From family events to celebrating individual feats of bravery, charities are conjuring up innovative ways for supporters to donate online
Social restrictions have meant in-person events have largely pivoted online. But even when society returns to ‘normal’, innovative online fundraising is here to stay.
In this article, we outline some of the most innovative fundraising campaigns that have impressed us recently. Some of these involve inventive ways to ensure the current health crisis does not hinder the search for donation, while others have grasped the zeitgeist, perfectly reflecting the public’s mood on current affairs.
In addition, comedy has been a key part to campaigning, as charity marketers look at the potential of digital fundraising to engage and bring joy.
Arguably the stand-out fundraising campaign of 2020 was the late Sir Captain Tom Moore’s sponsored walk for NHS Charities Together. This raised a record breaking £32.7 million after capturing the public’s imagination across social media in particular.
The appetite for personal, individual stories of courage for good causes has not stopped with Sir Tom. Among the most impressive recently has been the epic feat of 70-year-old grandfather Frank Rothwell who rowed solo across the Atlantic in February to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
During his journey he kept supporters and donors updated across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as via his website. The updates clearly helped, as he has raised more than £1 million for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
He has also kept his followers updated on further fundraising, including recording his reaction when his JustGiving page was updated and it emerged how much he had raised.
He was taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and is also the oldest person to complete the journey and has raised more funds than any other contestant.
Corporate funders have also been impressed by Frank, with half of the money raised coming through Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation.
Comic Relief launched an innovative digital fundraising campaign for families to mark this year’s Red Nose Day event. This involved the online hunt for supervillain Doomy McGloomy, who had stolen the UK’s laughter.
This involved a series of short interactive films with a mission to find Doomy McGloomy.
In one online mission families are lured by the villain to his ‘volcano lair’, while in another, families are asked to find the perfect vocal pitch to unlock the laughter, which McGloomy has imprisoned in a ‘magic jar’.
Families are also taken online to Antarctica, Egypt and invited to ‘limbo’ their way through a room full of lasers.
Those taking part are urged to make “a powerful donation” to Comic Relief.
An online crowdfunder campaign to raise money for women’s charities in memory of Sarah Everard has far exceeded its total, by tapping into public’s anger about violence against women.
The Reclaim These Streets group set up the Just Giving online crowdfunding campaign in remembrance of Everard, whose body was found earlier this month after she disappeared in London. The campaign has been set up after the group was forced to cancel its gathering on Clapham Common in her memory.
The aim is to raise £320,000 for women’s charities, representing the risk of a £10,000 fine for each of the women organising the planned vigil. But it has raised more than £535,989, following donations from more than 22,000 supporters.
Good causes likely to benefit from the funding including charities tackling women’s safety issues and supporting women impacted by sexual and domestic violence.
Reclaim the Streets has promised to be fully transparent about how the money will be spent and has involved Rosa, the charitable fund for women and girls, to distribute the funding.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life fundraiser is a staple part of its fundraising calendar. Over the last 20 years more than eight million people have taken part, raising more than £547m for the charity.
Then came COVID-19.
As a result, 2020’s event had to be cancelled and the charity has taken the decision to postpone the 2021 in-person event until later in 2021.
Instead, 2020 it staged its virtual Race for Life at Home event, which will take place again this year, on 24 April.
This asks supporters to raise money in their local areas by running, walking or jogging 5K near their home.
Once again this year it will involve live content via the event’s Facebook page. This year’s event features a minute’s reflection on social media for family and friends who are undergoing treatment or lost their battle with cancer.
Another high profile annual charity fundraiser to be pivoted online due to the health crisis has been Marie Curie’s Easter Daffodil Appeal. This year all public collections were cancelled for the first time in its 35-year history to meet social distancing guidelines.
Instead, it took place online this week on 23 March as a national day of reflection to support those who are grieving the loss of a loved one over the last year.
The minute’s silence took place at 12noon, with the event promoted across social media. This included daffodil themed content and the chance for those who are bereaved to share their stories.