Fundraisers Cancelled When Virtual Isn’t an Option

Nonprofits are reconfiguring their fundraisers to reflect social distancing. Auctions are moving online, walks and races are employing a combination of fitness apps and the honor system, and dinners are morphing into virtual events with heavy pledge drive pushes.

Not every event works at a distance, however. The Oklahoma City’s Homeless Alliance traditionally coordinates a Curbside Flowers fundraiser with Mother’s Day. Its beneficiaries assemble and sell flower bouquets at pop-up locations. This year, the Alliance planned on opening a brick-and-mortar store.

Neither the store nor the bouquet assembly happened. “With such uncertainty in the world and disruptions in the floral industry, it just isn’t possible for us to do our Mother’s Day flower campaign this year,” organization officials wrote in a Facebook post.

“While we know it’s not the same, please consider making a donation this week in honor of your loved one at curbsideflowers.org,” officials requested.

The Latino Community in Oregon had originally moved its Gala de Oro fundraising dinner, auction, tequila tasting and party from April 4 to July 25. after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a four-week ban on gatherings of more than 250 people in mid-March. Supporters of the Bend, Ore.-based culture and community support group were told the programming, including a “fabulous Latin band,” had committed to the new date.

But with the ban on large gatherings continuing, the organization has removed the event from its July calendar. Organization leaders did not announce plans for making up the lost donations.

The Montana Independent Living Project (MILP) is keeping one small part of its Derby for Disabilities fundraiser going. The Helena, Mont.-based nonprofit, which provides living skills for people with disabilities, cancelled its May 2 event.

While donors will not be able to participate in silent and live auctions, a hat and bow tie contest, and live betting, they will still be able to purchase raffle tickets for a trip to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. But that promotion will raise, at most, $20,000, a fraction of the event’s normal take.

The 2020 Kentucky Derby itself had been postponed from May 2 to September 5. The MILP has not announced plans for holding a concurring Derby for Disabilities event.