COVID-19 Events Fundraising

Dealing with Event Cancellation during COVID-19

And other ways to improve your fundraising during this time.

In the first Konect Webinar presented in partnership with Una Buro and Phil, Simplyk’s co-founder François de Kerret discusses ways to deal with event cancellation due to COVID-19 along with some good fundraising tactics for the pandemic. These tips are based off expertise from nonprofits using Simplyk’s services. Watch the video or read more below.

Simplyk’s co-founder François de Kerret on dealing with event cancellation and more.

Adjusting your event to COVID-19

What events will be affected?

Organizing charity events doesn’t come without its challenges. However, COVID-19 is a challenge that no organization was able to prepare for. At this point, we know that all events from spring to fall have or may be affected by the pandemic. No matter what you do to adapt your strategy, you need to reach out to your community and keep communication open. Let them know how you will be proceeding for upcoming events. Will they be cancelled, delayed, or is it to be determined? Let them know as soon as possible and respond to any concerns they have.

What will your strategy be?

When looking at what to do about your events, there are three routes you can take:

Postponing the event
  • Postponing your event is a good option if the event is applicable to any time of year, meaning it doesn’t depend on the weather, other events you want to host or any other variable factors.
Keeping the event the same

Especially if your event is a few months away, you can maintain the date until you have a better idea of what the situation will be on that date. Here are a few tips if you choose to keep the date the same:

  • Set a deadline to decide if the event will happen. This way it is clear for you and the rest of your organization that a decision will be made on this day. It will allow you to keep preparing and also give expectations to everyone who depends on the event.
  • Communicate with your attendees. Let them know how you are going about the process, what you are planning and how they can adjust.
  • Give them the option to be refunded. Participants may not want to attend for various reasons, so you need to be accommodating to cancellations. Be sure to communicate clearly that you are accepting cancellations if you choose to do so.

Our tip: Whether you maintain the event or post-pone it, you can replace the registration with free pre-registration. Right now people don’t want to pay when they don’t know if the event will happen. It will give your participants flexibility, but also keep the date marked in their calendar.

online cancellation during COVID-19 Simplyk
Fondation La Fontaine added a pre-registration option for their upcoming event.
Cancelling the event Due to Covid-19

If you must cancel the event due to COVID-19, there are different options you can choose from to deal with ticket sales:

  • Convert the tickets to donations. For example, if cancelling a gala with tickets priced at $200, suggest your guests convert the payment to a donation and provide a tax receipt on the full value.
  • Propose credit for a future event. This way you maintain the funding and guests can look forward to a free entrance to your future event.
  • Cancel the event and refund the payment.

You may be wondering which option is best for your charity. Find out by reaching out to those who were supposed to attend your event. Call a few key participants to see what they think is best and what they prefer.

In general, 50 % of donors will ask for a refund, especially corporate donors. The bright side is the other half will want to convert their ticket into a donation!

Other strategies for your charity during the pandemic

There is still a lot of great work you can be doing right now, even if your operations have slowed down. You can start implementing creative ways to fundraise virtually or begin planning for the future! Here are some ways you can plan long term.

Contact your donors

Before you start on your new plan, you’ll want to do some research on what you should be doing during this time. Specifically, you want to know how your donors are expecting to interact with your organization right now. To find out, reach out directly to 10-20 of your largest donors. Really take the time to know how they are feeling and reacting to the situation. Your strategy will depend on them, so you need to know before you start planning new fundraising activities. For example, you might find out that your donors have more availability and are eager to participate with your charity online. This will let you know that you can focus on online events.

Start thinking longterm

Your activities may have ground to a halt because you just can’t do your usual programming. This could be the time to do that long term planning you’ve always wanted to do, but never get around to. Look 6 months to 5 years into the future. Where do you want your organization to be? How many lives do you want to have touched? Once you get a good sense of your long term goals. You can develop steps to slowly achieving them. You may want to adjust:

  • Your communications strategy. You might want to focus more time there or start using a new technology that will help improve it.
  • Your data use. Are you analyzing donor behaviour? Or what is really making your events successful? Take the time to see how you can use your data to get better results.
  • Your donation form. Is it the best it could be? Look for improvements you can make such as:
    • embedding to your website
    • adding clear and precise explanations of why donors should give (using examples with pictures and numbers!)
    • having a call-to-action
    • thanking the donor

This will prepare you for the next few years, so when things start going again you have that organized, and can focus on getting back up and running.

Our tip: This may also be a great time to work with consulting companies. Look out for some that have more time and are offering discounts for nonprofit organizations.

At Simplyk, we are constantly in discussion with organizations about the different ways they are adjusting to the pandemic. If you need advice on how your organization can adapt or if you have some great insight, feel free to contact us at .
Check out our Other posts related to COVID-19:

COVID-19 Donations Events Fundraising

Virtual fundraising and social distancing – a guide

Your organization needs donations, even during COVID-19. Here’s how you can do it fundraise virtually.

