This story has been updated to include new information.
Events across the Upstate have been canceled or postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and those cancellations have affected the fundraising efforts of nonprofit organizations. Several groups have had to cancel large-scale events that provide a significant portion of their fundraising goals. Now, these organizations are having to shift gears in order to maintain their targets and continue the important work they do.
Two organizations that are having to adjust their fundraising here in the Upstate include the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance and the American Heart Association.
Cancer Survivors Park Alliance CHOP! Cancer event
The Cancer Survivors Park Alliance canceled its CHOP! Cancer event scheduled for Friday, March 20. The event has been rescheduled for August 28.
“Our board and staff first and foremost support the well-being of our supporters, clientele and community,” Cancer Survivors Park Alliance’s executive director Kay Roper said of originally rescheduling the event. “We felt postponing CHOP! Cancer was the only option for us not to compromise our guests.”
The postponement of the event, an amateur cooking competition, would have cost the alliance a significant amount since it’s the group’s largest fundraiser. “We typically net about $130,000 during CHOP! Cancer,” Roper explained.
In a statement announcing the new date, Roper said, “The well-being and health of our community is the number one priority. We are grateful to have such wonderful partners and participants who were happy to make these adjustments. It’s the right thing to do for all involved and we pray for the safety of our community and beyond.”
In the meantime, while the event couldn’t go on as planned, the alliance did unveil its membership program in the hopes it could offset the cancellation’s impact. You can sign up to be a member by visiting http://www.cancersurvivorspark.org/membership.php.
“We had planned to launch a membership program, Friends of the Park, later this year,” said Roper. The organization now feels that “this is the right time to bring that to fruition for those who still wish to contribute in this waiting period.”
The organization also announced that its other programs have been temporarily suspended due to the pandemic.
American Heart Association Upstate Heart Ball
The American Heart Association also had to cancel an event. The group’s Upstate Heart Ball had been planned for Saturday, March 14.
After consulting with volunteers, its leadership team and other stakeholders, the group decided to not hold the in-person event. They still wanted to reach community members. So instead of something in-person, they went virtual.
The regular event would have had “opportunities for a thousand people to come together and really celebrate the work of the American Heart Association,” said Kelly Wilkins, the executive director of the American Heart Association, Upstate.
Though the virtual auction wasn’t initially planned, Wilkins said it still allowed for the organization to reach out to the community and to “rally supporters for such a good cause.”
The organization is still tallying up totals from the virtual auction, but said that “thanks to our incredible Executive Leadership Team, volunteers and the Upstate community, we do know that we have exceeded the past three years’ silent auction numbers and are on track to meet our 2020 campaign goals.”