Stay Alert! The future of charity fundraising events post COVID-19
COVID-19 continues to cause disruption across the world, but as the UK and its neighbours in Europe begin to tentatively ease restrictions, charities are once again starting to look at their event planning for the rest of the year.
And for charities that have previously relied on face to face fundraising as an important part of their strategy, this slow easing of the restrictions is prompting questions: when will events start again and what will they look like when they do?
As the Co-Founder of TapSimple, I have been following this conversation intently - my day is almost entirely spent talking to charities, volunteers, fundraisers, and sector representatives who all want to know: what happens next?
When will events start again and what will they look like when they do?
Pre-lockdown we helped support charities of all sizes by providing our contactless and chip & pin enabled devices at hundreds of events, from small on-street collections to large 900 person gala dinners, and we recognise why charities are so keen to re-start this type of fundraising - there’s nothing quite like face to face human contact for building relationships, raising donations (particularly the lager amounts), and engaging long term supporters.
At a time when charity is needed now more than ever, what does the future of fundraising events look like?
Here are 5 things we’ve been hearing:
1. Many charities are getting the planning done now.
Yes, there remains an element of uncertainty regarding the lifting of government restrictions, but there appears to be a growing sense that smaller-scale events could be taking place as early as July, and a return to larger-scale events as early as September/October. If you’re a charity or fundraiser, now might be the moment to put in place a “Project Restart” plan if you haven’t already got one.
2. Events may look a little different in the short term.
It’s not just about following the guidelines (which is, of course, crucial), but about making donors feel comfortable. More vulnerable donors, in particular, will decide to social distance and take particular care long after lockdown. Expect to see more outdoor events, smaller, more hand-picked guestlists, provisions for social distancing, and perhaps even optional face-masks and hand sanitizer.
Now might be the moment to put in place a “Project Restart”
3. The average age of attendees may fall in the short term.
While the data is not definitive, it does suggest that younger people are less at risk - and consequently many charities are thinking about a restart strategy that particularly involves potential donors in their 20s and 30s. For some, this includes “toolkit” event packages that provide easy tips and ideas for supporters to host their own small get-togethers.
4. Virtual Events are here to stay.
How many of us have already tried a video quiz with the office or friends? How about virtual wine tasting, cocktail making classes or coffee mornings? Or even live stream comedy or magic? Lockdown has allowed many charities to realise the potential to connect with supporters and raise donations virtually in a way that has several advantages: cost, convenience, and the ability to scale way beyond the capacity of a venue. They won’t entirely replace in-person events but expect to see many more of them in the future.
5. Despite everything the “new normal” will still be familiar.
We’ve seen some wild predictions, and COVID-19 has undeniably upturned the world, but in the end we don’t expect the end of events as we knew them. Yes, changes in the short term are likely as we all adjust to life post-lockdown. But face-to-face events are important and there’s a growing confidence amongst fundraisers - give people time and we won’t have seen the last of events as varied as mass participation exercise challenges, church fundraisers, gala dinners, drinks, coffee mornings, auctions or presentations.
Feel free to get in touch with us here at TapSimple if there’s anything we can do to help you get prepared to hit the ground running, or if you just want to chat
Stay Safe and Best Wishes,
TapSimple helps charities raise more donations in an increasingly cashless world. Our first product allows fundraisers to unlock the fundraising potential of their smartphone with built-in Contactless and Chip & Pin, and the ability to enable Gift Aid on donations.
Stay tuned for more on our new Ticketing and Virtual Events software (coming soon).