We’re spending more time online than ever before. We take a look at how charities are making the most of this
Moving from in-real-life to digital has never been done at such pace. Charity digital leaders have only had a few weeks to revamp service delivery, outreach, and digital fundraising. Making the best of the time spent online, charities have connected with audiences through videoconferencing, tutorials, and digital events. For many charities, making the time spent online enjoyable for supporters is still important.
Charting new digital territory, the National Trust has been at the forefront of creating moments online. Making the best use of the time, the place-based charity has been showcasing the roster of amazing heritage assets by video – the 360-degree views give supporters a tour of the sites without breaking any lockdown restrictions. Linking-up with the public’s growing consciousness of how valuable public spaces have been since lockdown, the videos have helped National Trust push forward with its message – that public places are national assets.
The charity is also tapping into large scale events, much like the NHS Charities Together’s Clap for Carers. The National Trust has organised DAWNS, where the public are invited to sign up and tune into the sunrise to celebrate the charity’s 125th anniversary. A mass participation moment, musicians will play music live-streamed from their own homes as the sun rises at different times across the country.
London-based yoga charity MahaDevi Yoga typically charges for IRL adult yoga classes to support its work with disabled children. Moving almost completely online, the yoga charity is still delivering yoga classes to disabled children – through Zoom. The digitisation has helped the charity stay connected with supporters and continue digital fundraising efforts.
Speaking to a local paper, Managing Director Ben Eydmann said: “Our social enterprise is that the adult classes usually fund the classes for children with disabilities. But everyone is struggling, mentally and financially at the moment. So we wanted to make the classes accessible to everyone. People can donate, and those funds will go towards paying for our classes for disabled children. It’s a reduced service at the moment, but we’re still holding about 40 one to one sessions with children over Zoom and the like.”
Women’s Aid has also geared its fundraising opportunities to ensure that audiences spend the best time online. Partnering with online fitness class provider Classfinder, the charity is staging a 12-hour online Fitness Marathon. Thirty-minute sessions are open to supporters and fundraisers. For supporters, the classes are a way to exercise online while fundraising.
Known for its accessible gym memberships and leisure facilities, Greenwich Leisure Limited, the charitable enterprise owning Better Gyms has gone from holding gym classes in person, to online. The gym has quickly shifted its online booking system to classes. Members can book classes online, and for charity digital leaders, engagement with supporters has been maintained.
Charities previously not spending time online have developed innovative ways to engage audiences. Launching the Greatest Online Agricultural show, the charitable trade forum Innovation for Agriculture linked up with charities R.A.B.I, R.S.A.B.I, FCN, YANA and DPJ Foundation to host the event on the 2nd of May. The virtual event fair featured trade stalls, virtual beer tents, and networking sessions. Organisers also set up digital donation pages.
Love British Food, one of the trade show’s exhibitors said on their website: “Initially, the show started off as a Twitter-based agricultural show, with video-based demonstrations from some rural craft people, competitions classes etc. However the idea of a virtual show was so incredibly well received and in no time at all, dog shows, pony shows, beer tent, young farmers, a food tent and craft tents were added and the virtual show was launched.”
Over £16,000 has been raised for charities, showing other digital leaders not just how virtual events can still entertain audiences, but how supporters enjoy, and clamour for charity events to continue on.
Rather than ceasing all volunteering opportunities, youth charity The Mix is making the best use of the time spent online by increasing the number of virtual roles. The charity has changed its IRL approach and offers volunteers a chance to become mentors, ambassadors, and committee members. Volunteers can work remotely – using telephone, webchat counselling, Google Hangouts, videoconferencing, and social media to boost the charity’s brand and provide services.