With fundraisers and activities cancelled by the pandemic, it’s time to be innovative to make up for missing funds.

Donors still understand that your work is important, especially during a time of crisis. This article presents ideas for virtual fundraising events, with suggestions for the right technology and partnerships, to ensure that your fundraiser is a hit!

1) Remote Dinners

This option is proving popular, with many organizations such as Parkinson Quebec launching remote dinner events. Here are our tips for making sure your virtual dinner is a real success:

Using basic technologies

The most frequent choice is to use a video conference solution such as Zoom, with a ticket office for NPOs such as Simplyk (a free ticketing platform). Eventbrite or Paypal can also be used if you are indifferent to fees. The direct connection is easy to set up, so that each participant is registered for dinner on Zoom as soon as they have registered on Simplyk!

Who’s cooking?

Once you’ve decided on the theme of dinner, here are four innovative ideas to make your donors feel invited to dinner:

  • Ask someone to do a cooking class. Why not a guest chef?
  • Send standard boxes ready to cook. The ingredients and recipes are already in the box, and you can partner with Quebec companies like Cook-it or GoodFood.
  • Team up with a local restaurant that delivers. We know that local businesses have been massively impacted, so they’ll be happy to participate and be valued.

If it is the participants who are cooking, a competition might be the motivation they need!

Simplyk used to share offices with the Quebec meal delivery kit, Cookit. Contact us and we can put you in touch with them!

Propose a Zoom call, with a theme and dress code

It is very easy to provide a background for participants. With zoom, you can even send images to participants so that they choose the one they prefer. (Zoom fund ideas here)

zoom virtual fundraising event

If you combine this with a dress code, your participants will feel like they are all together at an event!


  • Small breakout rooms can be organized in Zoom, so that your participants can network in subgroups.
  • Many artists, especially those from the radio could be willing perform.
  • Involve your board, your volunteers and all of your collaborators! You can join an auction! (see example 3)

Any other ideas? Write to to share them! She’s our specialist. To start, create an account on

2) Sporting events

Obviously it is difficult to organize a race or a walk during this time, but rest assured, there are solutions! It’s still possible for all of your donors to walk, run or exercise at home!

The application Strava allows everyone to track their activities, such as distance travelled on by walking, running or biking, the time spent doing yoga, or even the workouts completed. Set up a Club on Strava in just a few minutes to gather your donors and launch challenges.

Strava virtual fundraising event

With Simplyk, each participant can make a virtual fundraising campaign with a donation objective and an exercise goal too! It is 100% free of charge and easy to set up.

Questions about this? Contact the sports events expert or create an account at

3) Auctions and how to organize them

There are two innovative solutions for remote auctions which ensure that 100% of the donations come back to you at the end, giving you another option for virtual fundraising.

The first is to make an auction where each person raises the bids on Zoom. At the end you put the final price into your Simplyk ticket office and the winning bidder pays online! You can also use online auction platforms if you are ready to take on large fees.

Dwight Schrute of The Office, after mistaking an auction for The Price is Right

The second is to make a silent auction off of goods donated! This will require a bit of work in adapting the number of donations to be auctioned and their value, but here is the idea:

You present an object with emotional or artistic value, and each person makes the donation of their choice to the organization. The person who makes the largest donation receives the object, and the others receive tax receipts!

Your donors will enjoy the game, but are there primarily to support you.

Any questions about this? Contact the auction expert or create an account at

4) Other ideas!

  • Organize free activities and propose that donors support you with a voluntary or suggested contribution. The results are always impressive!
  • Organize a fake radio show with a real presenter.
  • Have a board game evening on
  • Organize a virtual fundraising garage sale. Each of your donors sell stuff they no longer need on Facebook or on Kijiji, and profits goes to the organization! (Be sure to remind your donors to respect social distancing guidelines when delivering the sold items.)

5) Cultural organizations

Many museums and theatres use Simplyk, and sometimes feel that, because they are not on the front line, they shouldn’t ask for donations. Yet, more than ever, art and culture are missing from our confined lives, and your donors and members are still out there.

Here are some actions implemented by organizations:

  • The Théâtre la Bordée offered a live facebook performance
  • A museum will offer donors dinner that includes a presentation of photos of works of art.
  • Another theatre is launching a podcast.
  • Finally, a museum will share archive images.

If you have financial needs, we suggest that you ask donors to make a contribution. You will be amazed by their generosity. Why? Because you offer quality 🙂

If your organization is in the cultural sector, don’t be afraid to offer voluntary contributions when you offer quality content.
Remember that your donors pay for Netflix etc … they will be ready to pay for your quality content.

Any questions?

You can create your campaigns in 5 minutes with Simplyk. It’s 100% free, meaning that all the donations you collect really go to your mission!

Contact us at !