Fundraising During Times of Economic & Social Uncertainty

Times of economic strife and the social anxiety they can breed — not unlike those caused, most recently, by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic — are inevitable.

But they do not have to be catastrophic, or even detrimental, to your nonprofit organization’s fundraising efforts.

In fact, you may be surprised by how well your fundraiser can perform during times when logic tells us that donorship levels may be lower than normal.

Why Fundraising Is Feasible During Economic Downtimes

In 2018, Americans donated more than $427 billion to charity, a record high.

What’s more impressive, however, is that our generosity does not diminish amid even the bleakest of economic conditions.

According to its 2019 World Giving Index report, which measured giving behavior across 125 countries around the world, the Charities Aid Foundation found that 58% of Americans help a stranger, donate money to a charity, or volunteer time to an organization.

That percentage is more than any other country in the world.

The CAF’s 2019 report comprises data collected over a 10-year period, from 2009 to 2018, much of which was characterized by the lingering financial uncertainty of the Great Recession of 2008.

People tend to continue their generous ways during the toughest of times. And as economic conditions improve, so, too, do the philanthropic contributions.

Keys To Running A Fundraiser During An Economic Downturn

Above all, when trying to fundraise within an unfavorable economic environment, it’s important to conduct business as you normally would and not drastically alter your fundraising goals.

If you evaluate your competition, you’re likely to see that they’re pre-occupied scaling things back.

As such, your number one goal should be to stay the course — if not be more proactive than usual.

Here’s a checklist of items to keep in mind when running a fundraising event during hard economic times:

  • Engage existing donors to reinforce value of your mission
  • Improve online visibility to enhance brand awareness among new audiences
  • Collaborate with fellow nonprofits to combine resources, increase efficiency
  • Educate (don’t solicit) prospective donors about your message
  • Use downtime to identify and plan future initiatives

Checking off these items will present you with a unique opportunity to not only establish a deeper relationship with your existing donors but interact with prospects that you may not have the chance to reach otherwise.

Benefits Of An Engraved Brick Campaign

No type of fundraiser is completely insulated from the effects of an economic recession, but some are more versatile than others.

Donors of your organization want to feel like they’re part of the action, so to speak, which is best achieved by attending an event in a physical space, but this can be a challenge when money is tight.

Ideally, you’d like to throw a fundraiser that provides donors with the same level of intimacy and participation.

Fundraisers that rely solely upon online or mobile participation, such as crowdfunding and text-to-donate campaigns, offer a ton of convenience, but they lack an element of intimate involvement that donors tend to seek.

Engraved brick campaigns allow donors to participate from a distance, but because their contributions take the form of a tangible item (an engraved brick or tile), the sense of involvement is not lost.

This is only magnified once the fundraiser is complete and the donated bricks and/or tiles are used to construct any type of physical structure, such as walkways, entrances, plazas, patios, etc., which can be visited by donors at any point in time.

Here are some additional benefits of brick fundraising:

  • Cost savings
  • Emotional significance
  • Scalability
  • Diversity
  • Lasting impact

Cost Savings 

Engraved brick campaigns reduce your operational expenses and increase your earnings potential.

A brick with three lines of inscripted text typically runs $18-21, and the suggested donor price ranges from $50-150.

You’ll save additional money on bricks that are laser-etched over those that have been sandblasted, which can cause the brick’s color and integrity to degrade over time.

Emotional Significance

Engraved bricks and tiles can memorialize a loved one, pledge support for an alma mater, or advertise a business.

No matter the reason for the contribution, there’s emotion involved for the donor.

But there’s also an emotional bond that forms between donors and the community in which the structure is ultimately constructed.


Engraved brick campaigns can be as big or as small as the structures they’ll help create.

Is your nonprofit a library in need of a small bench people waiting outside the building? Or, is the goal to create a massive plaza where students of your university can congregate?

In either scenario — and in all of those in-between — an engraved brick fundraiser is the perfect way to see your project to completion.


You can use brick and tile fundraisers in partnership with other charity drives, such as bake sales, scavenger hunts, trivia nights, and charity auctions.

Brick fundraising campaigns can also be conducted online to allow for increased participation. All you need is a professional donor webpage, and you’re ready to go.

We’ll even design it for you!

Lasting Impact

To some donors, many fundraisers today — primarily those that are conducted online for convenience sake — feel like they’re over as soon as the donation has been made.

Brick fundraising campaigns create something memorable, and the donors know that what they give now will endure for a lifetime.

This type of sustainability holds much more weight than the simple click of a donate button on a website.   


Executing a successful fundraiser during an economic downturn is not only possible — it’s likely.

We all like giving back. And history has shown that we do so under any condition, even those that suggest we may have less money to give.

As such, it pays for nonprofit organizations to stay the course during tough times.

Doing so may mean adopting some ideas and methods that may seem non-conducive to or misaligned with the values of your mission, but a little open-mindedness and creativity can produce some pretty surprising results.


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