
  • Virtual Happy Hours as advertising/asks
  • One on One asks
  • Be creative – no wrong ideas
  • Performance-based event

Example of Event that has already been done:

  • Silent Online Auction with 3-day bidding window
  • Including a “Virtual” donation item (donors bought digital puzzle-pieces that when the fundraising goal was met combined to make a picture)


  • Worried about ways to make a live virtual event interesting/interactive/compelling
  • Worried about donor fatigue of virtual events
  • Worried that they won’t make enough for the shortfall
  • Too late/there are many virtual events out there
  • How to make a sponsorship feel “worth it”
  • Tone deaf (timing)
  • Donor fatigue


  • Private Events (pay in advance to attend)
    • E.g. Surprise celebrity dinner party 
    • E.g. Concert
  • Community-Oriented Events
    • Fundraisers that surround staff/volunteers/celebrities doing good for their community (delivering meals, etc)
    • Combined Events that support local business (e.g. – cookoff competition between local restaurants that supports both the restaurant & the mentoring org)
  • Competition-focused Events
    • Celebrities compete in event (e.g. golf or tennis or something)…and donors bid on the different celebrities’ likelihood of winning. Winning celebrity does a matched donation of the total bid amount
  • Live virtual auction (instead of silent)
  • 20 Virtual Fundraising Events Ideas LINK

Silent Auction & Online Bidding Platforms:

  • Platforms that folks are using or considering: LINK to google spreadsheet of online auction comparison
    • Handbid – online auctions (e.g. $1000 for up to 75 items)
    • Givesmart – online auction
    • RallyBound – online auction plus peer-to-peer fundraising pages

Specific asks:

  • Does anyone have any experience with virtual golf tournaments?
    • Boulder “I have a Dream Foundation”
  • From Kylie at Partners Mentoring Youth NoCo: I’d love to brainstorm with folks about unique elements to virtual events. People have suggested little kits once you buy a ticket anything like that please feel free to shoot me an email.
  • Can organizations share their virtual events once they have them up and running?  It would be great to see examples. Please share those in this document or email Hannah.


Ideas and Discussion Points:

  • Virtual Q&A with CEO, Virtual Happy Hours
    • Not as much asking as educating and pivoting our messaging
  • Virtual panels with staff and students
  • LinkedIn could be a better tool for philanthropic messages
  • People may have more time or ability to attend a virtual something than even when you had an event because we were so busy
  • There are still donors with high capacity who this is not affecting so find out how to talk to them
    • More individual reach outs, day by day updates
  • Tap into the COVID Emergency plan for your organization especially for phase 2 in which there will be more flexibility for those of us who mentor and support mental health.  
  • Fears that we have no idea how many people will be able to gather when, so when do we pivot our plan
  • We want to see money funneled toward basic needs but also understand how much we are needed now and over the next couple of years
  • Think about how we strengthen our donor base for the long term.
  • Engaging the whole company in fundraising in a different way, how do we strengthen our organizations for the long run?


Ideas and Discussion Points:

  • Most foundations are being very flexible right now
  • Most are looking for new revenue sources; helpful to identify different relief funds
  • During this time, it’s been helpful to focus on collecting data and measuring impact and wellbeing
  • Biggest concern is a year from now and beyond
  • Help Colorado Now (State of CO Relief Fund) – LINK
  • Zim Consulting Emergency Resources for Nonprofits – LINK


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