Despite all the challenges facing the UK, when international emergencies hit the headlines – whether it’s the Turkey Syria earthquake which struck in February, the drought/food crisis in East Africa or the ongoing conflict in Ukraine – many have been moved to donate to relief efforts. However, emergency fundraising comes with its own challenges and opportunities.
The Importance of Emergency Fundraising
Emergency fundraising is essential to any organisation’s response to a crisis. It allows organisations to mobilise community donations and create a support system for those who need it the most.
For large emergencies, a coordinated response through the Disasters Emergency Committee is often agreed to avoid competition and donor confusion. The DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal raised £48m.
Organisations such as the Red Cross, provide emergency response here in the UK too and there current UK crisis appeal highlights work “from responding to severe weather events, to helping people get home from hospital and bringing comfort and kindness to those struggling with loneliness.”
Many UK charities were and remain at the fore front of responding to the Covid and cost of living crisis. In response to rising needs and demand for their services, many have taken the opportunity to seek emergency donations from supporters.
Emergency Fundraising Guidelines for Organisations Responding to Crisis
When a crisis hits, your organisation may be inundated with requests from the public wishing to donate. Or you may choose to plan a proactive campaign to supporters seeking extra help for the current crisis. Here are some guidelines to bear in mind:
- Consider Your Networks: At a time of crisis reach out to those who have supported you in the past and who know you best. It can also be a good time to get in touch with potential prospects.
- Make it Easy for Donors to Donate: If you can, set up an online donation page or system that makes giving as straightforward as possible. This will help keep the donor experience positive and make donating easier than ever in times of stress!
- Keep Donation Levels Simple: Don’t overload donors with information about every penny they’re contributing – let them know simply what their money goes towards (food, shelter, advice etc.). This way, people feel more ownership over what’s being done and are less likely to give impulsively when overwhelmed by the situation at hand.
- Be Flexible With Your Timing: When setting fundraising deadlines, consider whether you need extra time due to the volume of donations and processing delays caused by extreme weather conditions or other emergencies happening simultaneously across Ukraine.
- Keep Your Donors Informed About How Their Money Is Helping: Keep your donors updated on how their money is being spent. This could be through regular updates on your website, social media, or personalised thank-you notes. This way, donors feel appreciated and know that their money is going to a good cause – which could encourage them to give again in the future.
- Explain Why Your Organisation is Well Placed to Meet Needs: Point to your track record, to your community networks and effective ways of working. This is an opportunity to inspire and build trust and confidence.
- Thank Your Donors: Don’t forget to show your appreciation to your donors – even small gestures like personalised thank-you notes or shout-outs on social media can make a big difference. This will help keep them motivated and encourage them to donate again in the future.
It is clear that emergency fundraising is a complex and challenging undertaking. In particular, it is important to have a clear and concise message, to build a base of support before an emergency arises, and to be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. With these considerations in mind, emergency fundraising can be a successful and impactful way to support relief efforts.
Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants can help you plan or review your fundraising programme. We are the longest established firm in the UK and has a strongly vocational approach to our work with charities. Get in touch with us.