The Power of Online Community Fundraising in the Time of a Pandemic


Over the past two years, the world of fundraising has changed dramatically. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for charities to go digital, and fundraising strategies have had to change and adapt. As a result, many charities have moved to digital solutions, some of which had never embraced digital before.

This was essential not only to maintain engagement with supporters, but also to diversify revenue streams. According to the Enthuse Charity Pulse Winter 2021 report, 38% of charities saw declining revenue or experienced high levels of volatility.

Navigating through uncertainty

At one point Macmillan was considering a potential risk of revenue loss of up to £100million. To help reduce this shortfall, the association has worked in an agile way using innovative methods. However, it faced many obstacles, including no direct contact with colleagues or supporters, and a third of its staff were furloughed.

The charity found that, not only was it on a steep learning curve, but its supporters needed a lot of guidance and stewardship in times that were both difficult and unpredictable. It became immediately apparent that the charity needed to quickly change and adapt its fundraising plans.

Nothing accelerates the use of digital more than confinement

Enthuse gave Macmillan the perfect foreclosure solution, with an online credit card machine that accepted donations, handled Gift Aid and paid the money directly into the relevant fundraising group’s bank account – and they didn’t even have to leave the house.

Fundraisers were able to set up fundraising pages as well as registration pages for virtual events. However, this did not come without difficulties. Some of the groups initially struggled with the idea of ​​IT and digital – but they quickly embraced the technology and went on to set up several online fundraising initiatives with great success.

Consider future fundraising strategies

Macmillan thought less about strategy during the pandemic because everything was so unpredictable. Instead, he decided to focus his efforts on becoming more agile. The charity wanted to improve in what it does and how it does it.

Prior to the pandemic, Macmillan had already identified areas of its fundraising revenue streams that were in natural decline. He had already been testing ways to retain existing supporters, with the aim of adding more long-term value to his existing portfolio. It is for this reason that the charity was able to shift from focusing solely on revenue to focusing on conversion, retention and lifetime value.

The charity has diversified its fundraising portfolio and found that innovation and stewardship are key to the future of fundraising. In Macmillan’s case, the pandemic accelerated an already evolving fundraising strategy.

Five Key Learnings

Here are five key points to help your charity focus on fundraising from the digital community:

  1. Agile innovation is essential in this new world of fundraising and charities need to be flexible.

  2. Encourage your supporters to embrace digital and help them eliminate their fear of being online.

  3. Aim for high-value, sustainable forms of fundraising to add to your portfolio.

  4. Think about your different supports and what will work best for them. A “one size fits all” solution will not work.

  5. Never underestimate the power of community!

Enthuse offers a community fundraising solution where charities can engage local fundraisers on a larger scale than ever before. Charities can use fundraising and branded event registration solutions to celebrate the power of grassroots fundraising and connect community groups under one branded platform.


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