The COVID-19 global pandemic has triggered a steep economic downturn unseen since the financial crisis more than a decade ago. The coronavirus outbreak has impacted every industry, leading to some estimates that suggest the international economy could lose more than $1 trillion this year. What started in a Chinese wet market has now touched every person, business, sector, and government around the world. One of the first casualties? Non-profit organizations.
Coronavirus Hurts Charities
Many well-known charitable institutions have made headlines for how the coronavirus has affected their operations. A whole host of non-profit entities are reporting being short of funds, staff, and services. It is a rough time for the industry.
The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage since hundreds of blood drives have been canceled. Girl Scouts of USA could lose $800 million in revenue since the group suspended its famous in-person cookie sales. The Salvation Army is bracing for a substantial budget gap as it has stopped fundraising events. In essence, it typically receives about $2 billion a year in donations to help 23 million people living in poverty. Experts warn that the smaller local charities, such as soup kitchens, food banks, and places of worship, will be devastated the most.
A 21-member coalition of major non-profit organizations has contacted the federal government about the disruption to non-profits. The group is requesting $60 billion from Congress to maintain current staffing levels and ramp up assistance.
Foundations have contributed close to $2 billion to combat the virus, and individual donations are likely far higher, according to Candid, a New York-based non-profit that monitors philanthropic giving. They are ready to do more, but experts are concerned that the needs emanating from the pandemic will outpace future contributions, especially if a recession cripples the United States.
In the coming weeks, a tidal wave of charities will be competing for donations more than ever before. In many instances, they might even need to fight for contributions with for-profit businesses. As a result, non-profit firms are turning to digital marketing to spread the word.
With more people staying home – self-isolation, quarantine, or social distancing – web traffic has been booming. Early data show that global traffic growth is up at least 26% from the same time a year ago. This is a huge opportunity for non-profit organizations to take advantage of the additional eyeballs and try to cut down on their gaping budget holes gradually.
Most forecasts had anticipated a big bump in web traffic in 2020, but the coronavirus has added to internet usage rates. Non-profits were already investing in online marketing efforts before the coronavirus, but now they might pour more resources into search engine optimization, email marketing campaigns, and social media advertising.
“Over the past twelve months we have seen an increase of non-profit digital marketing clients due to the competitive market place these organizations now compete in and this was before the economic downturn from COVID-19,” says Ken Moody, the president and CEO of K Moody and Associates a Digital Marketing Agency.”
Industry professionals are also coming to the rescue with valuable information. Recently, a mobile marketing executive launched a Facebook group for charities called The Covid 19 Charity Preparedness. It offers a wide range of support and advice, including sharing tips and offering valuable resources for non-profits.
For now, a lot of charities depend on the local and national news media to get the word out that they need money, volunteers, and supplies. This could work for well-known institutions like The Salvation Army and United Way, but it may prove more difficult for community-based non-profits. So, digital marketing campaigns might be the only way for thousands of charities to survive.
Will the pandemic institute create a transformative and permanent way of how he work, live, and shop?
The idea being discussed in the mainstream press is that the coronavirus will accelerate the digital revolution. We are beginning to witness what it is like working from home en masse, depending on online delivery services for essentials, and spending a huge amount of our free time on the internet. How non-profits fundraise in the future might adapt to the times if this change is long-lasting. This could perhaps mean fewer in-person fundraising events and more digital marketing campaigns.
Whether this will prove to be a successful transformation remains to be seen. Until then, there is urgency in the non-profit sector and everyone is doing everything they can to generate funds. For coronavirus and non-coronavirus causes.