We should not fundraise in the pandemic because:
Theme 1 – State of the economy
We ought not fundraise because the economy is in bad shape:
People don’t have money to donate to charity because they’ve been furloughed or laid off
Our charity will be criticised if we fundraise right now because people have been furloughed or laid off.
There’s no question that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the world’s economy. There are certainly people in every country whose incomes have declined and there are many people struggling financially. That’s exactly why we can’t forget that the role of charities is to effect the greatest necessary change in the world. Many of the most acute changes needed right now are related to the impact of Covid-19. Some of those impacts are being felt right now (such as with food shortages) and others will be felt over a longer time horizon (such as with the decline of the performing arts).
All charities play a crucial role in our society: often, they fill gaps left by the government and the market economy. In the wake of Covid-19, those gaps are more acute than ever, and that means charities are more important than ever.
When charities ask for support, they are asking on behalf of those they serve: the under-served youth who need places to play; the future generations who will benefit from advances in medical research; the wildlife in need of protection. In fact, because research shows that most people only give to charity if they’re asked to do so, charities have a duty to their beneficiaries to ask for support.
Some charities are concerned about being criticised for being insensitive by asking for support during the pandemic, particularly if they are not engaged in ‘frontline response’. In fact, because they have a duty to their beneficiaries – the people they serve – they risk criticism by not fundraising. A lack of action sends a message to a charities’ beneficiaries that they are not important.
Some charities may feel that asking for support when people are struggling financially is inappropriate. Although many people’s incomes have been affected, there are others whose financial circumstances are unchanged. The lockdown has altered spending patterns, meaning that some people may have more money available to donate to charity than previously. Charities have always appealed to people at all levels of the socio-economic scale. Charities’ most loyal supporters are often those with modest incomes giving small regular or cash gifts.
It is important to remember that giving has been proven to have numerous positive effects. In a time of social distancing, people are looking for ways to feel connected to each other, and giving can offer that sense of connection.
Giving a gift, of whatever size, to charity is a hugely positive and empowering action for a person to take. While charities have a responsibility to fundraise responsibly and effectively, it is not our place to decide whether people have the financial capacity to give