Photo: Nonprofit Internship Program

Post-Pandemic: Is Fundraising and Volunteering Back to Normal?

Posted on September 14, 2023 by Lisa Ooley, Nonprofit Internship Program

Editor's Note: Since 2018, The Patterson Foundation has strengthened a collaborative partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (LFSOP) through the Advancing Philanthropic Leadership (APL) initiative. The Nonprofit Internship Program, one piece of the APL initiative, offers current LFSOP students an opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience through PAID remote internships while strengthening nonprofits in the Suncoast region.


I recently had the opportunity to work remotely as an intern for Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center in Sarasota, Florida. Like other nonprofits, they saw a decline in fundraising and volunteering during the pandemic.

Most businesses have started to bring folks back into the office, kids have headed back to in-person classrooms, and people have started traveling. In all indications, it appears things are back to normal, but are they when it comes to donations and volunteering?

At Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center, donations still seem to be down, and they are struggling to build their volunteer pool. One of their obstacles is that just when things seemed to be returning to normal, hurricane Ian hit the area, and many businesses and homes were destroyed or heavily damaged.

Unfortunately, many Floridians are still trying to recover financially and don’t have the extra funds to donate currently. However, I remind donors that time costs nothing, and there are so many ways you can help small nonprofits like Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center, whether by providing support for their onsite programs or providing transportation to and from those events.

Since many of us got used to technology during the pandemic, I worked with Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center on a monthly campaign to try and encourage their donors to set up a recurring monthly donation they could “set and forget.” Lighthouse is also looking into implementing various cash apps to make it easier for donors to donate.

Now more than ever, it is time to remind supporters what attracted them to your organization in the first place. Remind them of your mission and the need for your programs. Be honest and upfront with your donors and let them know the challenges you are facing.

Things may seem to be returning to normal post-pandemic, but the need for donor support has never been greater and is far from normal.

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