Communities are supporting small businesses around the world with fundraising efforts.
Communities around the globe are coming up with innovative ways to support small business during the coronavirus. Mom and Pop’s have been hit especially hard as executive orders are forcing these businesses to close their doors and lose their income streams. Recognizing this has a widespread effect on residents, many have come together to support their neighbors via online fundraising efforts.
In south London, for example, two groups, Save East Dulwich and the Big SE Raffle, have raised significant resources for local stores, beauty shops and bars. Victoria Rennison initiated the Save East Dulwich fundraising effort, saying she came up with the idea after “wondering what would happen to East Dulwich if all of these businesses went under.” The economic impact of the virus is far-reaching.
“There’s such a sense of community because of them. I feel like they need some support from us in return,” she said. “I was thinking, what could I do remotely, when no one is allowed to see each other?”
Instead of customers coming to the businesses, the businesses reach out to their customers. Rennison created a forum in which these shops could offer goods or services as prizes in the raffle and ticket sales directly cover the cost of those prizes. The first round was a huge hit, reaching its target far before the deadline with more than 200 prizes being offered by fifty businesses.
Rennison said, “Participating businesses have generated around £200 each as a result of the raffle.” She added that she recognizes it isn’t a “game-changing amount” but will still help. “Some businesses are saying they’re waiting for their loans from the government and the £200 has made so much difference to them. As a result of the raffle they’ve got 50 people following them now on Instagram, and getting in contact about spending with them, so it’s the publicity around it as well as the money itself,” she said.
Nicola Johnson and Amanda Pearce have followed Rennison’s lead, establishing a similar fundraising raffle covering the suburbs of Honour Oak, Forest Hill, Brockley and Crofton Park. Its goal is to raise £50,000 by selling 50,000 tickets.
“We want to benefit our communities as much as possible and show those independents that we’re all in it together,” Pearce said.
“It feels great to be positively working with our local businesses and tradespeople,” said Mills. “So many are having a hard time right now, and they can see all the lovely comments about their prize and the services. We’re only a small town here in south east Wales, but the community has a big heart.”
Rennison was happy to hear her idea is being replicated in other areas.. “I’m just pleased that the idea has caught on,” she said. “Anyone who’s thinking of setting it up and doing something similar, I am very much available to tell them what I experienced. I would encourage other people to do it.”
The London raffles are similar to efforts that have been underway in the U.S. in an effort to provide relief to struggling businesses and frontliners. Frontline Responders Fund, started by the logistics firm Flexport, and other companies have collected more than $6 million to get critical supplies to those on the frontlines and those who have been diagnosed with the virus. A Coronavirus Rent Relief Fund was also recently launched to raise funds for those left jobless and facing eviction has also seen some significant success.
“Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created one of the most difficult moments in world history, a moment we will surely look back on,” wrote the New York fund organizer.
An Americas Food Fund at GoFundMe launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Apple, along with the Ford Foundation, has garnered more than $13 million through fundraising efforts. And, one of the largest yet, The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO), managed by the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, and launched to raise money in order to finance WHO’s response to the coronavirus, realized $71 million from 170,000 individuals and businesses within the first ten days.