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Nonprofits in Billings continue struggle with fundraising amid pandemic

Posted at 5:28 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 23:52:39-04

BILLINGS — Nonprofits in Billings are still having to change the way they provide services and conduct fundraisers because of Covid.

“We’ve been watching the Covid numbers for months. We never really stopped watching them. We started to see them climb again and once we saw that the seven-day average was in about the same place that it was in October of last year, we knew that we probably had to make a change. So we decided to cancel our in-person event and move it all online,” said Cameron Cook, the development director for St. Vincent de Paul.

St. Vincent de Paul is one the area's largest groups dedicated to helping the homeless.

The organization hopes to raise around $50,000 with its big October fundraiser this year, but organizers are worried an online fundraiser will bring in less money.

“We don’t really know how online is going to affect our fundraiser. It’s kind of uncharted territory for us and for a lot of other nonprofits,” said Cook.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County also relies on big fund-raising events. Despite having an in-person event at limited capacity in July, the future of its fund-raising events remains uncertain.

“This situation doesn’t seem like it’s going away, so it’s just like serving the kids every day. We’re trying to figure out what that’s going to look like. What can we do to effectively engage with our tremendous donors and all of the people that support what we’re doing here with the kids, but how we do that safely? And trying to find that balance, that mix,” said Brian Dennis, the group's president and CEO.

For many nonprofits, these large gatherings are often their biggest source of revenue, and they rely on them to keep going.

A lack of money usually trickles down to the people who rely on these nonprofits.

“I like to be a community source to them. We can have coffee and sit around but just a place I want people to feel comfortable, a judgment free zone and hopefully they can find a few things,” said Janice Krueger, a volunteer at St. Vincent De Paul.

St. Vincent de Paul’s online fundraiser will be held on Oct. 11. Click here to learn to donate.