Fundraising in a Time of Crisis: Lessons from History


While the full impact of Covid19 is still unknown, we do know it will have an impact on short-term fundraising activities and depending on what actions you take over the coming weeks and months, it may impact your long term fundraising strategies.

Ireland’s not-for-profit sector needs to remain robust in the light of Covid-19. The threat brought on by the spread of the Coronavirus is not the first crisis to hit the sector; it will also not be the last. However, many of Ireland’s not-for-profits are not preparing themselves for the worst.

What can we learn

In 2008, 2into3 published “Fundraising in a Cold Climate” which examined the how fundraising is impacted at a time of crisis. With Covid-19 becoming a potential negative impact for Ireland’s not-for-profit sector, 2into3 once again looks at the potential impacts of crises on fundraising.

  • Lessons from the past. In the US, crises did not necessarily impact fundraising
US Fundraising in times of crisis

(For explanation of data and sources please see attached report)

• Based on 2into3’s Annual Fundraising Performance Report, the Irish not-for-profit sector bounced back.
• The financial impact caused by Covid-19 will impact different organisations in different ways.
• Yes, fundraising will be impacted. But different methods and organisations will be impacted in different ways eg some health not-for-profits may see increases as a result of Covid-19 (hospital foundations for example).
• What is your fundraising mix? Below is 2018 fundraising income mix.

2into3 fundraising mix

2into3 suggests:

  • Review your strategic plans and funding models
  • Highlight any potential over reliance on one form of funding/fundraising and take action to rectify this.
  • Communicate with your donors. This is key! People will remember the effort you make.
  • Tax code needs to facilitate more philanthropic giving.
  • Use evidence to inform your decision-making (Quarterly Fundraising Monitor, is one source)
  • Read “Fundraising in a Time of Crisis: Lessons from History”