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We should not fundraise in the pandemic because:

Theme 3 – Emergency response to the pandemic

  • If we are not directly involved in the frontline response to the pandemic, we should not be


  • We don’t want to be seen as ‘capitalizing’ on the current situation.

  • It is unethical to be ‘begging’ for money when so many people are dying.

  • Philanthropists are only interested in Covid work right now, so it’s not worth fundraising – we would be wasting our money to try to compete.


There are two suggested responses to the emergency response challenge – the first responds to the first three bullet points above and the second responds to the last main bullet point. 

First suggested emergency response counter-argument


Our role as a charity is to effect positive change on behalf of our beneficiaries. Our mission has not gone away, in fact it may well be even more critical in this novel situation in which we find ourselves.


We are going to need money in order to continue our work. In fact, our very survival might depend on continuing to fundraise and we know for sure that most people only give to charity if they are asked to do so.

It isn’t up to us to determine which needs are more urgent or more important. Fundraising is ethical when it balances our duty to ask for support on behalf of our beneficiaries with the rights of the donor to choose whether to give at this time or not. We cannot presume to know what is in our donors’ minds, nor to choose on their behalf whether to give or not.


It is our job to anticipate and understand the needs of our beneficiaries and communicate this effectively to our supporters, or potential supporters. It will be up to them to decide if they want to give at this time. 



Second suggested emergency response counter-argument


It may be that fundraising in a pandemic is actually more effective, especially for charities which can show a particular need related to the pandemic.  For instance, a zoo might desperately need to fundraise to feed their animals because they have lost revenue from ticket sales or parking. 


For others, raising money might be more difficult, but we need to rely on good data to help us make decisions about the approaches we might take to fundraising. We need to adopt a more professional attitude, making sure that we research, test and generally rely on what the market is telling us rather than just assuming that people won’t give.


Our cause is too important for us to retire entirely from the field.


It makes sense for us to remain connected with our donors even if not every communication contains an ask.  Our donors will tell us by their reactions if and when they are ready to give.

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