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4 Effective Ways to Ask for Donations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

WRITTEN BY Kristina Brunnler

We get it, asking for donations is intimidating, even during normal times. With the COVID-19 pandemic you might be hesitant to ask supporters for donations when you don’t know how they are faring financially. However, it’s also neglectful to not ask. Why? Well, right now people are desperate to help in any way they can. In fact, a report published by the New York Times found giving has surged during the Coronavirus pandemic, eclipsing donations both during the 2008 recession and after the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

In this blog we’ll share four campaigns from real nonprofits that made compelling virtual donation appeals. We hope these campaigns provide you inspiration and ideas to create your own successful virtual fundraising ask that raises more for your cause.

4 Effective Ways to Make a Donation Appeal During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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1. Demonstrate the Impact of Donations

With money tight for many individuals, impact metrics can help you indicate just exactly what donations dollars can do to help your beneficiaries. Lions, Tigers, & Bears, a wildlife rescue service, created a Help Us “Hang in There” campaign to show supporters how much money they’ll need to maintain humane living standards for the organization’s wild animals. Your supporters may be surprised at how much (or little) it costs to feed a family, foster a dog, purchase school supplies, etc.

Lions Tigers and Bears Help Us Hang in There campaign page.

2. Create COVID-19 Specific Emergency Funds

If COVID-19 is impacting your beneficiaries, create a pandemic-specific emergency fund. Many schools and universities are creating campaigns to ensure underserved students complete their degree or have access to school supplies. Healthcare institutions are creating funds for uninsured or low income patients afflicted with COVID-19. Performing Arts Institutions are creating funds for actors, musicians and other performers who are experiencing a loss of income.

Mercer College COVID-19 emergency student fund.

3. Recommit Supporters to Your Mission

Many nonprofits mistakenly think if their mission is unrelated to healthcare or human services supporters will be unwilling to donate right now. Inspire and rally supporters behind your mission by showing how your nonprofit has specifically been impacted by the pandemic, even if it’s been as simple as canceling important in-person fundraising events. Remind supporters that the work your nonprofit does still matters and you’ll need funds if your organization is to exist after the pandemic is over.

Otis College_s campaign Otis is Essential was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Celebrate Donors in Real-Time

In a socially distanced world, individuals are desperate to connect with others, even if it’s only virtually for now. With online event tools, you can recreate the same environment as an in-person luncheon, gala, benefit dinner or other fundraising event. Many MobileCause customers display a Live Event Thermometer behind their virtual event hosts, displaying donations made in real time. Others use a progress circle on their Event Page to show how close they are to meeting their fundraising goals. With both of these tools you can celebrate supporters as they give and encourage more in-the-moment donations during your live or pre-recorded virtual event.

Culinary College live streamed their event with text-to-donate instructions behind live preformers.

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of fundraising right now? Our team of digital fundraising experts can help you launch a compelling virtual fundraising campaign from start to finish. Request a free consultation here:

As philanthropy surges during the Coronavirus pandemic, take this time to reach out to new and existing supporters. You may be surprised at how much you can raise without ever meeting supporters in-person. We hope these four campaigns gave you some inspiration to launch your next campaign and make a compelling fundraising appeal, even during challenging times.

Kristina Brunnler
Marketing Manager


Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how MobileCause can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.

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Download these free resources to help you maximize your fundraising efforts,
or take a peek at our library of free resources.

Click here to download this Infographic: 5 Ways to Use a Live Event Thermometer to Inspire More Giving
Click here to download 11 Live Fundraising Appeal Scripts: Templates for Crafting a Successful Ask
Click here to Download Your eBook! Building Meaningful Donor Connections in a COVID World

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