Color photo of Pierce County team: Kim, Riley, Tzil, Sara and Josh

Nonprofit Support in the Time of “Social Distancing”

Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, public health officials have advised local organizations to encourage employees to work from home and urged anyone feeling unwell to self-quarantine. This week Washington State banned large gatherings of people. Massive events, like the Emerald City Comic-Con and even South by Southwest in Austin, TX have already opted to postpone or cancel in light of these conditions.

In the nonprofit community, many organizations rely on annual galas, luncheons, and other events to generate a significant portion of their income. Most fundraising events have either been cancelled or moved to “virtual” campaigns through the end of March already, like our Pierce County Open House, and many more organizations have a limited window to decide how to proceed with future events. We’re watching the news closely, following the progress of other nonprofits in similar situations, and hoping we’ll have more (and better!) information by the time we need to make that call for our Seattle luncheon in May. Stay tuned for updates from us in a few weeks.

In the meantime, the potential loss of this event revenue, in addition to dismal financial news, is concerning for many of us, and we are scrambling to adjust in ways that will allow us to maintain our commitments to our clients, our staff, and our missions. Local funders like The Seattle Foundation and The Gates Foundation have joined with corporate partners to pledge additional dollars of support for those on the front lines and those working with communities impacted by the virus thru the Covid-19 Response Fund. We’re grateful for these coordinated efforts, and we also want to encourage everyone who regularly supports our many local nonprofits to consider giving what you can to virtual events and online fundraisers. And if you don’t regularly donate but you can, now’s a great time! 

Here are links to just a few organizations we’ve heard from in the last couple of weeks who are struggling with cancelled or postponed events:

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