The health sector is particularly affected by the current pandemic. It has become difficult, if not impossible, for many to keep their cause at the forefront as COVID-19 has moved up the agenda of all citizens and, eventually, all donors.

While yesterday many were shouting loud and clear that their organization deserved all the attention and that it was about supporting the cause of health, today radio silence or the slowdown of activities could significantly harm your organization.

Here are some tips on how to minimize the damage resulting from the crisis.

Be there for the employees of the institutions you serve
If you are a foundation for the CISSS or the CIUSSS, for example, try to maintain your field presence and show your support for the heroes who must continue to work. Choose portraits of employees to highlight virtual recognition of their achievements or offer encouragement. You could even launch a fundraising campaign where you invite donors to donate in honor of an employee who continues to make a difference in the healthcare system.

Don’t give up on your causes
The COVID-19 crisis is not monopolistic. Other illnesses and medical conditions do not take a break and your donors must be made aware of them. So don’t abandon the ship until the storm subsides. Stay focused, adjust your fundraising programs, your annual and major campaigns as appropriate, but don’t stop!

You must, beyond any doubt, assure your donors that despite the crisis, you are still there and relevant, and that you still need funding. On the other hand, criticism could be quick and you must avoid coming off as opportunistic or insensitive to the financial situation of your donors which could be precarious.

Failure to adjust your messages to the current context would be a big mistake and your donors may not forgive you for it. So, in your communications and solicitations, make sure that you demonstrate your understanding and resilience to the current situation and that you still need support, whenever possible. You must demonstrate that you are aware that not everyone will be able to work hard to support your cause and that this is perfectly understandable and admissible.

Take charge of your budget
Nothing less, you say. But a budget that relies on cancelled, deferred, or reduced funding is of little use. Manage temporarily through spending by making informed choices and rethink your solicitation and your income generation continuously. You must quickly assume, both at the Executive Management, the Board of Directors, and the Institution you support, that you could face a financial loss in your fiscal year (shortfall of revenues over expenses) and that it will affect your ability to fund projects.

Reflect on your dependence to events
Your spring sports challenge and your annual fundraising cocktail just fell through and the impact is considerable? It may be (unfortunately) time to think about your vulnerability to your dependence on events. Although they are interesting for the outreach of your foundation / establishment and certain categories of donors, we all know how expensive, energy-consuming and increasingly competitive events are, especially in health care sector. Take this time to consider further strengthening your relationship with your donors, a long-term strategy that allows you to build real philanthropic relationships with those who support you.

Take care of your people
Don’t become poorly shod shoemakers, and make sure, as an organization dedicated to people’s health and well-being, that you are responsive to the needs of your employees and your Board Members.  Have more meetings, more discussions and keep all communication channels open to maintain cohesion despite the distance.

Take your time
You may be passively observing the loss of parking revenues, event cancellations, campaign postponements and you may be feeling overwhelmed. Rest assured, we would all be. Take the time to analyze all cash flow channels and brainstorm on each of them to see how you could adapt it (best choice), postpone it (if necessary, but beware, everyone will have the reflex to “shovel” ahead and fall will be overloaded) or cancel it (Unfortunately, sometimes there are no other options).

When it is necessary, it is necessary
You have explored all the scenarios to diversify your cash flows (draw – perhaps not a travel raffle ticket right now, internal campaign, virtual fundraising activities, etc.), but there is nothing you can do, you have to cut back? You are not alone and, organizations sometimes have to make difficult decisions if they still want to serve vulnerable clients after the crisis. So, we recommend that you explore all provincial and federal programs first.

Difficult decisions to make during the pandemic?
BNP Human Resources is here for you!
Contact us at 1 888 528-8566 or on

Some good shots to inspire you