With restrictions due to be lifted and normality resume, you may be wondering why we’re talking to charities about the organisation and promotion of virtual fundraising events.
That’s because those charities and events that have found success with them are building them into the event calendar alongside in-person events to broaden the appeal. With the cancellation or postponement of events in the past couple of years, it has provided huge financial challenges to charities and organisers. But many of these have found ways to raise vital funds during these desperate times – including organising and promoting virtual events.
At Scimitar, we have worked with dozens of mass participation events and charities over the past couple of years to create products for their virtual events, which usually take shape in the form of cycling or running challenges. This has seen them reap the financial benefits.
With so many sports and leisure activities having been restricted or prohibited in recent times, the country saw a rise in the number of people running and cycling. The NHS-backed Couch to 5K app on iPhone and Android saw a 92% increase in downloads between March and June 2020 compared to 2019.
What could a Virtual Challenge look like for you or your charity, club or business?
The Challenge Itself
Fundamentally, the plan starts with the overall goal. What is it you want people to achieve from your challenge? You’ll want to make sure your challenge offers something a bit different to what’s already out there.
Once you’ve decided how you want to monetise the event and how to make the most of the opportunity from the outset, you can design your event around the people who will be taking part. By keeping targets achievable, the sign-up process easy, and costs low, you’re more likely to end up with more engaged participants.
Spreading the Word
In a time where social media plays an ever-important role in reaching out to people, make sure you utilise the relevant platforms to engage participants in micro-communities so they sign up.
Create social media assets for participants to download and showcase their participation across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok – particularly by including social media sharing links in your confirmation emails.
Use the power of motivation, community and pride to drive engagement.
Many clients have come to Scimitar for virtual medals, finisher t-shirts and merchandise to reward their participants, as they would for a normal mass participation event. You don’t have to follow suit though, so why not try something different?
Maybe you could develop a campaign where the more people fundraise during a set time period, the more they could be rewarded with tiered levels of prizes to encourage active participation. Why not run a monthly prize draw to reward the top participants who might have racked up the most miles during that period? The possibilities are endless!
Aside from this, you could create a small merchandise range for people to purchase/pre-order to show their involvement. Perhaps hoodies and t-shirts would go down well and help open an additional income stream of sorts?
Virtual events aren’t limited to mass participation events and charities. With many still working from home, companies can help connect staff and keep morale high by hosting monthly events with prizes. These could be as simple as walking challenges like walking step counts, to fundraising the most for charity. Reward participants for bringing the workplace together during these testing times.
Participation doesn’t have to be limited to running and cycling – sports teams could encourage people to partake in virtual gym events to keep players fit with monthly leaderboards and prizes for winners.
Similar to the opportunities mentioned above, larger running clubs and cycling clubs can take part in their very own challenges, encouraging people to participate and enticing them with a low-cost prize (such as, for example, a neck warmer or a branded t-shirt).
Whatever your virtual fundraising requirements might be, come and speak to the team at Scimitar and we can help you make the most of your ideas. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the team on 01905 425324. Alternatively, click here and submit a form, or speak to the team on Live Chat below.
- charity-fundraising.org.uk – ‘Our How-To guide on developing and promoting virtual fundraising events’.
- charitydigital.org.uk – Top ten virtual fundraising event ideas for charities’.
- getfullfunded.com – ‘Virtual fundraiser and online events’.