Virtual Fundraising Session Recap

14 Apr 2020


Virtual doesn't just mean an online Fitness Challenge

Many who are new to virtual fundraising may first think of a fitness challenge utilising a fitness tracker, and they wouldn't be wrong. It has been that in the past. Just like a Charity 5k, virtual fitness challenges are extremely popular, because they work. However, that doesn't mean its the only way to take your fundraising Virtual. 

Virtual can be any activity, anywhere, for anyone!

This is your organization's opportunity to stand out in the crowd. It is your chance to use increasingly sophisticated technology, with an ever more tech-savvy supporter base, to do some really cool campaigns.

See below the live-streamed virtual ironman for Pancreatic Cancer UK,  or Stroke Foundation of Australia's Towel Challenge - or Brain Tumour Research's Wear a Hat Day.


Know your Audience!

Knowing your audience is a key part of building your strategy. There are some really valuable ways you can guarantee you are being mindful of your campaign concept, and how it connects with your supporters.

Ask yourself:

  • What's important to them?
  • What is their motivation, is it passionate for the cause or do they activity?
  • Are they part of an existing tribe that you can engage in? (e.g. gamers, knitters, bakers, or other) 
  • Are you empowering your community to become idea curators for you?


Think about your supporter's digital experience.

A good digital experience should Inspire, Incentivise and Empower your supporters to create and share great content to engage their networks and raise more funds for your organizations.

There are three core elements that can drive virtual campaigns.

  1. Data - creating data can inform your campaign and form your tribe
  2. Badges and Rewards - these nudges drive behaviour and incentivise your supporters
  3. Leaderboards and Website - Roll up ever piece of impact your supporters have made, and show them their value!

Check out this great gamification badge example by the JDRF Blue Army, who created custom badges to incentivise their fundraisers.


Three things Lucy from Alzheimer's Research UK wish she'd known from the get-go. 

1. Be clear on what you want to achieve

  • What’s your ultimate goal? Supporter acquisition? Brand? Product diversification? In year income?
  • Ensure you have internal support and buy-in.
  • Use data to understand your true ROI. Not just single product ROI.

2. Know your audience

  • Who are your most engaged and committed supporters? What’s going to resonate with them?
  • Just increasing media spend isn’t the answer. Your marketing must be insight and audience-driven.
  • Engaging in creative content is essential. This includes case studies, photography, and film for different audiences.
  • Challenge vs cause messaging.
  • Success or failure is all down to the marketing of your product/event. Invest, carefully.

3. First-class stewardship

  • Keep the proposition simple and easy to understand
  • Drive participants to end date to get their donations in
  • Reward and celebrate milestones with participants
  • Triggered comms and automated stewardship increase engagement and income
  • Build your tribes
  • Participants expect a great experience
  • Data - creating data can inform your campaign and form your tribe

Brendan Rodgers / Funraisin

Re-Introduction to Virtual Fundraising

Claire Daniels / massive

Ideation for Virtual Fundraising

Ros Harber / Funraisin 

Delivery of Virtual Fundraising

Lucy Squance / Alzheimer's Research

Lived Experience in Virtual Fundraising

Emily Clayton / massive

Supporter care in Virtual Fundraising


Do you recommend setting a specific date/date range for a virtual event or is it better to let the supporter decide?

Outside of DIY events, we'd recommend having a specific date/date range set. Why?  Creates a sense of community: A downside to virtual events is the loss of that community feeling. By having your supporters participating at the same time you have the opportunity to build that community online and highlight that they are part of a movement. Creates urgency: Encourages people to register (FOMO), gives a defined period to drive fundraising and pushes supporters to reach their target (both activity goals and fundraising).

What's the ideal event/challenge length? 

It really depends on the call to action and your community. There are pros and cons for both single-day events and month-long events. A single-day event is an achievable commitment and an easy ask from your supporters. However, it may limit the fundraising time. A month-long event allows more opportunity to fundraise, however, it may seem like too hard of a commitment. Whatever you choose, the key to making the length work is in your supporter journeys. Keeping your fundraisers motivated during the mid-month lul or encouraging fundraising in the lead up to the event.

Thank you to our Us & Us collective panelists

....but who is The Us & Us Collective?

The Us and Us collective began life on April 1st, 2020...but despite that, the motivations behind it are not a joke! When the COVID-19 pandemic first began to demonstrate it's impact globally, we were immediately worried for charities worldwide. 

As a result, at Funraisin, we transformed our usual offering. We typically offer entirely bespoke, full-stack fundraising solutions to our charity partners. Still, instead, we rejigged our toolkit to produce a lighter, quicker-to-turn-around fundraising website. We are still offering it entirely for free to all charities who need to get a virtual fundraising strategy off the ground as soon as possible, to avoid losing income. 

Immediately, we saw that many organisations needed the tech (that's where we come in) but they also needed support beyond that. It wasn't just a tech platform that many organisations needed. They had lost whole events, whole chunks of their fundraising strategies. They needed new ideas, strategies that worked in the post-pandemic world, marketing and fundraising advice that took self-isolation into account, support transitioning to virtual, and guidance on how to stick out from the crowd.

The Us and Us collective was born! Our friends at Massive joined us, and added their own offering: two hours free strategy and innovation consultation to help charities make the most of the free tech on offer.

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