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It’s not an understatement to say that last year the world was forced to adapt in ways we could never have imagined. Due to social distancing guidelines, we have all had to take our IRL activities online. (Another Zoom quiz, anyone?!)

Sadly, for charities, the cancellation of thousands of mass participation events resulted in a loss of billions in fundraising income. However, whilst it has been undeniably tough for many charities, we are nonetheless staggeringly impressed with how fast-reacting and innovative they have been with their virtual fundraising ideas.

Here’s our round-up of some of the best charity challenge ideas we’ve seen in the last 12 months:

Running a virtual marathon

As the official Virgin Money London Marathon couldn’t go ahead as normal this year (other than for elite athletes), organisers encouraged charities to ask their supporters to tackle the 26.2-mile mountain within 24 hours wherever they could and then submit their results.

More than 37,000 runners completed the race, raising over £16 million for charities.

Whilst the idea of sponsored running for charity isn’t new, we are impressed that such a world-renowned event still managed to find a way to go ahead, despite such unprecedented setbacks.

 Get gaming

The mental health charity, Mind, tapped into the gaming phenomenon by establishing “the biggest fundraising gaming mission of all time”. As part of the event, ‘Switch Off, Game On’, the charity asked supporters to host and promote a sponsored stream or gaming event.

The campaign gets a thumbs up from us because not only did Mind take advantage of an emerging fundraising trend, but the concept was closely aligned to the charity’s purpose; connecting people.

P.S. We may also be influenced because Bluestep were involved in the fundraising event’s creative process. Find out more about that here.

Put on a show

With people unable to go out and celebs unable to film in a studio, Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need joined forces for the first time to present The Big Night In, an evening of virtual entertainment.

The telethon included performances from Miranda Hart, Sam Smith, a lockdown Vicar of Dibley sermon, a virtual EastEnders pub quiz and many more, all taking place remotely via video links.  The event raised a whopping £74 million, proving that technology really can be our best friend.

Easy does it #TwoPointSixChallenge

Were you even listening in 2020 if you didn’t hear of the 2.6 challenge?! Such a simple concept and yet it stirred up a storm on the internet.

The only basis for the challenge was 26 or 2.6, meaning participants could do anything from running 2.6 miles, bench pressing 26kg, or taking part in a 26-minute workout, as long as they were raising money for charity.

The simplicity of the fundraising challenge clearly appealed because the campaign attracted plenty of celebrities including Jonny Wilkinson and Dame Kelly Holmes and has so far raised over £11 million for lots of different charities.

It’s virtual quiz time

While many of us now have sudden hair washing commitments when friends suggest a virtual quiz, there was a time when virtual quizzing really got us going.

Laura Jones, founder of Eventures, raised over £133,000 for NHS Charities Together by hosting a series of themed online quizzes.

She started out with a virtual F.R.I.E.N.D.S quiz at the very beginning of lockdown, which sparked over 130,000 people to join in from across the world! She followed this up with a successful Disney-themed virtual quiz.

The moral of the story? If in doubt, get quizzical!

Virtual walkies!

We’ve all considered how the pandemic has affected human lives, but have we considered the effects it’s had on our beloved doggies? Due to social distancing, it’s likely that a lot of four-legged friends have also missed out on regular playtime with their pals.

The World Big Dog Walk Challenge is a series of dog walks held across the UK, uniting owners and their furry friends, with money going towards different dog charities. Seeing as it couldn’t go ahead in person in 2020, the organisers made it virtual and encouraged people and pooches to clock up their pledged miles in their own time, aiming to hit a total of 40,075km; that’s the circumference of the Earth!

 Online auction or raffle

While you don’t need a private virtual recording with Sting or a virtual cooking lesson with Heston Blumenthal up your sleeve, it certainly helps. This is what premier auction house, Sotheby’s, found when they raised money with a very prestigious online auction set up to raise money for the International Rescue Committee’s Covid-19 efforts.

If you don’t happen to have Sting on speed dial, we see no reason why other virtual auctions and raffles can’t make a real difference. Whether it’s a pledge to do the housework, or to bake a cake every month, charities can ask their supporters to contribute in all sorts of ways.

We all need a hero

Captain Tom Moore aimed to walk 100 laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday to raise money for NHS Charities Together. Footage of Captain Tom, resplendent in his military medals, tackling his mammoth task clearly pulled at the heart strings of the nation as he raised over £30 million and became our 2020 hero.

We salute Captain Tom as we remember that, with good intentions and a bit of determination, anything is possible.


Good luck if you are considering a virtual fundraising event and if you need any support with design or merchandise, please get in touch.

