Faith-Based Fundraising During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Resources

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Are you a church or faith-based organization fundraising during COVID-19? If so, you’ve likely had to make major changes to your typical fundraising strategies. Fundraising during a time of social distancing is especially difficult. Faith-based organizations and churches had to quickly to embrace new fundraising strategies during COVID-19. We’ve collected fundraising ideas from some of our creative faith-based clients. These inspiring ideas have shown great results while still maintaining social distance!

Use social media for communications

Nearly every church and faith-based organization that responded to our questions mentioned that part of their revised fundraising strategy was to be more active on social media. This approach has been highly beneficial. Many people are staying safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, our media consumption has increased. In fact, Statista recently reported a 21 percent increase in social media usage since March 2020. Because people are wary of public gatherings, socializing is taking place largely on social media. The platform of choice for many faith-based nonprofits is Facebook, which is a logical choice considering all of the resources Facebook offers to nonprofit organizations.

Several faith-based organizations mentioned using Facebook Live for livestreaming videos. Others discussed Facebook fundraisers. All mentioned increasing the number of posts they made on the platform. Posts varied in format and content. Some included appeals to help fund emergency needs, others provided regular video updates about the organization, and many shared messages of positivity and gratitude. If your organization wants to start using Facebook for fundraising, check out our best practices for fundraising on Facebook blog post for tips to get started.

Check out some of the many examples of social media communications taking place as faith-based organizations and churches fundraise during the pandemic.

Downtown Rescue Mission

Downtown Rescue Mission of Huntsville, Alabama started weekly video updates featuring their CEO Keith Overholt.

Keith Overholt of Downtown Rescue Mission makes weekly videos as part of his organization's faith-based fundraising strategy during COVID-19.
The Sharing Center

The Sharing Center, a faith-based organization from Longwood, FL, recognized its importance to the community and began regularly posting to Facebook to keep their programs open and serving. The organization posts several times a day. Outside of asking supporters to give to their areas of greatest need, many of their posts included heartfelt thanks for individuals and businesses who support their cause. They don’t focus content solely on the pandemic. However, they make mention of COVID-19 when the situation warrants it.

One such post invites supporters to take part in a virtual event, Sweet Bites and Bikes, which celebrates their 34th anniversary as an organization.

The Sharing Center's Facebook post announcing the last day to register for the Sweet Bites and Bikes Virtual event.
Catholic Charities of Denver

Catholic Charities of Denver also ramped up its Facebook posts. Here’s an example post from their Facebook page regarding the need for additional funds to support those they serve who have been affected by the pandemic. The post links to a fundraising page dedicated to raising money for COVID-19 relief. Creating a dedicated fundraising campaign is an excellent faith-based fundraising idea to use during the pandemic.

Catholic Charities of Denver Facebook Post showing a man with baked goods to serve to people in need at their shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland

First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland also set up a dedicated page and used Facebook to promote its COVID-19 relief fund.

First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland used their Facebook page to encourage the community to give in support of their COVID-19 relief fund.

Host a virtual event

A great faith-based fundraising idea is hosting virtual events. Your organization has likely already explored livestreaming church services during the pandemic.  You can host a virtual event using pretty much the same technology. For tips on hosting a successful virtual event, read this blog post for advice on hosting a virtual peer-to-peer event during the pandemic.

The Sharing Center

The Sharing Center’s Bites and Bikes virtual event provides a new spin on an annual in-person biking event held on the faith-based organization’s anniversary. They promoted the event on its website and social media.

Header image from The Sharing Center's Sweet Bites and Bikes peer-to-peer fundraising page.

They made an impressive, dedicated event page that provided a wealth of details about their virtual event.

Part of the Sweet Bites and Bikes dedicated event page that describes the event and its transformation from an annual in-person event, Sweet Charity. Their event transitioned to a virtual format because of COVID-19.

Create designated COVID-19 pages on your website

Several faith-based organizations and churches fundraising during the pandemic have created COVID-19 relief funds. Some have gone the extra mile to devote a page on their website to COVID-19 emergency relief programs they’re running during the pandemic. Often, they link to a donation form or share ways supporters can give on this designated COVID-19 page.

Catholic Charities of Denver

The COVID-19 page created by Catholic Charities of Denver looks great, shares information on what they’re doing, and includes a compelling video about why they need your help.

This is the well-organized header from their COVID-19 page.

The header image of Catholic Charities of Denver's COVID-19 relief page. Creating this dedicated page for COVID-19 updates and linking to a donation page is a great faith-based fundraising idea.

Click the image below to watch the fundraising appeal video they created for this page.

Screengrab of Catholic Charities of Denver's COVID-19 fundraising appeal video. The image shows their masked volunteers at work providing for those they serve.
First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland

First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland also created a COVID-19 relief page on its website. The page includes a brief statement about the fund’s purpose and offers ways to give, including giving by text.

Description of the purpose of First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland's COVID-19 Relief Fund. Below this statement is their text fundraising keyword and the number to text the keyword to.
Downtown Rescue Mission

Downtown Rescue Mission does a great job of being transparent about its COVID-19 response. Their COVID-19 Updates page keeps their staff, volunteers, and those they serve informed about what’s happening at their organization during the pandemic. The page also includes a statement from their CEO, Keith Overholt. While not the focus of the page, they include a link to a designated donation form to accept donations during this trying time.

Their form shares why donations to their mission are crucial.

Downtown Rescue Mission's COVID-19 Relief Donation Form. This designated form is a great faith-based fundraising idea for nonprofits with COVID-19 relief funds.

Conclusion

It’s often extremely difficult for churches and faith-based nonprofits to pivot their fundraising strategies during an emergency. Being able to quickly adapt to your situation is crucial to fundraising during the pandemic. These faith-based fundraising ideas were enacted quickly to the benefit of these organizations. Your church or faith-based nonprofit can also find fundraising success during the pandemic. Increase your communications on social media. If you didn’t use social media previously, now’s the time to learn how. Facebook offers a wealth of resources for nonprofits such as Facebook Fundraisers and Facebook Live. You should also consider replacing any cancelled in-person events with virtual events. Another great idea is creating designated COVID-19 relief pages and COVID-19 online donation forms to raise crucial funds during the pandemic.

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