Virtual fundraising and volunteering are steadily becoming the new ways to fundraise, as charities and non-profits have had to change their fundraising strategies to survive the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“The inability to bring large groups together for fundraising activities such as quizzes, bingo nights, tea parties, and sporting events has made fundraising a real challenge”, admits Phoebe Goodale, who has been regularly volunteering and fundraising for charities such as The British Heart Foundation for the past 5 years. In this article, we discuss four strategies that everyone can use to start virtual fundraising.
Start small and start local
We are now more connected than ever, which is both an opportunity and an obstacle when it comes to virtual fundraising. Thanks to the powers of modern technology, we are much more aware of the needs and suffering of people living thousands of miles away from us. At the same time, the need is so great that choosing a charity to fundraise and volunteer for becomes an overwhelming decision. “The best advice I was given was to start small with a charity that you truly care about and a cause that interests you”, says Phoebe. Local charities and non-profits are often a great place to start.
“I started volunteering for a British Heart Foundation charity shop that is local to me. The people I met volunteering there have been a huge inspiration to me and over the years working alongside them has increased my motivation and desire to fundraise for charities”.
Virtual fundraising is no different. Many charities and non-profits have launched fundraising campaigns that follow COVID-19 regulations. Websites such as JustGiving are also ideal for finding causes that you can support.
How to be creative with virtual fundraising
Virtual fundraising comes in many shapes and forms, the key is to find ways to break down the barrier that the pandemic has put up in terms of fundraising for charities. Here are some examples of virtual fundraising opportunities that Phoebe shared with us:
- Sport challenges: Choose a challenge for yourself – running, walking or cycling are some of the most popular options. Start tracking your activity using apps such as Strava and share your progress on social media. Ask friends and family to support you by creating a JustGiving page.
- Virtual socials: Virtual quizzes and bingo nights have also been a regular and popular activity during the pandemic. Ask friends and family to contribute a small fee for a virtual quiz or bingo night and include some fun prizes for the winners.
- Bake and deliver: Come up with a list of baked treats that you can make for a price and share the ‘menu’ on your social media. Sweeten someone’s day by baking for them and then delivering it straight to their home.
“Virtual fundraising can seem quite daunting but is actually the opposite. Any idea can be made into a fundraising opportunity”, adds Phoebe.
Make use of your networks
Nowadays the majority of people in the UK have at least one smart device and are connected to the Internet. However, that is not the case for everyone. We all know people who don’t have access to computers or smartphones or who might not wish to be online, says Phoebe. Regardless of the cause, not everyone will be able to see online posts for fundraisers, so it is important for you to also personally reach out to friends and family members that are not that active online. Give them a call or send them a text message letting them know about the cause you are supporting. Remember to ask all your friends to share the news of your fundraising efforts with their friends and family – word of mouth is a powerful method of communication.
The ultimate aim of virtual fundraising is to increase awareness for a fantastic cause that you care about, so the more people know about it the better!
Skills and resources need for virtual fundraising
Organisation and drive are the most important skills for fundraising, according to Phoebe. She adds that these skills will help you progress the most in your fundraising efforts. There are numerous resources to help you organise a successful virtual fundraising campaign. The website of the particular charity you are fundraising for will have useful fundraising tips. Books and magazines are also valuable assets, and asking others about their fundraising experiences is also a good idea.
This article was written in collaboration with Phoebe Goodale. Phoebe has been fundraising for The British Heart Foundation for the past 5 years and has volunteered, hosted events, and supported numerous other charities by completing sporting challenges, organising bake sales, raffles, quiz, and bingo nights. Phoebe is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Social Policy and Politics and is aiming to work in the philanthropy sector.