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Inspiring virtual charity fundraiser ideas

28 April 2020

The current climate has made it near impossible for charities to carry out their normal fundraising activities and events, with many being cancelled or postponed.

To continue to help individuals at this difficult time, charities have been coming up with innovative ways to keep raising funds. Following the fantastic example set by Captain Tom Moore, who raised £15m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden, we know it is possible and people are keen to continue to support charities from home.

Below are some of the best fundraising ideas we have seen from charities so far:

Virtual sporting events

Charities that traditionally run sponsored marathons, fun runs and bike rides have thought of ways people can continue to support them with sporting events from home.

The Architects Benevolent Society (ABS) hold a Chicken Run each year, encouraging people to run 5K dressed as a chicken to raise funds to assist architects with wellbeing or financial support. This year they have transformed this into a “Cooped Up Chicken Run”, providing participants with a range of social distancing safe activities they can do at home while donating to the charity.

From the fastest solitary 5k run, to the most push ups or longest consecutive plank, those that join in are encouraged to post photos or videos of themselves completing their challenge to social media, tagging the ABS account and using the hashtag #CoopedUpChickens.

Gaming fundraisers

As an activity that can safely be done at home, several charities are utilising games to raise funds for their charities.

The Motor Neurone Disease Association have launched #GameOverMND to encourage people to host online gaming nights, quizzes via streaming apps or board game nights with their families to raise money. They have also come up with gaming fundraiser challenges such as 24-hour gaming marathons, tournaments and speed running a favourite game to complete it in the fastest time.

Wounded veterans’ charity Help for Heroes also entered the gaming arena with their ‘Hero Up’ campaign. On 13 March the charity held a week-long live streaming fundraiser encouraging people to stream playing their favourite games to raise money.

Online competitions

Charities are encouraging families to get creative by competing in crafty activities at home to raise funds.

The Journalists’ Charity, in partnership with the Dickens Fellowship, have launched a competition for people to find their inner wordsmith by challenging participants to create their own 21st century character, in celebration of the charity’s founder Charles Dickens.

As well as asking people to describe their character in 300 words, the charity is also encouraging people to make a donation to enter. It will be judged by the fellowship and Dickens’ great, great grandson and the winning character will be brought to life in a unique illustration by one of Britain’s greatest cartoonists.

Streaming virtual events

The current situation has seen many things move into the streaming space, from live cook-alongs to PE lessons.

Several theatre companies and venues have offered streams or recordings of live shows in return for a rental fee or donation to charity. For example, the Soho Theatre are allowing people to rent a stream of the Fleabag live show in return for a donation, which is split between the National Emergencies Trust, NHS Charities Together, performers’ charity Acting for Others and the Fleabag Support Fund.

Online auctions and raffles

Common fundraisers such as auctions and raffles can also be moved online in order to raise vital funds for charity.

The Drinks Trust have been working with Whisky Auction to run an auction of spirits in order to raise funds for the charity that supports people in the drinks industry that have been impacted by COVID-19.

It has been encouraging to see charities rise to the challenge of coming up with new ways to fundraise during the COVID-19 outbreak. These are just a few of the many inventive ideas we have seen from charities, which we hope has inspired you to come up with your own virtual and social-distancing friendly events.

See also

There have been some very successful recent fundraising events such as #TheBigNightIn and the #TwoPointSixChallenge. Also the sector campaign #NeverMoreNeeded.

For practical advice on how to put together a digital fundraising plan read: Fundraising during Coronavirus – Maintaining and building your relationship with supporters

Photo: Andre Furtado on Pexels

Hannah Page

marketing and communications manager, Association of Charitable Organisations

Hannah is marketing and communications manager at the Association of Charitable Organisations, responsible for PR, marketing, digital and content strategy. Prior to this, Hannah worked in a DVD production company for five years, where she was responsible for in-house PR, content and licencing. She has also worked as a research assistant for The Centre for Human Rights in Practice at Warwick Law School, assisting with creating reports and resources for charities in the Coventry area. After completing her Law Degree at The University at Warwick, she also worked for the charity Asylum Aid.