In February, abortion funds across our network put a bow on plans for their National Abortion Access Fund-a-Thon events. By March, COVID-19 had spread across the world. Out of care and concern, abortion funds canceled in-person events after months of dedicated planning.
Fund-a-Thon is the largest fundraiser of the year for many abortion funds. They were counting on this revenue to replenish their abortion funding and operating budgets.
To support the network, NNAF shifted technical assistance offerings, providing communications and fundraising resources like templates, toolkits, and coaching for virtual events.
“There was a lot of momentum for Fund-a-Thon, but we had to pivot at the drop of a hat,” recalls NNAF’s Fund-a-Thon coordinator, Keidra Chaney. “One of the things that has been so inspiring is the ingenuity and perseverance of funds.”
Our Justice in Minnesota (home of the original and inspirational Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser for abortion access) was one of the funds that pivoted to a digital event, hosting virtual “Rage Yoga” classes. While not part of their original plan, the shift had unforeseen benefits.
“Our fundraisers were nervous about asking too much of their communities during this time of economic uncertainty,” shared Our Justice board secretary, Stephanie Shea. “Holding a virtual class provided a way around that uncomfortable feeling because we could ask for suggested donations.”
That creativity and versatility echoed throughout the network as funds hosted dance parties, DJ battles, karaoke, and other virtual events.
“There is a lot we can take away from this that funds can use in the future,” says Keidra.