As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the U.S. in March, an immediate need arose for one of our healthcare clients. The foundation’s lodging partner, who hosts outpatients traveling long distances for cancer care, was forced to close due to the novel coronavirus. Patients were unexpectedly faced with increased expenses to secure a safe place to sleep, healthy food, laundry services and transportation to and from treatments.

With a goal to ensure cancer care could continue uninterrupted for these patients, a rapid response digital fundraising campaign was conceptualized and developed—three emails and three Facebook posts—with a simple focus to communicate the urgent need for support and provide an opportunity for donors to contribute.

The campaign asked for gifts to the Patient Support Fund, incorporating compelling copy and images that communicated the immediate need. This quick and timely ask for donations resulted in the foundation’s most successful digital campaign to date. Even more important, it raised funds that will help patients and their families focus on their fight against cancer, and not unexpected financial burdens.

When an organization faces rapidly changing circumstances, email and digital channels provide nimble, immediate and effective options to communicate information and needs. A commitment to building a digital program—including investments in tools, audience development, engagement strategies, testing and analysis—strengthens an organization’s year-round fundraising health and ensures the digital structure is in place to support its mission, even in times of crisis.