1. Social Media Challenge
Remember how nuts everyone went for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014? Millions of people were videoed dousing themselves in ice-cold water and nominating their peers to do the same in what became one of the most successful virtual fundraising events in recent history.
The initiative raised over $220 million for motor neurone disease charities and donors continue to be reminded of the cause when their challenge videos pop up as memories on their social media channels. It was a winning formula; it was easy to do, it appealed to our competitive and narcissistic tendencies, it took advantage of social media pressure and it attracted a few high profile celebrity participants. Try to think of a photogenic peer fundraiser that is easy to do and relevant to your cause and you could be on to a winner.
2. Virtual Auction of Promises
This virtual fundraising idea could work well for smaller organizations such as schools, which have a strong local community support base. Ask your supporters to donate their time and/or skills and then auction them off on an online platform. As many elderly and health compromised people are shielding, services such as dog walking, shopping, prescription collecting and similar could fill a real community need, as well as raise money.
3. Virtual Sporting Events
Design some attractive medals or put together some suitably attractive prizes and challenge people to run/cycle/walk/hop/skip as far as possible in a given period. They can then submit Strava/Garmin/Fitbit proof of their endeavours via email and you can select winners for various categories, such as fastest mile, furthest travelled, best fancy dress, strangest mid-challenge sight etc. Basic funds can be raised from entry fees, but you could create event merchandise too, if you feel that the number of entrants warrants it.
4. Individual Sporting Challenges
If you don’t want to organize others for a sporting event, you could undertake an individual challenge. This could be as straight forward as getting sponsorship for running a 10k, half marathon or full marathon on your local roads or as madcap as dressing up as a kangaroo and jumping around your neighbourhood for as long as possible.
5. Community Clear Up Competition
With supermarkets and food outlets forced to u-turn on re-usables and revert to throw-away packaging to reduce the likelihood of virus transmission, our public spaces are going to be more in need than ever of a good clean up. Encourage your supporters to seek sponsorship for picking up as much trash as they possibly can on a designated day and offer a prize to the person who a) collects the most and b) gets the most sponsorship.
6. Social Media Photograph Competition
This can be themed to your cause, so would work really well for an animal shelter, to which could people submit pictures of their much-loved pets. Charge a minimal entry fee, offer a really worthwhile prize and make sharing the competition a condition of entry, so that you get maximum exposure.
7. Alternatives to Scheduled Events
When the London Marathon had to be removed from the sporting calendar in April, the charity sector had to get creative to make up some of the money that would have been raised by the event. The 2.6 Challenge asked people to come up with any fundraising idea that involved the numbers ‘two’ and ‘six’. Some people ran 2.6 miles and donated to a favourite charity while others took things further, running 2.6 miles backwards in 26 minutes, baking 26 cookies and delivering them to family and friends, wearing full cricket kit non-stop for 26 hours. The possibilities were endless and the self-imposed challenges helped to raise a bit of the shortfall from the postponed marathon.
As the pandemic continues and more events are cancelled, postponed or are taking place behind closed doors, there are even more opportunities to come up with virtual fundraising challenges in their honour… Living Room Olympics anyone?
8. Family Challenges
Repeated lockdowns mean that many people are spending more time than ever with their immediate families. Some people will have be using a prison-style tally chart to mark off the days until they can escape, but others will have relished this opportunity to spend more time together and would definitely be up for a fundraising challenge that involved everyone in the household.
This could be anything from a Give Me Ten challenge where, for example, mom and dad run ten miles each and the kids each run ten laps of the local recreation ground, or a Come Dine With Me challenge, where each person is responsible for the dinner and entertainment one night of the week and everyone else votes on the best evening.
9. Live Stream Events
If you were planning a musical evening or a comedy night for your chosen cause and have had to re-think your plans thanks to Coronavirus, you could still run it as an online fundraising campaign and live stream it to your audience. It is unlikely that you will be able to charge full price for tickets, but it may help you to get some contributions from donors and keep your cause alive in people’s minds.
10. Online Private Classes
If you have a hidden talent such as playing the tin whistle, watercolour painting or crocheting and think you have the patience and panache to teach others to do it too, you could raise money by offering online tutorials. These could be one-offs or run as a course, depending on what you are teaching and the time you have available.
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