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How to keep calm and carry on fundraising despite these extraordinary times

The lockdown has meant that many charities are suffering from lower income through reduced casual donations, fundraising events and traditional face-to-face collection methods due to the following of government guidelines.

We know it’s a stressful time for smaller and community based charities which is why we’ve been thinking about ways to keep both motivation and cash flow going through this period.

Here are seven tips to keep calm and carry on fundraising in these extraordinary times:

1.Online fundraising and text fundraising are easy to set up and quick to get going. How can you use these techniques to raise money? Can you appeal to influencers or celebrities via Instagram or Twitter to support your cause?  The more people that share your donation URL or SMS number the better and it’s free to ask. Once you gain momentum you can then start to spread the word further.

2. Approach your local paper to see if they will write about your cause for free.  They may even agree to a more formal partnership where they use your campaign on a regular basis.  This works well for local newspapers who need to attract readers with interesting editorial content.

3. Set a challenge. With everyone stuck at home the will to get up to do anything is slowly decreasing, so why not consider a challenge that is relevant to your charity and ask people to get involved? For example, a children’s charity could do a painting challenge for kids, a homelessness charity could challenge people to clear out 10 items of clothing and place in clothing bins or take to a local collection point. The idea can be anything that gets people doing something.

4. Use this time to make sure you’ve got your passive donation mechanics in place.  For example, on your Facebook page do you have the donate button enabled? If not, do this. Do you have an easy way to donate on your website? If not, this can done via DONATE. Do you have a database of regular supporters? Can you text them with a donation keyword?

5. Create an SMS raffle. This is super easy to set up and can be very effective.  With all the pubs and shops currently closed they will be looking for ways to get their customers back once lockdown is lifted.  Why not ask them if you can offer a prize of a free meal for two or a gift voucher and run an SMS raffle with your supporters? ‘Money can’t buy’ prizes are also super valuable.

6. How can what you do help with the COVID-19 breakout? Is there anything you can do to help with supplying food and medication to the vulnerable for example? Do you have vehicles or specific equipment that can be repurposed? Any help you can give to the overall effort, apart from being the right thing to do, will help with your visibility during this crisis. Set up a social media campaign to publicise your efforts and to gather nominations for people who need help. These hyper-local campaigns have been working extremely well during the last month or so as people look to their local community for help.

7. We’ve all seen the success of the Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’ workout videos, and while we’re not suggesting you don your trainers and do a workout video (unless you want to!) live-stream videos are a great way to keep in touch with your supporters. You can share stories about the work you do, ask others for their stories and generally maintain the rapport you’d get as if you were face-to-face fundraising.

We recognise how hard this time is for small charities and charitable organisations and that it can be disheartening and demoralising to see your fundraising activities curtailed, but there are a few things you can do to keep things moving along during this time.  The National Funding Scheme has a number of options available to help and it’s quick, easy and good value to set up any of them.

Having worked with small charities and organisations such as The Big Issue North, The MS Society and a number of local community charities such as Parent Teacher Associations we have a huge amount of knowledge about what works.

As a charity ourselves we’re here to help and advise. Do drop us a line via Twitter (@NFSUK) or Facebook ( or email or just pick up the phone and call us (020 3174 2276).

We’re always pleased to have a chat and give what advice and guidance we can.

We wish you all the best of luck and will continue to share ideas for smaller charities.  #supporteachother