Non-profits have to get creative when it comes to fundraising in the age of COVID-19

Posted at 4:26 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 20:40:05-04

Many local nonprofit organizations have been unable to hold some of their biggest fundraisers of the year due to the COVID-19 crisis. 23ABC’s Tori Cooper takes a look at how they’re finding creative ways around it, and how it impacted their organizations.

When COVID-19 hit California traditional fundraising events were wiped off the calendar.

“Those fundraisers here in Kern County are the linchpin for so many of our non-profit organizations. They are the thing that keeps them afloat,” explained Kristen Beall, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation.

Beall said she and her colleagues work to connect generous donors, individuals, families, and businesses to energize community members and organizations to help match their charitable interests with our community’s needs. But when COVID-19 started to make its mark the non-profit organizations that she was connecting others to for support were also now in need of support.

Considering they could no longer fundraise in the traditional way Beall told 23ABC News they had no choice but to get creative to generate funding for services.

“Many of those non-profits partners who have really started to think outside of the box. We’re seeing virtual fundraisers. We’re seeing virtual events.”

The Kern County Cancer Fund, a local non-profit that raised over $600,000 for cancer patients and their treatment last year is also feeling the sting from COVID-19. The virus is reshaping fundraising events like Campout Against Cancer that usually generates $400,000 for local patients. Now it is going completely virtual.

“What we found with virtual is it seems like fun but people like to gather. People like to come place and do something together and so we are trying to do the best we can for that. But it's just... we know that our fundraising is going to be around 25 percent of what we anticipated for this year,” said Michelle Avila of the Kern County Cancer Fund.

Monthly they spend around $18,000 a month for patients and without fundraising efforts, it's becoming more challenging to meet the need.

Beall said after surveying nearly 130 non-profits in Kern County she found they need more than just monetary support.

“We need help with our staffing and helping them to understand and embrace a resilience type of thought process,” said Beall.

The Kern County Cancer Fund is continuing its efforts to bring the community together to fundraise for patients with their virtual run-walk coming up in two weeks. You can register for $25 and support a patient and get active.