Fundraising during the COVID-19 pandemic - Part 2
by Alex Blake

Prepared on 18 March 2020

What have I learned in the last 48 hours?

On a personal note, I have learned that the head teachers at my children’s schools are both awesome. One is delivering meals to families eligible for free school meals who are self-isolating. The other shares this: "Most young kids will remember how their family home felt during the Coronavirus panic, more than anything specific about the virus. Our kids are watching us and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. Let's wire our kids for resilience not panic." Absolutely, teach them kindness and resilience – they will grow up to be fantastic fundraisers!

At work, we are fortunate to already be able to work just as effectively at home as in the office, so we have been busy supporting the charities we work with and finding ways to support the wider sector. I have been sharing information and advice online and have had individual calls with charities who are all impacted in different ways and are responding with resilience, kindness and professionalism. It’s great to see the positive action people are taking, from individuals to charities of all sizes and our amazing infrastructure charities at both local and national levels. They are working incredibly hard to represent and support our sector in these challenging times and this crisis shows what an important role they play.

Our next step is to provide a fundraising helpline for charities seeking advice on how to respond to the fundraising challenges presented by COVID-19. If you want to get in touch, our details are here.

The three questions supporters want answers to

I believe the most important thing you can do right now is to speak to your supporters. Be proactive, clear and transparent. Fundraising is all about relationships and great relationships are built and maintained with clear communication.

Before you do, make sure you have worked out the answers for your charity to these questions:

1. What is the impact of the pandemic on the people you support and your services?

2. How are you looking after your staff and volunteers?

3. What is the impact on your funding/fundraising and how can your supporters help?

One example of covering these points that I particularly like is from the Bone Cancer Research Trust, which you can view here.

COVID-19 funding appeals

At a global level, the World Health organisation, United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation launched the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the funds raised on the Facebook Fundraiser are being matched by Facebook up to $10m.

At a local level, community foundations around the UK are starting to launch response funds to raise and distribute funds locally to support charities impacted by the pandemic.

There are also many charities, local, national and international, launching their own emergency appeals whether to help a direct response to the impact of the pandemic on their beneficiaries or due to their lost income. Numerous examples are given in these articles:

And finally, the National Emergencies Trust has launched an appeal to raise funds to help those most affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak. It looks like this will then be distributed through local community foundations across the UK.

Grant funding

There are now over 150 funders that have signed the statement hosted by London Funders.

Emergency support fund for London charities

This fund has been created with £1m each from the Greater London Authority and the City Bridge Trust. London Funders are leading this initiative and aim to bring more funders on board. Some further information is available here, but the fund will not actually open until next week.

Community Foundations launch local COVID-19 response funds

We are aware of funds being launched by some community foundations who are putting in their own funds and also asking local funders, businesses and individuals to contribute too. For example:

Cumbria Community Foundation

Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

• Local charities should check what your local community foundation is doing. I think most are preparing to provide support, even if they have not yet launched, so check their news pages.

Government support for charities

The sector’s national infrastructure bodies have urged the chancellor to implement measures to support the sector including an emergency fund, tax deferments or waivers and inclusion in the support measures for businesses. The Government has said it will look at what more can be done to support charities affected by coronavirus. Details of the package of support are expected to be announced later this week.

Government support for businesses

Between the budget and the additional support announced on 17 March, small businesses are being offered a support package including: 2-weeks statutory sick pay reclaim; business rates relief; a £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises; a £10,000 cash grant to the smallest businesses; the new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; deferred tax payments. Further information is here.

Resource Links

As you will know there is a lot of information and advice being provided in relation to COVID-19 and it is constantly changing so it is challenging to stay on top of things.

As information changes quite rapidly, we will attempt to keep our information up to date but other places to keep an eye on are:


The Institute of Fundraising

COVID 19 Charity Preparedness Group

Government updates.

If you would like to speak to me personally about any of this, please do get in touch directly on

Comments are closed.