Research shows that the charitable sector in Canada, and around the world, is currently experiencing a crisis. The number of Canadians who donate has been on a downward trend for several years, and the uncertainty stemming from COVID-19 has made 2020 all the more challenging.
The team at CanadaHelps has heard from a number of charities facing difficulties this year including unprecedented need for services, having to deliver in-person services virtually, lost revenue streams, cancelled fundraising events, and much more.
There’s still a lot of unknowns as we head towards GivingTuesday and the end of the year, but one thing is certain – most of us are depending on the final weeks of 2020 to fund our missions in 2021.
Given the hesitation to reach out to donors who may have lost their jobs, the need to replace in-person events, and challenges related to finding new donors, here are 5 virtual fundraising ideas worth considering:
1. A No-Gala Gala: Create a completely virtual event or program you can share with your supporters via a live stream, such as a musical performance, speeches from your board, or success stories about your work. Much of what you would do in person can now be done virtually. You can even arrange to have meals delivered to gala attendees, while saving on venue costs!
If costs are low, consider offering ticket purchasers a free “bonus” ticket to share with a friend, creating extra value for the purchaser and giving you the opportunity to reach new donors.
2. A Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign: Turn your supporters into fundraisers and challenge them to engage with their friends and family to raise money for your cause. We’ve seen successful virtual runs and solo bike-a-thons that participants complete on their own while tracking their own miles and time. Other creative ideas as the weather gets colder include a book-a-thon, a healthy eating challenge, or physical fitness challenges like push-ups or planking. These sorts of fundraisers expose your cause to a larger audience and provide supporters, who may also be facing economic uncertainty, with a way to help that isn’t hard on their wallet.
3. Virtual Movie Night: Invite your supporters to a virtual movie night. Sell tickets or give them away for free and encourage them to invite their friends. Screen a film or documentary connected to your cause that will motivate them to support you. Include a donation ask at the end of the film.
4. Virtual Painting or Craft Night: Supporters can participate in an evening of painting or crafts at home. You can ask attendees to use whatever they have at home to create their masterpiece, provide a list of supplies for them to obtain on their own, or send them everything they’ll need. They can either use their own imaginations or have an expert instruct them.
5. Virtual Tour: Sell tickets for a virtual tour of your space. Many charities will have something worth sharing with their supporters. Art galleries can offer a guided tour with an expert, or animal shelters and rescues can introduce viewers to the animals in their care.
No matter how you choose to engage your donors virtually, don’t be afraid to try something new and make the ask. Your supporters appreciate the important work you do and want to see you succeed during this challenging time.
Angela Kostenko, Vice-President, Marketing at CanadaHelps, has 16 years of experience in the digital space. Since 2016 she has focused on driving donations for tens of thousands of charities on CanadaHelps and providing charities with the education and resources they need to succeed. Founded in 2000, CanadaHelps is a charity focused on increasing charitable giving in Canada and providing charities with the effective fundraising technology and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. Trusted by 22,000 charities, over 2.6 million Canadians have donated over $1.4 billion to charities using CanadaHelps.
Cover photo by Andrea Piacquadio