10 tips on how to make your virtual fundraising event stand out and increase smash your donations targets.

You’ll probably never face a more challenging time for your charity that right now. Not surprisingly, there’s a huge amount of fear and anxiety among charities at the moment. You may have seen a big reduction in charitable donations and decreased participant sign ups due to your fundraising events being cancelled. Many of your key staff may have also been furloughed and your charity income may have been hit hard. It’s difficult to not be disheartened and worried about how it will all end. 

This is why SO many charities are reacting and adapting by shifting their focus to virtual fundraising. As charity sector specialists we’ve helped to create events, their identities and merchandise for many successful charity events.  We believe in sharing with our community and so we thought we’d put together our top tips on how to navigate the virtual fundraising landscape! 

 Follow these tips and you’ll learn what aspects underpin a successful virtual fundraising event & have every chance of not only surviving the crisis but coming out even stronger than before. 

1. Define your target audience.  

As with any event or piece of communication, it’s important to know who you are talking to. If you’re used to holding any type of event, mass participation or otherwise, you’ll know the type of person you attract to those events. You may want to target those same people, or use your online presence to reach a whole new audience.  Either way, it’s best to know who you’re talking too, the more refined and pointed, the more accurately focused your event can be. 

2. Set yourself a realistic fundraising target.  

It may sound obvious but generally speaking, the more money you would like to raise, the more people you need to get involved. If your charity has a wide reach, you can set yourself a higher target. But be realistic too, a wide reach could be better served with several smaller events. The key is that you know your targets in order to know the shape and size of an event. 

3. Set yourself a non-monetary objective too. 

Your virtual fundraising event doesn’t have to be purely about raising lots of money this time around.  You can use the event to increase awareness of a particular service that your charity provides or maybe you have demographic that you would like to be more involved in your charity. Your virtual fundraising event is a mini advertising campaign so maximise your investment… just don’t try and do too much. 

4. Identify key dates. 

The beauty of virtual fundraising events is that they can be done any time.  But not setting a definite timeline or date can be detrimental to involving your fundraisers.  Online events work best when they have a defined period.  This not only makes them easier to manage, it also gives more clarity about when your fundraisers should take part. Whether it’s a day or a few weeks, setting that time makes everything a lot easier to plan around. You’ll be able to introduce the event, encourage participation and increase donations far more easily. 

5. Have an idea.  Or don’t. 

Charity teams are full of creative people and you’ve been creating fundraising events for years.  If you’ve got an idea that’s been dormant for years or you don’t know how to get it off the ground, give it a go as a virtual event, they’re much lower risk than those physical events that require space, property, insurance… (you know the drill).  If you’re scratching your head, we can help. 

6. Give your virtual fundraising event a clear identity.

With a crowded market, it is hard to stand out and with no clear identity it’s easy to be overlooked. Having a clear identity will make your event stand out from the crowd. A clear identity for your event will also ensure that people notice the event and not mistake it for any other comm’s you have out at the same time. Be clear with what your event is about and convey that through your identity.  

7. Have assets to send to your fundraisers. 

If you’re asking your fundraisers to do something online, ensure that they look good or have the tools to do what they need. Share assets that they can use on social platforms to make their space stand out from all their other content. 

8. Have a plan for marketing your event.

It may look simple and easy but you need to give some consideration about how best to reach your audience.  Ensure that your demographic will see your content where you intend to share it and consider where to use paid media in order to reach a wider demographic and new supporters. Acknowledge that you will need to be in front of your audience in a productive way throughout your events timeline. 

9. Thank your supporters just as you would at a physical mass participation event. 

You know that your fundraising supporters appreciate the thank you they receive across your events.  For some they have achieved a lifetime goal, for others, it’s a chance to cement relationships and to feel part of a team.  We know that merchandise continues to solidify relationships with supporters, receiving a medal recognising the achievement or a t-shirt that reminds the team of the camaraderie shared, is often an emotionally well received thank you.

10. Do you have existing resource to manage a fundraising event? 

Do not underestimate an online (Virtual) event, it is important to give all aspects consideration and be able to support the online necessary platform. The good news is that they are easy to manage and a doddle to learn.  But if you need any additional support, we can help. 


Need Additional Support? Drop us a line to see how we can help you with your online, virtual fundraising events. 

When keeping up with the ever-evolving market, brands often seek to refresh and rebrand themselves. Whether this is a minor tweak or a complete overhaul, as designers, we always get excited to see how agencies tasked with the job have brought a vision to life and the creative direction they have taken.

