How to Create a Contingency Plan for Fundraising Events

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Shakespeare’s famous words were never so true as they are today. As the world reacts and attempts to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, many nonprofits are forced to cancel their in-person fundraising events. As always, the care and safety of a charity’s participants is a top concern. That creates a dilemma, however, as the very same issues that disrupt events often worsen the need for the good a nonprofit’s event can achieve.

In this article, we address how to manage these disruptions so you can continue to raise funds in ways that keep your donor base safe and your mission moving forward. You will also learn how to prepare your nonprofit for cancellations as well as provide your donor base with other opportunities for individual giving, such as online auctions, do-it-yourself (DIY) initiatives and ongoing form-based donation campaigns.

Start with Cancellation Preparedness

Always be prepared for a cancellation. Whether it is an unforeseen natural disaster or a global event like a pandemic, being prepared with an alternative digital event can save time and stress as well as continue to move your fundraising efforts forward uninterrupted.

Preparing in the Event of a Cancellation

• Ensure the safety of your participants by prioritizing cancellation communications for individuals that may be vulnerable. Prioritizing contact to preserve event-goer safety should be your top priority.

• Ensure you have a way to reach volunteers, participants and spectators. This means gathering contact methods such as email prior to the event, verifying your contact database accuracy and expanding all messaging channels across social media and the web.

• Verify and establish clear terms and conditions in sign-up forms and online donation forms, so givers can turn to them for clarity. Whether the money goes directly to the mission or is used for an online or later event, being clear how the money is deployed goes a long way to building trust and credibility and keeping your donor base engaged, even when a disruption occurs.

• Review insurance policies to determine what coverage an event venue has for the date of the event as well as for cases of postponement or cancellation.
Each of these steps will create a smooth transition from your physical event to your Virtual fundraising contingency plan, should you have to cancel.

Virtual Fundraising Contingency Plans

When an in-person event is canceled, providing donors with an opportunity to continue to raise but on their own terms can help keep them engaged while still raising funds. Here are a few ideas for Virtual and DIY fundraising events.

1. Competitive Virtual Walkathon

Deploying a fitness tracking devices in an online competition allows participants to raise funds on their own, while improving their health and virtually competing against other participants.

2. Online Auctions

Live online auctions can serve as a great way to raise funds from donors at home. Also, offers access to a public bidding community that has more than 1 million bidders, so you will expand your bidder audience while also raising funds.

3. Ongoing Donation Campaigns through Donation Forms

If you haven’t already, spin up branded, unlimited donation forms that can be linked to through any website or social feed. This allows you to continue to fundraise even in the event of an event cancellation through your network of donors.

4. A Real-Time Online Donor Leaderboard

Reward online donors with a real-time donation page that tracks all of the top donors. Leaderboards create an engaging digital experience that promotes donor connection for limited-time events like giving days while creating urgency, awareness and fun.

Reaching More Donors

If you need additional guidance on how to engage your donors online or navigate a canceled event, please contact us and we can help advise your team.



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