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.
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!
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.