Since March 2020, getting together and celebrating with work colleagues and loved ones has largely been based around video calls.
At first, it felt a little like a novelty – almost exciting. We got creative with screen shares and fancy Zoom quizzes. But almost a year on, celebrating a charity anniversary virtually is not what anyone had planned. It’s getting harder to think of creative ways to bring people together and celebrate, regardless of the cause.
However, many charities are determined not to miss an opportunity to make the most out of an anniversary. We noticed that this was a point of interest for several charities in one of our recent webinars with Zoe Amar. Amar noted that while anniversaries can be a way to revisit all the great things that have happened, they should also be an opportunity to look forward and showcase why people should continue supporting you.
Amar sees anniversaries as a chance to re-awaken relationships with current and old supporters. Building an anniversary around service user needs, general connections, and your community of supporters is a good place to start.
In this article, we look at some brilliant examples of charities that have celebrated their anniversary virtually and offer some advice to help you celebrate your own.
In 2020, several charities used their anniversary to celebrate achievements and share these with supporters.
For Cardiff & Vale Health Charity’s 25th anniversary, they created and promoted several videos of individuals thanking the charity for the work that they have done over the past 25 years.
Kent Association for the Blind (KAB) compiled and shared “Happy Birthday” video messages they received for their centenary. These birthday messages came from friends, colleagues, volunteers, celebrities, and even a Duke.
Video montages can create a sense of community, even during isolation. Thankful words and messages from supporters can boost morale for employees. It also diversifies your social media content and creates better brand awareness.
For something a little more interactive, webinars are a great way to celebrate your charity’s causes. Holding a panel discussion about a topic that is central to your charity’s mission or talking about plans for the future can be an effective way to celebrate your charity’s progress.
You can also be open and creative with your webinars. Why not invite someone to host a cocktail class, for example? Anniversaries are an opportunity for colleagues to come together and celebrate. Having a little fun and doing something out of the ordinary via Zoom or in a webinar can counteract some of the lockdown blues.
Knowing your audience and understanding what you want your videos or webinars to achieve can help you to decide whether to take a casual, social, or formal tone.
The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) asked supporters to get creative and join sponsored activities in 2021 for their 50th anniversary. They partnered with Action Challenge to encourage fundraisers to trek, run, or cycle 25-100km.
The DSA are providing free resources, such as the ‘50th Anniversary Fundraising Ideas’ document and printable bunting for supporters to decorate homes.
Some charities in 2020 used the number of years they were celebrating to define their fundraising initiative.
Avon Riding Centre celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2020 by starting the ‘Challenge 40’ campaign to raise £40,000. They asked supporters to hold events that are linked to the number 40. Walking 40 minutes every day for 40 days, for example, or baking 40 cakes to sell.
The above charities have shown that fundraising events can still happen, even if socially distanced. However, like many of us, fundraisers might be lacking in creative ideas for how to do this. By providing supporters with challenges or packs and resources online, you can help to inspire them to fundraise safely.
The charity KAB went one step further with their aim to utilise social media as a fundraising tool. They asked supporters to take three pledges for the charity and share these online. Pledge ideas ranged from abseiling down a building to walking over hot coals on bonfire night to simply sharing KAB’s social media posts.
Supporters could download and print a PDF from KAB’s website, where they wrote their pledges, took a selfie, and posted on social media with the #KAB100 hashtag.
Using social media in this way can create an online community among supporters and employees working within your charity.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, organising virtual events is a crucial way to create meaningful fundraising campaigns, generate greater brand awareness, and maintain strong connections with supporters.