During the global Covid-19 pandemic, we have been constantly told to adjust our behaviors to suit the so-called ‘new normal’. Although many parts of our lives will, inevitably, return to normal as we knew it last year, that certainly isn’t to say that all will – with jobs, socializing and fundraising potentially changing forever.
Charities, especially those that rely heavily on mass fundraising events, have taken a hit. With events such as the London Marathon, which sees tens of thousands of fundraisers every year, having either been canceled entirely or postponed to later in the year, hoping that the global situation improves, the repercussions will be huge. Of course, where there is a will, there is always away, and there are numerous examples of fundraisers utilizing technology and online charity systems to raise money online.
Arguably, the most famous example of this is Captain Tom Moore, soon to be a Knight of the Realm in recognition of his efforts, which raised more than £33 million for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. Believe it or not, the original target was a far more modest £1,000, with the war veteran setting the challenge of walking a hundred 25-meter laps of his garden.
As publicity and awareness continued to grow for the fundraising event, boosted by social media posts and appearances via video link on national newscasts, more donations came. This was helped, in no small part, by the cause being something that was exceedingly relevant at the time (with the national message relayed by the government to save the NHS in the time of crisis, along with a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, commonly referred to as PPE).
Captain Tom’s effort successfully reached out to the emotions of a nation and demonstrated what can be achieved even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Ramadan in Lockdown
For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is the holiest month in the calendar and represents a period of reflection for all those of Islamic faith. This month is also the most popular time for donations to be made, known as Zakat, where Muslims donate a portion of their expendable income to help those who are most in need.
Much of these donations would usually be made in person at the mosque but, with mosques around the world either completely shut or allowing only limited prayers, this has not been possible for most. This is where Islamic charities, such as www.ukim.org, have seen a significant upturn in online donations due to the international crisis. The charity has even lead the way in launching its Covid-19 appeal.
Because of online donation platforms such as this, while Muslims have been unable to break their fast and celebrate Eid along with their friends and family in the style that they ordinarily would do, they have still been able to uphold one of the five pillars of Islam, which is charity. Because of the additional importance of online donations this year, more so than any other year, it was essential that the platform could not only continue to perform with higher amounts of traffic than would be usual but also ensure the security of all transactions that were made.
Just as we are keeping in touch with loved ones virtually, charities and fundraisers are also encouraging those who can to raise money in the same way. Even before the global pandemic, there was a rise in the popularity of virtual running events. Participants can pay a fee to enter an event – complete and log a set distance in a certain timeframe – in return for a finisher’s medal. It works in the same as any other fun run would, just without the hoards of people running with you and a crowd to cheer you on (sadly).
This appeals in multiple ways, especially regarding sporting events. Firstly, it allows people to feel still as though they are part of a community. Secondly, with exercise one of the few reasons why you have been allowed to leave your home, it has been a great excuse to get some much-needed fresh air and respite from sitting inside the same four walls. Thirdly, it appeals to the participants’ sense of achievement by awarding their efforts with something tangible such as a medal they otherwise wouldn’t have for solo exercise.
For the charity, this is great as it allows fundraising to take place any time, anywhere, significantly increasing the opportunity for funds to be raised for its respective cause.
Even though we can’t enjoy a coffee cup with our mum and dad right now, we can still take part in one of our other favorite pastimes – quizzing. Families around the world have been jumping on Zoom for the weekly quiz, always hosted by the family member that most fancies themselves as their resident, Steve Harvey.
That has also prompted a lot of fundraising activity, with various online quizzes inviting people to pay a small fee to take part in. Working just the same as your regular pub quiz, either all or a portion of the proceeds then go to a charity of choice, certainly putting the ‘fun’ into ‘fundraising’.
Making the Best out of a Bad Situation
No one is enjoying being stuck in lockdown. Still, it is all about finding the opportunity hidden in chaos, and that is precisely what so many charities and fundraisers have been doing. Lockdown measures have made us all feel more grateful for what we took for granted just a few months ago, which has made the population more giving and charitable as we all pull together during uncertain times.
It will be interesting to assess how the behavior of those that give to charity changes as the world moves out of the global crisis and back to normal, or as close to normal as the so-called ‘new normal’ allows us to be.