Many organizations’ fundraising plans were dashed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fundraising events organizations had planned months in advance, such as profit shares and 5Ks, had to be canceled or significantly altered when Texas A&M moved classes online and the shelter-in-place order took effect in Brazos County in March. While there has been a large impact on fundraising efforts, some organizations have responded by using virtual platforms to raise money.
Some organizations fundraise to acquire money they need to keep operating, while others donate the money to professional organizations or charities. Computer science junior Eric Weiss, the fundraising executive for MSC OPAS, said the money raised by the committee is given right back to the professional side of the organization to bring performances to Rudder.
“[The money is used] to bring professional shows around,” Weiss said. “Or to have performances that we can invite schools of grades eight and under to come see performances for free, just to introduce them to the arts.”
However, Weiss said every in-person fundraising event MSC OPAS had planned was canceled due to stay-at-home orders.
“We had a bunch of other [ideas] we wanted to try,” Weiss said. “Given everything that happened, we not only had to cancel everything we had planned, [but] we couldn’t even try all the things we were going to plan.”
Kappa Alpha Theta also felt the effects of COVID-19 when they had to significantly alter their biggest fundraising event of the year, Rock the CASA 5K. Child professional services junior Leah Felton, Theta chief external affairs officer, said the 5K was held in a virtual format, with participants running remotely to accomodate for social distancing guidelines.
“We changed the event to be a virtual 5K,” Felton said. “It was still a $20 registration [fee], but you just ran on your time, wherever you were on Saturday, April 18. That registration money still went straight to CASA.”
Rock the CASA 5K raises money and awareness for CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. Felton said the organization assigns advocates to a child taken out of their home by a judge, and the advocate stays by the child’s side through the whole process of foster care. Felton said 700 people registered to run at the event last year, but there were much fewer this year.
“We had just over 200 [people register] this year, which we expected,” Felton said. “We expected it to look a little different … but thankfully we were still able to raise just about $40,000 through donations.”
Weiss said MSC OPAS has found it difficult to continue with their fundraising efforts, since most of their planned events were profit shares. Weiss said the committee has only been able to continue one form of fundraising.
“We just started using Amazon Smile for the year because I had forgotten that this existed for our committee,” Weiss said. “I brought it back in – I’d say at a good time – so that everyone ordering things on Amazon Prime could order directly from Amazon Smile and a portion of the funds could come to us.”
The results of these alternative fundraising methods did not meet their expectations as they looked toward the end of the semester. Felton said despite the disappointing situation, there was still good that came out of it.
“It’s sad that the event itself and the material aspect of it was gone, but that doesn’t mean our goal and mission changed at all,” Felton said. “If anything, it pushed us further to work harder and love and support CASA even more.”