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Virtual Fundraising in 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented global event, brought many challenges that forced individuals and organisations to adapt quickly.

Among these were charities, whose traditional fundraising methods were severely impacted. Physical events such as marathons and 10Ks, as well as smaller individual fundraising events such as bake sales and coffee mornings were traditionally the backbone of many charitable organisations. This was no longer feasible. However, in the face of adversity, charities demonstrated remarkable resilience and innovation, turning to virtual fundraising as a lifeline.

We were on hand to support these charities with a whole range of merchandise for virtual fundraisers and their running and cycling events, including charity running vests & t-shirts and bespoke virtual medals to congratulate them on their solo achievements.

Virtual fundraising encompasses a variety of methods, including online donation campaigns, virtual auctions, live-streamed events, and social media challenges. These methods became pivotal during the pandemic for several reasons. Firstly, they allowed charities to maintain engagement with their supporters despite social distancing measures. Secondly, they provided a platform for reaching a broader audience beyond geographical limitations. Lastly, they enabled a continuous flow of donations at a time when financial support was crucial.

One standout example of virtual fundraising success during the pandemic was the phenomenon of Captain Tom Moore. The then-99-year-old British war veteran aimed to walk 100 lengths of his garden before his 100th birthday, hoping to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together. His campaign went viral, capturing hearts worldwide and ultimately raising an astounding £32.8 million. This event highlighted the potential of virtual fundraising to galvanise a global community and generate significant financial support.

Similarly, many charities turned to virtual events to replace their traditional fundraisers. For instance, Cancer Research UK’s “Race for Life” went virtual, encouraging participants to run, walk, or jog 5K in their own local areas while sharing their progress online. This kept the spirit of the event alive and also allowed participants to remain active and engaged in a collective cause. So as the world gradually returns to a semblance of normality, the question arises: Is virtual fundraising still popular and a good idea for charities to use?

The answer appears to be yes, particularly in a hybrid manner. While physical events have resumed, the benefits of virtual fundraising remain compelling. Virtual methods offer several advantages that continue to make them attractive for charities:

It does provide charities with a wider, organic reach. Virtual events can attract a global audience, unrestricted by geographical barriers. This expanded reach can lead to greater awareness and increased donations.

There’s a degree of cost-effectiveness that comes in to play. Hosting virtual events often requires fewer resources compared to physical events. This can result in higher net proceeds from fundraising efforts.

Accessibility is less limited compared to mass participation events, allowing participants to take part in their own way. Virtual events are accessible to individuals who may not be able to attend in person due to physical limitations, time constraints, or other barriers. This inclusivity can foster a more diverse supporter base.

Virtual workspaces encourage innovation and social engagement. The digital space offers numerous opportunities for creativity. From interactive live streams to social media challenges, charities can engage supporters in novel and exciting ways.

It is important to note, however, that while virtual fundraising offers many benefits, it is not without its challenges. Technical difficulties, digital fatigue, and the need for a robust online presence are some of the hurdles charities must navigate. Additionally, the personal touch and sense of community often associated with physical events can be harder to replicate online.

Therefore, a hybrid approach, combining both virtual and physical fundraising methods, seems to be the optimal strategy moving forward. This approach allows charities to leverage the strengths of both formats, providing a balanced and comprehensive fundraising model.

Virtual fundraising proved to be a vital tool for charities during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring their survival and ability to continue their crucial work. Its continued popularity and utility suggest that it remains a good idea for charities to incorporate virtual methods into their fundraising strategies.

By embracing both virtual and physical approaches, charities can maximise their reach, engagement, and impact, ensuring they are well-prepared for whatever the future holds.

Want to know how to make virtual fundraising events work for your charity, with the help of our fundraising apparel and rewards? Email us here, call us on 01905 425324 or click CONTACT in the website header to fill in our online form and speak to our charity specialists.

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