The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on most everyone, including businesses and nonprofits. Many local fundraising organizations have had to transform their way of doing business to survive.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) immediately began to make changes to its annual fundraising campaigns after the onset of the pandemic. The annual Grand Finale of the Man & Woman of the Year campaign was held as a virtual event on June 7 and was successful. According to Cris Peterson, Dayton area director for LLS, the event was a celebration of the candidates and included their personalized videos and opportunities to support via an online platform. The Light the Night walk is moving forward in October as an in-person event, Peterson says, with some modifications including staggered start times.

“We realize that fundraising has changed dramatically over the last months but our commitment to our patients and the fight against cancer has remained,” Peterson says.

United Rehabilitation Services (URS) remains committed to serving adults and children with disabilities in the Miami Valley. Like other nonprofits, URS relies on special event revenue to support its programming.

“Several of our events were cancelled due to the pandemic,” says Vivian O'Connell, URS development director. “This has resulted in losses of more than $20,000.”

URS’ signature event, the Rubber Duck Regatta, is traditionally held in September and O’Connell says they anticipate having to modify it to a virtual platform.

The American Heart Association (AHA), Miami Valley Division, has hosted two virtual events this year—the Heart Ball on April 25 and the Go Red for Women Luncheon on June 6. Both were held via the Zoom webinar platform and featured interactive components and opportunities to support. The annual Heart Walk held downtown in September is currently moving forward as an in-person event with plans to modify as needed.