Five ways to give your lockdown fundraising mass appeal.

Amy Nield By Amy Nield

If there’s one golden rule for charities planning fundraising events right now, it’s making sure you’re reflecting the behavioural shifts in wider culture.

Here are some tips to help you make sure your events adapt – and keep generating income in the coming months.

Don’t cancel – work around!

Don’t just bin a fundraiser because lockdown makes it tough – and don’t neglect the supporters who may have already put in hours of preparation.

A few clever tweaks could make your offline, mass participation event a virtual reality – giving your supporters the chance to take part at home, or around their local outside area.

Of course, one of the biggest motivations for any event participant is the buzz of sharing your experience with others – so you’ll need to find new ways of bringing that buzz to them.

This could be virtual, by helping them live stream or share their progress, using your charity’s social channels to bring support to them. Or you could help them drum up support from their local communities, by getting their neighbours to cheer them on.

For example, CRUK’s Race for Life At Home empowers people to get involved in any way they can, and not lose the momentum of fundraising or training!

Widening their support won’t just give them more encouragement, but could open their efforts up to more donations, too!

Making the best out of a bad situation

Being stuck at home has had one perk: people are having to find new ways to keep themselves entertained and connected.

Look at these activities – from hobbies, to novel ways of communicating – and ask yourselves: could any of these become a fundraising event? And if so, how could it tie in with your brand and your cause?

Keep a close eye on social media, or think about the ways your own family or friends have been staying connected as inspiration.

And start thinking about how you could offer supporters a way of turning cancelled calendar events – summer holidays, Father’s Day, Pride or Glastonbury – into replacement celebrations, with an integrated fundraising element.

Hit those dopamine receptors!

Lockdown may have changed a lot – but the basic principles of fundraising don’t!

So think about setting targets and bringing in gamified elements to your comms, either for hitting fundraising, training or challenge milestones.

That way, you’ll make people feel good about themselves at every step of the way. Make these shareable for social media so supporters can keep their friends and family updated.

It’s worth thinking about your fundraising mechanics as well: building in a nomination element lets fundraisers reward themselves by giving to charity, like Run for Heroes. It also gives fundraisers social currency amongst friends – while helping your cause to reach new audiences.

Finally, hero the people who’ve been fundraising for you. Celebrating the things people are doing, big and small, is so important. It doesn’t just help your supporter feel good – sharing feelgood stories could inspire others too.

Build your movement

If having an audience is a key part of a successful fundraising event, then how could you go a step further and make every single individual fundraiser feel like they have the whole of your charity and its supporters behind them?

Look for ways you could connect an individual’s actions to a wider movement, by providing expertise and encouragement from your supporters, or turn a single act of fundraising into part of a bigger challenge, like getting involved in the 2.6 challenge. You could even link up with other charities, corporate partners or local news to organise an event, offer support, coverage or rewards.

This could also be a great time to get your ambassadors or influencers aligned with your cause involved too. Personal words of encouragement from a celebrity, cooking tips from a chef before a charity family dinner party, or some video coaching from a top athlete could make supporters feel recognised, special, and like they have extra support behind them.

Finally, if you’re struggling for ideas, ask your supporters - what would they like to do? If you involve them at the ideas stage they will feel more invested in your activity, and you may uncover novel ways people are relating to your cause or community.

Get creative with platforms

Did we ever think video conferencing software would form the backbone of our social lives? No. But then these are strange times.

People are having to find new ways to keep connected. And with slick studio-filmed content off the table, they’re also open to much less polished forms of communication from organisations, brands and charities.

That means that there’s never been a better time to test different digital platforms for fundraising.

This could include testing out a fundraising event on a social channel you haven’t yet explored, or using a mechanism of a platform your audience is on that you haven’t.

TikTok’s just introduced a donate button, so there’s no greater time than the present to try it, or you could explore how to use Instagram, YouTube Live, or Facebook/Netflix/iPlayer Watch Parties.

Gaming and streaming are also big trends hitting the sector, so you could explore how you could incorporate it into a fundraising event by taking advantage of streaming services like Twitch.

If your audience isn’t made up of natural gamers, you could potentially use digital platforms to recreate popular board or table top games or parlour games like charades or twenty questions, or quizzes – all with a fundraising element, like Comic Relief’s star-studded Dungeons and Dragons tournament....

Although times are hard, fundraising events offer people something positive to channel their time into. By looking into cultural trends for inspiration, and being flexible and agile with planning, charities have a real opportunity to own positivity, and generate some much-needed income at the same time.

Amy Nield

Amy Nield


A pin sharp planner with a passion for people, Amy is a digital strategy expert with a range of big brand experience. She was named one of Campaign’s Faces to Watch in 2017 for her work with Digitas’s LGBT+ network and is fascinated by communities and conversation – we reckon you’ll enjoy chatting with her.