The Covid-19 pandemic has provided an unexpected opportunity to build public understanding of fundraising, according to the Italian Fundraising Association (ASSIF).
“When the health crisis hit the nation, Italians were quick to take action to support their national health system,” says Nicola Bedogni, ASSIF president. “Large numbers of fundraising campaigns were set up and we recognised the need to ensure that the public could identify those that had been validated by hospitals in order to feel confident in their giving.
This was a real opportunity to encourage an ethical and open culture of fundraising, and to build public understanding of how the sector operates. Public health organisations were neither equipped nor prepared for such mass fundraising activity, with the risk that many donations would not reach the intended recipient due to lack of relevant knowledge and financial crediting or collection issues.
ASSIF members, together with Italia Non-Profit and an informal group of fundraising professionals with emergency appeals expertise, took the opportunity to collaborate on the Donazioni Corona Virus initiative, which currently includes 140+ hospital-approved fundraising campaigns.
Bedogni says: “The initiative is not intended to express judgment of value or merit to the campaigns; its goal is to help citizens get acquainted with the crowdfunding platform system and get to know how each platform works and how to directly support hospitals.”
ASSIF also supported the creation of a Fundraising Taskforce for Hospitals during the Covid-19 Crisis – the first Italian group of fundraising experts offering pro bono support to public hospitals for managing fundraising campaigns on crowdfunding platforms. This initiative, created by Job4Good, demonstrates the importance of secure processes and professional fundraising expertise in order to engender the public’s trust.
Currently, more than 30 fundraisers have contributed to the taskforce, monitoring 250 campaigns and helping to raise more than €800,000.
“The hope is that these initiatives will help raise awareness about the culture of fundraising at a national level, so that it can be promoted during and beyond the crisis,” Bedogni adds. “Moreover, these actions can lay the foundations to a more prompt national fundraising response should similar crises happen in the future.”
Written in collaboration with Lisa Vacca, consultant and leader of the ASSIF Triveneto local group.