We look at the charities successfully embracing digital fundraising amidst COVID-19
Charity digital leaders have turned to digital fundraising to replace traditional, in-real-life fundraising opportunities. Charity size has not been an issue – both large and small organisations have launched digital fundraising campaigns with success - proving that with a little creativity and digital savvy, funds can still be raised. We showcase some of the brightest ideas from charities operating ithroughout the sector.
Stepping away from traditional digital fundraising platforms, charities can benefit from digital auction sales. The auctions themselves can generate significant donations amounts, making them a great way to raise funds. They can also connect charities with high net worth donors.
Supporting the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 emergency appeal, traditional auctioneer Bonhams launched an online auction, with the sales going to charity. The lots have ranged from a low of £500 to £25,000, with over £400,000 in total raised – one lot has even featured a private track day with the Duke of Richmond. The digital fundraising efforts have featured arts and entertainment scions from all over the UK. For charity digital leaders, the partnership has proven successful not only in fundraising, but can raise the profile of charities in the upper echelons of society.
NHS Charities Together has leveraged on-trend messaging from the government on Covid-19, viral social media, and local engagement. The health charity tailored its messaging to the public by focusing on the heroes of healthcare. This messaging resonated strongly with the government’s communications to save the NHS.
With the value of NHS front of mind, fundraisers have gone viral on social media – centenarian Captain Tom Moore has famously raised more than £30 million, from a modest goal of £1,000. Since then, the efforts have gone viral. Fundraising efforts linked to his name have gone on social media, with Reegan Davies, a schoolgirl making cards for Captain Tom, raising thousands of pounds digitally.
Challenged to replace high-profile, annual charitable events that have been cancelled due to the lockdown restrictions has been a tall order. The restrictions forced the London Marathon to re-think, re-brand and launch an entirely new event. Having previously raised over £60 million, the charity launched a new digital fundraising effort and event. The 2.6 Challenge corralled digital fundraising efforts into a single brand, social media hashtag, and movement. Replacing the physical race, the digital event held on the same day as the cancelled marathon, motivated the racers to participate in any challenge involving the numbers 26. So far, the efforts have raised £6 million to support UK charities.
Not missing a beat, local charity The Fire Fighters Charity launched a ‘lockdown challenge’ to raise urgent funding. First engaging local Southampton families, and then going UK-wide, the charity has asked families to be creative, and register lockdown activities to raise funds against. For charity digital leaders of smaller charities, the efforts show that digital funds can be raised in a DIY fashion, by asking the public to get involved.
Celebrating inspirational film content produced by charities, the annual Charity Film Awards quickly pivoted to a digital event within a week of the lockdown measures being in place. The Charity Film Awards was able to use content already produced to launch the event.
CEO of the Charity Film Awards Simon Burton said: “We knew that we wanted to continue to celebrate the amazing films and work of the charities involved in Charity Film Awards. So we embraced our challenges of a tiny team and limited resources – we would be authentic and honest and place these amazing films front and centre. Our philosophy is that digital is essential for effective communications for charities, it’s hard-wired into the Charity Film Awards campaign structure. Pivoting to digital didn’t need new content - it needed us to help the audience see that content in a new light.”
Partnering with the theatre production company owner Cameron Mackintosh, the Mackintosh Foundation launched a downloadable concert version of Les Misérables for £9.99. For every download, the Foundation has donated £5 to charities Acting for Others, the Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund and Captain Tom Moore’s Walk for the NHS fund. Again, charity digital leaders here re-used recorded digital content for fundraising.