The UK’s biggest charity fundraising event has gone virtual. What does this mean for the sector, and how can charities make up for lost fundraising revenue?
This article is sponsored by Enthuse, the fundraising, donations and events registration platform.
In a move with widespread ramifications for the UK charity sector, the London Marathon has become a virtual event.
As the largest marathon in the UK, the annual event serves as a flagship fundraiser for a number of charities. The £66.4 Million total raised by the 2019 marathon set a new world record for the largest total raised by a single-day event. It was the thirteenth successive year that the London Marathon had broken the record.
The physical event will be restricted to a reduced field of 30-40 elite athletes. Organisers have confirmed plans for virtual participation for everyone else still wishing to take part.
Although it is the right decision from a public health perspective, it constitutes yet another blow to a sector that has faced ever-increasing demands on its services whilst so many of the traditional fundraising routes have been cut off.
The marathon will undoubtedly be back bigger and better than ever in 2021, but for 2020, there is a vast income gap to understand and attempt to bridge for charities.
Virtual events can help charities to make up this funding shortfall - whilst increasing their reach at the same time.
Before the pandemic, interest in virtual events was on the rise. In the wake of COVID-19, uptake has soared as charities look to bridge the funding gap created by the loss of traditional fundraising activities.
The London Marathon is not only the most high-profile example of this switch: it presents the wider change in microcosm. Virtual events have a number of unique benefits, particularly when it comes to overcoming barriers to accessibility. Supporters from around the world can join in and get behind a campaign, with no restrictions on proximity.
Ultimately, charity virtual events are not an entirely new concept. Charities have been coming up with virtual fundraising ideas since the advent of social media. Movember, the Ice Bucket Challenge, No Makeup Selfie, and RED January are all examples of campaigns where the central idea is virtual rather than in person. At a conservative estimate, these campaigns alone have raised about £300 million.
Virtual events are a natural extension of this. Just like physical events, virtual events create a community around a shared moment, in order to raise funds and awareness around a specific campaign or issue.
By making the switch to virtual events, charities can continue to build momentum and raise vital funds.
Virtual events are an opportunity to build a global giving community.
Much of the recent coverage on such events within the sector has focused on the fundraising potential. But virtual events also allow charities to build sustained, personalised engagement with supporters, whilst delivering valuable insights that can help you to effectively tailor future campaigns.
The new ebook from fundraising, donations and events registration platform Enthuse provides detailed, step-by-step guidance on setting up your very own virtual event - and making sure that you get as much out of it as possible.
This free online resource offers practical advice on everything you need to know, including coming up with an idea, setting targets, driving participation and tracking engagement.
It is important to effectively promote your virtual event. The ebook gives specific guidance on how to maximise impact and engagement through live streaming, ensuring that your event has the best possible chance of capturing your audience’ imagination.
By providing thought-provoking questions and offering the learned experience of successful virtual event organisers, the guide can help charities to create a workable framework for planning and optimising virtual events that will connect with your supporters.
Find out more by downloading the ebook below.
Want to see Enthuse in action? Join us on 15th October 2020 for #BeMoreDigital Fundraising Day, where Enthuse will be delivering a fantastic session, ’Who did you last donate to?’.
Download 'Virtual Realities: The Essential Guide to Raising More From Your Virtual Events' and learn more about staging effective virtual events