Challenges of fundraising during COVID19


Our Head of Fundraising & Communications, Robyn Friel looks at the challenges of fundraising during COVID19.

Fundraising can be challenging for any charity at any time. There are always so many uncertainties to consider when planning any sort of fundraising activity.

For example, what will we do if it rains on the day of our outdoor Easter Egg Trail. What if there is another charity dinner on in Edinburgh the same night as ours (there will be!). What if our application to a funder is one of thousands to be considered?

With a small team of skilled and dedicated fundraisers we usually make it work. However, fundraising during a pandemic that has caused a lockdown and ongoing physical distancing regulations only makes things more difficult.


Changing plans

Each year, I prepare a forecast of fundraised income based on activity that we know will take place like the Edinburgh and Stirling Marathons. Also, events we plan annually like our Ladies Lunch, and fundraising events that our supporters tell us they are holding too.

Forecasting and planning like this helps us to know when we can expect donations to come in and what months of the year there might be a little less.

This helps our Board and our Senior Management Team plan activity for our services too. We are able to plan for any extension of our services if we know there is enough money to do so. The more money we raise the more people with epilepsy we can support.

2020 was due to be a busy year with some new events popping up over in the East. These included our BIG Brainy Quiz and our first Easter Egg Trail in Almondell and Calderwood Country Park.

We planned on hosting another Firewalk event as well as inviting participants to three zipslides in Glasgow, two abseils in Dundee and two in North Queensferry. On 23 March 2020, these plans had to change.


Your continued support makes a big difference

For many years, our fundraising income has been dependent on individuals and groups hosting their own events with family and friends. Daredevils taking on challenges and asking for sponsors, and our own events too.

People really are at the heart of everything we do at Epilepsy Scotland, across the organisation.

Our supporters have been patient with all the postponements, change of dates and cancellations. Many continuing to train and to fundraise despite the uncertainty around their events. Some supporters have used their contacts to run their own raffles to support Epilepsy Scotland.

Others have attended our online events, to see their friends and family virtually and, to support our work.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has helped during lockdown.

Every donation, no matter how small, has allowed our colleagues to continue to be there directly for those affected by epilepsy. Also, it has allowed the Fundraising team to plan as best as we can for the coming months.

My team have been amazing at responding so quickly to the changes imposed, being flexible, creative and most importantly they’ve been great at keeping in touch with all of these wonderful supporters.


Easing of lockdown

I’m sure we were all pleased to see the announcement of plans to relax some more regulations and restrictions in the coming weeks, if safe to do so.

Having these key planned dates makes a huge difference to what we can do. However, there remains a lot of “ifs” and unknowns about what fundraising will look like post-COVID19.

Despite several events remaining cancelled until 2021, we are confident that our first face to face event post lockdown, our new Treasure Trail at Almondell and Calderwood Country Park, will be able to go ahead with the required physical distancing and PPE.

We have introduced time slots for participants to ensure there are a safe number of people taking part at one time.

Also, there will be a pen for each and every Treasure Hunter, no need to share. Now, we just need to make sure it doesn’t rain!

Want to fundraise for Epilepsy Scotland but don’t know where to start? We have created a handy A-Z of fundraising ideas, full of fun ways to fundraise for Epilepsy Scotland.

If you need any help with your fundraiser please email our fundraising team on or call 0141 427 4911.