Virtual events are all the rage in the charity sector, but how can you make your stand out? We take a look at ten of the best virtual event ideas
This article is sponsored by Enthuse, the fundraising, donations and events registration platform.
With lockdown extended, virtual fundraising events and campaigns need to temporarily replace IRL ones. While digital fundraisers aligned with NHS Together Charities have raised over £100 million online, smaller charities also have opportunities to reach out and engage.
For charity digital leaders, we showcase ten of some of the most innovative digital fundraising events and campaign ideas.
1.) Games Tournament
Great for charities already involved with video, live streaming gaming tournaments can be powerful fundraisers. Recently, Comic Relief launched a Dungeons & Dragons event with comedians Sue Perkins, Nish Kumar, Ed Gamble and Sara Pascoe taking part. The tournament was hosted on Tiltify, and has targeted raising £10,000.
Dungeons & Dragons Senior Brand Manager Dan Barrett said: “We believe the social connection and fun of watching and playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons can be helpful to those of us feeling isolated in this time of social distancing. So, please stay safe at home, and together with Comic Relief, we’ll bring the adventure to you. All we ask is that you donate if you’re able to help support those most vulnerable amongst us in the fight against COVID-19.”
2.) Online auctions
Tapping into those retail enthusiasts missing out on shopping, online auctions can raise significant funds for charities. Premier auction house Sotheby’s May Day COVID-19 event sold lots worth up to $1 million each, with all funds going to coronavirus relief efforts. Some of the lots included virtual cooking lessons with Heston Blumenthal; virtual conversations and a musical concert with Sheku Kanneh-Mason; and a virtual meeting with renowned businessman Sir Martin Sorrell.
3.) Indoor challenges and events
Safe, indoor challenges leave room for supporters and donors to design their own fundraising events. Families can set an indoor challenge, and raise money for that activity. The Fire Fighter’s Charity recently used this approach – families have lifted shopping bags and run on the spot for charity. On social media, the efforts have been shared on the charity’s Twitter feed.
4.) Match fundraising
Time-limited flash fundraising events add excitement to digital fundraising. Also live-streamed on Tiltify, The British Red Cross and Help Musicians partnered to create a live-streamed music event. Tiltify audiences were able to donate immediately using new Stickers donation buttons. The funds were matched-funded by Tiltify, magnifying the efforts of all donors. So far, the event has raised over £12,000.
Empowering fundraisers with their own donation pages, peer-to-peer fundraising efforts work well with large-scale events. Advancing the fundraising efforts of the London Marathon, The 2.6 Challenge makes use of peer-to-peer funding by letting supporters set up their own Virgin Giving pages. Individuals or teams then raise money for the challenge under the overall banner. Charities provide support by providing fundraising ideas and downloadable packs for digital fundraisers.
6.) Virtual sporting events
Swapping outdoor for indoor events, GuideDogs UK’s May Walk Your Socks Off! Fundraising event focuses on increasing the number of steps taken over a week in May. The event focuses on steps that can be taken safely within government guidelines. Competitors join in on the Facebook Group and receive a new pair of branded socks once the fundraising is complete.
7.) Virtual cooking lessons
Making the best use of the time spent online, some charities have strategically made use of existing operations. Migrateful is a charity normally running cookery classes led by refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers. Pivoting to online classes, the charity is offering Zoom cookery classes to help support its work. The funds go to supporting migrant well-being, employment, and integration efforts.
8.) Viral campaign
On every charity digital leader’s wish list, viral campaigns rally significant funding and increase brand awareness. COVID-19 super fundraiser Captain Tom’s efforts walking in his garden have gone viral, raising £32 million for the NHS. He initially had a modest goal of £1,000.
His efforts first reached local paper Bedford Today, and was soon picked up by local ITV – next, the efforts went on national TV with BBC Breakfast. The social media fundraising snowballed from there, picking up on the unusual fundraising activity and Captain Tom’s charm.
9.) Quizzes and trivia nights
Helping to replace pub quiz nights, online quizzes can raise money through ticketing while keeping supporters engaged. Held on a weekly basis, Bone Cancer Research Trust charges a £3 entry fee for their quiz. Participants log into the Virtual Quiz Events platform at 6pm on Fridays to join in and fundraise.
10.) Digital Races
Using ‘random generator’ computer technology to select a winner, this year’s Grand National horse race was held digitally. The event netted over £2.6 million for the NHS Covid-19 appeal. The transition from an IRL to a digital event for charity even motivated organisers bet365, William Hill, Flutter Entertainment, Sky Bet, GVC, BetFred, Betway, BetVictor, JenningsBet and Inspired Entertainment to donate all profits.