Wise Giving Wednesday: Fundraising Evolves in Response to COVID-19

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calendar icon Jul 17, 2020

Yesterday, an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy caught our attention: “Street Canvassers Switch to Telemarketing and Donor Stewardship During Pandemic.” Armed with their electronic pads and shirts/vests that proudly display a charity name and logo, sidewalk solicitors became a popular fundraising technique in most metropolitan areas. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put the brakes on this development method as we remain six feet apart and practice social distancing. While face-to-face fundraising is not likely to return in the immediate future, the Chronicle reports that some organizations are using telemarketing as an alternative approach to get new donors, especially those contributors who are willing to make automatic monthly gifts similar to the ones promoted in sidewalk solicitation. If managed well, this might work out but charities will need to be mindful that cold call telemarketing, contacting individuals who have never contributed previously, can sometimes result in a low rate of return and higher fundraising expense. Nevertheless, this may enable organizations to effectively redirect the skills of in-person marketers to another medium.

With the cancellation of other in-person fundraising methods such as galas, dinners, walkathons and other social gatherings, charities have turned to virtual alternatives to help fill the gap. These can range anywhere from online auctions and game tournaments to virtual walks where participants take photos and share their individual experiences online, instead of as a group. To some extent, these creative choices are helping charities move more of their fundraising online sooner than expected. And, it is possible that such active online engagement might help encourage younger individuals to become contributors. For now, perhaps that is one of the silver linings that coronavirus has brought to philanthropy. Of course, there still is much uncertainty about how charities can best make up for the contribution losses many have experienced. Let’s hope the charitable sector finds more silver linings.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video interview with Kim Callinan, President and CEO,  Compassion & Choices (a BBB Accredited Charity) that seeks to provide education, advocacy, media outreach and litigation to expand end-of-life options and improve medical care. The organization reports it works nationwide in state legislatures, Congress, courts, medical settings and communities to empower people with information and tools, including its free consultation program, to receive healthcare that is consistent with their values and priorities as they approach the end of life.

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance



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