Is it ok to fundraise during this pandemic?

 Written by:

Jesse Lane, Goodmaker & Founder

Branches Mission Lab


I had someone recently ask me: “Fundraising basically has to stop right now, right?”

And you might be wondering… “Are people still giving to nonprofits during this global crisis and uncertainty?”

Valid question.

Let me tell you a quick, shocking, story about what happened yesterday…

One of our clients, Mercy House Global, had their annual giving day yesterday.

A day that has been ‘on the calendar’ for a long time — since before, you know, the world radically changed.

About a month before the giving day, our team got asked to help them with the campaign. In our initial planning discussion we talked about what the fundraising goal should be for the day.

We all nervously wondered: “will people give in this environment?”

One of the leaders on their team suggested a goal of $40k.

Given that they raised $66k on that day in 2019, and given there was a global pandemic, it seemed like a fair goal.

But, in faith, and confident we had a solid plan, we all together landed on a goal of $70k for the day.

$70,000 would be enough to fund 2 months of operations for their maternity homes in Kenya, where they rescue teen girls who have become pregnant in the nearby slums and give them a safe place to live, as well as access to medical care, counseling, and support.

Our team had the privilege to help build strategy and craft messaging and emails for this giving day campaign. We worked on the campaign every day for about 3 weeks leading up to the big day: Tuesday, May 12th.

One of my recommendations was for the Founder to do a Facebook live celebration that night. She was hesitant, but agreed to do it if we raised $40K or more that day.

I told my wife, the night before, that I felt similar to how I used to feel as a pitcher on the mound. Lots and lots of pressure. It is terrifying, and yet in an odd way, I love it.

I went to bed Monday night with emails scheduled, lots and lots of prayers, and butterflies.

The next morning, we woke to a solid start…

$10k by 8am…

$20k by 10am…

I had a call scheduled with their team at 10:30am. We were sitting at about $26k. I was feeling positive but still a little nervous.

Will the giving slow in the afternoon?

Will we hit $40k?

What about the goal of $70k?

It was too soon to tell.

But then, a miraculous thing happened.

While we sat on the Zoom call, I refreshed the giving page and saw a massive jump in the numbers! I couldn’t hide my excitement…

“Um… guys… the total giving just jumped about $20,000!!”

Sure enough, an incredibly generous person gave a completely unexpected gift of $20k… with a credit card… during a Pandemic.


We crossed that $40k mark! (whew!)

From there the momentum picked up and didn’t slow down until that evening…

We crossed the $70k mark just after noon.

We decided to set a new goal of $105k, going from 2 to 3 months of operating expenses for the maternity homes in Kenya. It was a stretch, but at this pace, maybe it was possible.

We passed $105k a few hours later.

At 8:30 that night, they had their live celebration on Facebook, and were sitting at $142,000!!

And the tribe SHOWED UP to celebrate with them!

That video now has reached thousands of people with over 1,600 comments!

And, my favorite part, their community of donors posted the most beautiful things in the comments… that they were in tears, that they had been watching the giving number all day, they shared memories of giving in the early years, so proud to be a part of this miracle day and this incredible organization.

The total raised for the campaign is now just under $150,000.


So… are people still giving during this global crisis?

Yes, many people are giving, in faith. And giving big.

By the way, if you want to join this incredible story, you can still give at this link:

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