As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis, rising temperatures and seas remind us that we’re also facing a climate crisis. If you’re fundraising for climate action during the COVID-19 turmoil, here are seven strategies that could help.
If your team is trying to find the best way to fundraise for the climate crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Consider these seven tips as you plan your approach:
1. Empathize with your donors.
More than one year after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, we are still living through it. Millions of people have lost their lives, livelihoods, and sense of security. Your donor communications should acknowledge that times are tough and the difficulties are different for each of us. Frame any ask by recognizing the many factors impacting people right now and affecting whether they can give.
2. Highlight COVID-19 + the climate crisis.
The pandemic dominates the news and minds these days, but it’s not our only emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of zoonotic viruses, which transfer from animals to humans, are symptoms of a planet in crisis. Habitat destruction, species loss, global warming, and illegal wildlife trade all contribute to the increase in viruses like COVID-19. And communities that are feeling the pandemic’s worst effects are also bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. However, the people in those communities can best deal with the challenges of both crises. Make a case for why they should get the resources needed to do that.
3. Explain the benefits of climate action.
Supporting conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and other climate efforts is also a way to take action against future pandemics. A 2015 study by researchers at Ecohealth Alliance found that nearly one in three outbreaks of new and emerging diseases are linked to land-use change like deforestation. The world’s forests protect animal habitats and shield humans from infectious diseases, so addressing deforestation could help reduce the likelihood of devastating global pandemics.
4. Reconnect with a story.
People who once cared about your cause—whether it be conservation, ecosystem restoration, or pollution prevention—probably still care. Bring them back to your mission through storytelling. Introduce them to someone like Tuta, who worked with Sadhana Forest Kenya to restore a forest after construction and population growth destroyed it. Stories about real people impacted by the climate crisis help donors relate to your work and give them another reason to offer their support.
5. Be transparent about COVID-19’s effects.
The pandemic likely changed how you fundraise for the climate crisis and manage your daily operations. Foreign volunteers left, in-person events were canceled, and you might have temporarily switched gears to serve your community’s immediate needs. If you had to introduce virtual programming, equip your staff to work from home, or continue covering rent with significantly reduced revenue, let your donors know. The pandemic is shedding light on the importance of flexible funding, and by being open about your situation and needs, donors will better understand how they can support you.
6. Emphasize individual influence.
As the pandemic continues and so much feels uncontrollable, offering people a way to directly impact others can also help them get through this challenging time. Show your donors how they can do that by donating to your mission. Remind them that all donations—large, small, one-time, or monthly—make a difference to your organization and cause.
7. Strengthen your connection.
Let your supporters know that you value them, even if they can’t donate now. Immerse them in your work and make them feel part of your community by offering virtual behind-the-scenes experiences like Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s sofa safari. Consider organizing an engaging virtual fundraising event or a webinar about a timely topic related to your work. Maintaining your connection with donors will help you fundraise for the climate crisis even after the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.
Featured Photo: Support Indigenous Medicinal Gardens in the Amazon by Alianza Arkana