Now is the time when charities’ digital creativity is being put to the test, with so many live online fundraising events popping up to raise money and people’s spirits
Online live-streaming, where events can be broadcast over the internet in real-time, has been a growing trend for fundraisers over the last few years. But now that we’re all under coronavirus lockdown, it’s a medium that taking on a whole new lease of life.
There’s a captive audience of the usual concert and event-goers glued to their sofas and screens, and the platforms and tools for live streaming are readily available anyone with a laptop or a mobile phone camera.
Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch are all popular ways for anyone to stream directly from their social media accounts. So why not host your own live-streamed fundraising event, or encourage your charity’s supporters to set up their own?
While we all miss the pub, virtual pub quizzes have become the next best thing, with everyone from groups of friends to pubs and breweries getting in on the trivia action.
Former Lancashire pub landlord Jay Flynn decided to try and raise £15,000 for NHS Charities Together, with a JustGiving campaign centred around a live-streamed ’pub quiz’ on YouTube.
What started as a one-off has become a weekly quiz every Thursday at 8.15 pm, and has raised over £93,000 so far with over 150,000 people joining in each week.
Other pub quizzes making the rounds include Camden Town Brewery’s series of scheduled entertainment nights hosted on Instagram in aid of Hospitality Action, which helps those in the hospitality sector facing hardship. The virtual events include not just pub quizzes, but ’pub’ events such as comedy gigs, a magic show and even live drawing and cooking classes.
The key to running a successful online quiz is to choose the ideal platform – this will depend on who’s hosting, how many people you expect to take part and the kind of interaction you want. If you’re encouraging supporters to run their own fundraising quizzes with friends and family, they could use Zoom or Houseparty.
The Virtual Quiz Events website is a good place for both charities and fundraisers to get started running their own quick quizzes.
If you want to encourage supporters, help them get set up with a quiz kit or fundraising guide - eating disorder charity Beat has a dedicated page on its website with instructions for fundraisers on running their own trivia nights.
A whole host of virtual benefit concerts have appeared, from music to comedy and the arts.
Streaming platform Twitch, which has over 15 million daily users around the world, has teamed up with electronic music platform Beatport for a 34-hour live music marathon featuring internationally acclaimed DJs. The gig raised over £180,000 for the WHO’s COVID-19 fund and the Association of Electronic Music’s COVID-19 hardship fund. More than 8.5 million viewers tuned in across 150 countries, with 6,500 individual donors.
But fundraising events don’t need to have global audiences of millions. In fact, fundraising can and should involve bringing the local community together during times of separation. Why not showcase a line-up of local musical talent for your charity live-stream?
Southampton hospice charity Naomi and Jacksplace have launched a series of virtual charity gigs on Facebook Live every weekday, with artists streaming the gigs live on their own Facebook pages, helping them build fans that will ease them out of lockdown hardship.
Comedy gigs are also a great option for live-stream fundraising, like Comedy at the COVID Arms - an online comedy show for the Trussel Trust featuring big-name UK comedy acts like Tom Allen, Rosie Jones and Nish Kumar. Like many great coronavirus fundraising live-streams, it started out as a way for friends to hang out together over video - and it’s now raised over £20,000 for the Trust just through selling £2 tickets on the Crowdfunder.co.uk website.
Streaming platform Twitch is home to everything from podcasts to DJ sets and workout sessions, but its main draw is its online gaming audience. Twitch’s ’Stream Aid’ is the online gaming answer to Live Aid, with celebrities competing against fans and the platform’s own gaming stars in a number of video games, so far raising over $2.7m for the WHO’s COVID-19 response fund.
As we’ve explained in previous articles, ’gaming for good’ has become a huge opportunity for charities, with thousands of online gamers using their channels to promote a good cause. Gamers with large followings can raise thousands in the space of just a few hours, as lots of examples demonstrate.
One UK charity that has taken ownership of this medium really well is Cats Protection. They’ve created their own dedicated brand of gamer-supporters, ’Pawsome Players’, with a webpage featuring step-by-step instructions for fundraisers to get started, fundraising advice, and downloadable assets for them to promote their event.
Make it easy for supporters to fundraise for your charity on their live-stream by providing an online fundraising pack of information and support, as you might with any fundraising events. Suggest donation targets and ways to interact with viewers, and give clear instructions on how to link their stream to your fundraising through JustGiving or another fundraising page.