We asked the design team for their thoughts and opinions on some of the most recent rebrands and redesigns to hit the market.

John Lewis Partnership

Pentagram has recently given the iconic British company John Lewis Partnership, home to John Lewis and Waitrose, a revamp. Placing emphasis on their business model, whereby every employee (all 85,000 of them) have a stake in the company, ‘& Partners’ has been added to the names.

Inspired by the original pattern for the brand that was originally created in the 60’s, the parent brand, John Lewis and Waitrose are unified by the use of ‘brandlines’ – with a variety of weighted lines for each entity.

So, what do the Bluestep designers think?

“The new style has transferred well across the brand materials whether that be the logo to tote bags, using the same essence of their brand allows continuity, but keeps the different section of the companies fresh. By rebranding the companies together, it brings the two closer and more recognisable as a joint venture whilst still keeping their own personalities.”

“I particularly love the new typeface and linear font created for JL. This is used on the new bags that have the enlarged text bleeding off – a modern design element which you wouldn’t really expect from such a traditional brand. I like the use of lines – makes for a flexible identity which can be applied to a variety of applications and is a nice way to connect the two parts of the partnership by both using the parallel lines but in different orientations. However, it looks a lot like M&S in my opinion with a similar typeface and the use of black and green.”



The global ride-sharing and ride-hailing app Uber has revolutionised the way people get from A to B. Uber needed an identity that would work and translate universally across cultures, and so sought the help of Wolff Olins. The result is a stripped back, simple brand look.

Over to the Bluesteppers…

“I really like this – much simpler and cleaner than the old one, gives it a much-needed modern refresh! You can tell they’ve drawn inspiration from transportation icons in the arrows and rich blue colour that you see on road signs for easily legible text – a nice way to coherently transition the brand by using elements that are already commonly associated with the road/ transport/ travel.”

“I think the choice of a softer typeface and the move away from an all-caps lockup allows for a different tone of voice and universal brand message, this can only help with all the bad publicity that the brand has received in the past year. A more dignified and classier look will add a little more luxury when travelling and using the Uber brand where its seen to be a quick and cheap alternative to calling a taxi. This rebrand is a nice step forward from the rebrand that took place in 2015, which was highly criticised. “


Bringing things closer to home, with their head office in good old Northampton, we couldn’t pass on talking about Carlsberg’s (albeit small) changes to their brand identity. This new look has been rolled out onto the bottles, cans and glassware, creating a unified new product family. This comes at a time where the brand is releasing revolutionary innovations, such as the ‘snap pack’ in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

Here’s what designer and part-time beer drinker Andrew has to say:

“The revamped logo has seen small but effective changes, with small tweaks to the typeface and enhanced colour pallet, it sees the brand become lifted and refreshed. With the introduction of a clean and crisp typeface to partner the elaborate logomark, it brings a whole new look and feel, which almost brings hipster vibes with the cleaver typesetting and brand colours. Carlsberg has stripped back all the extravagance and have allowed for the brand to speak for itself with flat colours and a signature mark of approval on every bottle.”


So, what do you think? Do you agree with what our designers have to say?

We have worked on a handful of great rebrands here at Bluestep, which you can find out more about over on our case studies page.
If you are looking to give your brand a little re-vamp, get in touch with us today!


Images in this post are courtesy of ‘Brand New’

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been chosen as the design agency to create the rebrand for Whittlebury Hall & Spa!

Anyone who’s local to Northampton would have heard of the renowned Whittlebury Hall & Spa. The impressive hall sits atop the highest point in Northampton, covering 700 acres that overlook the vast countryside and is the go-to when it comes to relaxing spa treatments and business conferences.

Since opening in 1990, Whittlebury Hall has run separately to Whittlebury Park, which is situated directly opposite the hall and features a golf course and wedding venue.

After the acquisition of Whittlebury Hall by the owners of Whittlebury Park in late 2016, the Whittlebury team were looking for a design agency to help create and devise a new brand that embodies their new ‘One Team, One Goal’ attitude, uniting the two businesses.

After a couple of meetings and an initial brand concept, Whittlebury Hall & Spa chose Bluestep to help them on their rebrand journey, and we’re so pleased to be able to announce the news!

Brand development is well underway and we’re already discussing potential new names that represent the entire estate, while designing a fresh new logo that exhibits their well-established reputation.

The rebrand will not only see them change their name and logo but will require a complete overhaul of anything featuring their old branding, ranging from flyers, brochures, uniform, internal and external signage and much more.

The new brand and name will be debuted in early 2018 to see the new year in, so keep your eyes peeled for more…