When Nonprofit Event Cancellations Happen, Here’s What to Do

room with empty stools
|3 min read Fundraising Event

We know that nonprofit event cancellations can be stressful and confusing for all involved. However, this can be a time to connect with supporters and work together as a team to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. In these situations, it is important to act quickly, work closely with your team, and over-communicate. If you don’t know what to do when an event is canceled, we offer some tips below to help you create a plan.

Charity event cancellations: five steps to take

1. Make sure your team members are on the same page

Before notifying the public of any changes, it’s critical that you hold a staff meeting to align internally, share updates, and clear up any rumors that may be floating around. This is the perfect time to outline a communications strategy for donors, supporters, sponsors, and other stakeholders.

 2. Communicate with stakeholders about funds

After postponing nonprofit events, we know that you may need the funds already raised more than ever. Connect with your team right away to discuss the best option for handling donations and registration fees. Consider whether to keep them, offer refunds, or offer donors other options.

3. Keep your donors educated and updated

It’s important to proactively communicate with supporters who have already invested money in your event. You can do this by posting updates to your fundraiser that communicate developing news to your supporters and messaging donors directly. Be sure to reference reliable news sources in your area or government agencies for updates during times of crisis, such as natural disasters or disease outbreaks.

Assure supporters that all of their concerns are important to you and that you’re answering their phone calls and emails as quickly as possible. If you have a time estimate of how long it will take you to reply, be sure to share that with them too. Remember that it’s best to give your staff more time than needed in case it takes longer than anticipated to address all concerns.

4. Consider taking your event online

Can your event can be transformed into a virtual one? Well-run virtual events can deliver a meaningful experience for your supporters, and they’re easier than you might think. Races, endurance events, even galas can easily be transitioned to a virtual format on GoFundMe Charity. Check out our blog post How to Host a Virtual Event to learn more.  

5. Show appreciation and be transparent

Thank your donors for their support, and let them know what’s going on to the best of your ability. It’s okay if you don’t have all of the answers right away. It’s better to be transparent than to communicate information that may not be accurate. Share with supporters how the crisis that interfered with your event may be further affecting your organization, and ask for their help. Make sure your ask is clear and specific, and let donors know how their dollars will make an impact.

Turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity

Dealing with event cancellations after months of planning is never easy, but it can also be an important opportunity to show your donors how much their support is needed. If you stay connected to your supporters and work quickly with your staff, a canceled event can have a positive outcome. If you’re still wondering why GoFundMe Charity is the best option for your nonprofit, take a look at our blog for nonprofit fundraising ideas and tips. Or check out our Help Center for information on how to use our platform to its full potential. 

Start for free