Fundraising reimagined: How are nonprofits raising money amid COVID19?


TRI-CITIES (WJHL)- Non-profits are having to re-imagine their fundraising efforts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A lot of events have been canceled this year due to COVID19 and fundraising efforts for area nonprofits are no different.

The pandemic has forced them to turn their in-person events into virtual ones.

“Healing Hands Health Center like everybody else has been affected by COVID19,” said Helen Scott with Healing Hands.

Healing Hands Health Center just had its 15th annual fundraising gala but had to move attendance from in-person to online.

“For the past 14 years, we have had an event where we’ve had about 300 people come and help us raise a lot of money to help the uninsured of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia,” said Scott.

The Christian nonprofit Health Center is one of several nonprofits in our region to adapt to the new normal.

“It’s all virtual this year so that comes with a big learning curve for everybody,” said Kristan Spear, President and CEO of United Way of East Tennessee Highlands, “That’s really our only option is to try to reach people virtually.”

Usually, the United Way of East Tennessee Highlands would be fundraising in person as well.

“Normally a lot of what we do is go to businesses, talk to employees, present presentations, and talk about the impact their donations have throughout the community,” explains Spear.

Now, they’re behind this year in their fundraising goals.

“Normally by now we probably, just as we kicked off our campaign and started, we probably raised about 200-250 thousand dollars,” said Spear.

But, due to the pandemic United Way of East Tennessee Highlands is sitting at around $50,000 in fundraising efforts, which is for from their usual mark.

“This year’s campaign is running a lot later just because everybody’s schedules and ‘normal’ has changed.” Spear explains, “So we are behind when it comes to our annual campaign probably by about a month.”

Both organizations say this year’s changes to fundraising will probably roll over into years to come.

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