Can we put the FUN back into FUNDRAISING?

18 November 2020

Wiltshire Air Ambulance HeliFun
Fundraising has been hit hard in this year of lockdown. But many charities have managed to think differently and get creative in our new digital first world.

With many charities trying to find inventive ways to operate in the new lockdown world, there is a real need to do whatever we can to keep the momentum going.  Vital funds from challenges and in-person events as well as lost income froretail outlets have been hitting the bottom line hard.   

More than ever in our new reality, charities are fighting the battle to deliver crucial services, whilst continuing to engage supporters and get them excited about donating in these challenging times.   

Many charities are like our 4th Emergency Service and fundamental key workers, helping vulnerable groups of people who are in dire need now more than ever. And in many cases are a major support to the NHS and the health and well-being of hundreds and thousands of people across the country. Maintaining and growing awareness of your purpose and cause is about reminding people who you are and the important work you do and sharing your stories and the role you play in these important times.   

Now is the time to reinvent and get creative about fundraising. Embrace digital and engage with supporters and tell your stories.  It will be those who embrace technology to become digitally enabled who will be able to deliver better outcomes to those that matter to them most. 

Embracing Digital First Approach 

So, how can you use digital to do things - and do it differentlyHow can you create events - and do them differently and virtually?  

Moving from survival into thriving again is key to think through, there are various stages to consider. As you move out of crisis and into future planning, going back to basics is important. Know your purpose. Be clear on your story, and your needs, and relate it your audience and the current times. The digital journey is important, now more than ever, and your user experience is vital to understand and develop over time. 

People have great imaginations 

Some of the most creative ideas are already out there, and many are being done - a much publicised example in the amazing efforts of Captain Tom and his garden walking challenge doing his 100 laps before his 100th birthday raising funds for the NHS. And there are other stories of people using what they have around them to fundraise for causes important to them.   Cancer Research UK have just launched their Race For Life campaign with a twist as “Race for life - at Home. Apart but Together” - to support their continued efforts. And the organisers of the London Marathon have asked us all to rise to the 2.6 challenge and with this rise to the call of supporting charities across the UK. 

The country is coming up with simple yet effective ways to do things they enjoy or activities which challenge them, and they are raising money in the process! All this is being done virtually, and through technology which exists.  

Maybe put a “call to action” out through your various communication platforms - let them come up with the ideas, see what is possible with physical distancing and through digital means. What can people do to fundraise for their favourite causes? How can they incite others to join in? How do they invite people to sponsor them or donate? Do you need a payment gateway set up which is safe and secure? 

Creating a way to tell your story 

A website is a good way to engage with supporters and volunteers by offering the “shop window” into your vision, your purpose and the needs you have, and ultimately to attract existing and new donors and highlight clearly how people can give. Doing this in a fun way is very achievable and can be linked to a form of simulation model to bring engagement. 

Everyone seems to be loving a good online quiz right now, and there have been some recent events created in our new virtual world attracting big audiences with the ability to also attract substantial donations for charities. The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust engaged their patron Alexander Armstrong to run a virtual version of Pointless from his home, through Youtube. This was driven through their website and social media and helped raise much needed funds for their cause. 

Gamifying the donation process  

Keeping the charity top of mind and driving awareness amongst new generations is also key to the long-term success of any charity. It’s also important to retain the current and long-term supporters by ensuring they are engaged with a charity’s purpose and mission, not allowing any fundraising fatigue to set in.  

As part of a wider digital strategy, this is a good way to help deliver more income through an easily accessible and interactive platform – be that a website, or an app, And making it mobile friendly. 

A great example which takes the essence of the charity on board as it helps increase awareness of its work is Helifun from Wiltshire Air Ambulance. It demonstrates that if you embrace digital technology, it allows you to think outside the box, change what you do, and how you do it. 

The aim needs to be about creating something exciting, an innovative way to drive online donations – to keep recognition going, it also allows you to talk about challenges faced by the charity. It facilitates the option to share key messages, inform of up-and-coming events, and keep the donation lines open.  

A great way to bring your charity and its purpose into the world of your supporters by taking them on a digital journey. It's all about the user experience, making it memorable and sustainable. Its shareable, and therefore scalable as you get people excited to engage and share with others – what they are up to, and how they are progressing in their endeavours. 

If you would like to see some of the work we have done in this space, please visit our website 

We are here to help, and happy to talk through what options might be best for you.  

Please do not let funding your idea stop you calling us, if there is a way, we will find a way.