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Nonprofits hoping 2021 brings better fundraising opportunities

relay for life

MADISON (WKOW) -- With the coronavirus cancelling in person gatherings, funding for the American Cancer Society was down 50 percent in 2020, especially without the large Relay for Life charity walks.

One UW Madison freshman is hoping to do her part to help in the new year.

"We're forced to be really creative with our events so now we're just kinda going with it," Grace Botzo, president of the UW Madison Relay for Life.

Botzo started the group at UW Madison at the start of her freshman year, the first since 2014.

She says she has never met any of her members in person because of the pandemic.

"It's been very difficult for us to kind of get the word out because we're relying entirely on social media," Botzo said. "We're able to convert these in person events and be creative in ways to put them totally online."

They've organized Zoom trivia nights and gaming events to raise money. This creativity has driven nonprofits across the Madison area.

Tom Lindfield with the Madison Community Foundation, says with more people needing assistance and less funding to go around, nonprofits have struggled.

"I think despite what they dealt with, they fed people, they educated people, they got people technology," Linfield said.

He says in-person gatherings were typically the largest form of fundraising for many nonprofits, and 2021 may bring some of those back.

"I really believe that there's kind of a rejuvenation now, now that there's a vaccine upon us people are starting to imagine maybe we can do something in the summer, maybe we can teach classes again," Linfield said.

But Botzo says the UW Relay for Life group plans on sticking virtual, even for their charity walk in April.

She says if other groups have been able to adapt, so can they.

"We're kinda looking to them to get some ideas, relying on each other, seeing what our different strong suits are to bring it all together and have the best event we can," Botzo said.