Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Amy Phillips

Virtual Fundraising Ideas

The global pandemic forced the cancelation of many in-person fundraising activities. Instead of hoping or praying that this year or next will be better, have you yet considered adapting your in-person event to a virtual format? There are still many ways to raise money; you just have to adjust your mindset a bit and let your creativity flow! Here are some virtual fundraising ideas to help you learn how to raise money by reimagining traditional in-person fundraising activities and pivoting them into successful virtual events.

Virtual Fun Run/Walk-a-Thon

If you have children or spend much time with school-age kids, no doubt you’re familiar with fun runs and walk-a-thons. Schools love them because of the proverbial “two birds one stone” theory. One event, two benefits: building community AND raising money. You can pivot these events to virtual by having folks register; consider charging a nominal fee for registration. Select a date and time when everyone runs on their own. Just like in-person fun runs, collect donations for each mile/lap/block (or whatever distance works for you and your org!). When the date arrives, have participants track their times and distances and enter them into a shared spreadsheet. Everyone’s a winner (and healthier too)! It’s easy to see why some virtual fundraising ideas are done frequently

Spin/Yoga Class Fundraiser

Next up in this list of virtual fundraising ideas is spin/yoga classes. Find a local gym or yoga studio that’s willing to help you out by donating a class to your school, nonprofit, or cause. You can opt to charge a small entry fee for participation. Place a donation jar by the entrance (if in person), or collect donations online if it’s a virtual class. If instructors are willing, you can make this an annual, quarterly, monthly, or even a weekly thing.

Workout Challenge

Along the same lines, do you have any personal trainers or fitness experts in your circle of support? Ask them to help you to organize a workout challenge. You’re encouraging healthy habits AND charitable giving! This is another great activity with a number of ways to execute it: 100% virtually, a fusion of virtual and in-person, or in-person only when people are comfortable in groups. 

Virtual Happy Hour

Now for some fundraising ideas for nonprofits that don’t involve exercise. How about a Virtual Happy Hour? Let’s be honest. Before the pandemic, this idea might have sounded rather lame. But virtual happy hours can actually be really fun, especially if you approach them with the right attitude and put some thought into it! Invite major donors and your most loyal supporters to a virtual happy hour. Let them know what you’ve been up to, and how you’re raising money despite not being able to gather in person. Keep supporters in the know and impress them with your adaptability. You can even work a casual ‘ask’ into the hour. A global pandemic isn’t going to stop YOU from raising money! Your donors will remember this about you and they’ll appreciate you for thinking of them.

Virtual Tours

The pandemic halted some long-standing traditions in 2020, like annual holiday home tours, for example. But last December, we successfully reimagined a physical home tour into a virtual one! It kept that long-standing tradition afloat AND it was fun! Oh, yeah – and it raised money, because people were happy to offer a suggested donation amount. Watch the virtual home tour! Winning? We think YES!

Virtual Entertainment: Comedy Night, Bingo, Trivia Night, Storytelling

Virtual Fundraising IdeasSome games and activities translate to virtual formats quite seamlessly. Bingo comes to mind. Trivia nights can be adapted for a virtual format fairly painlessly. Storytelling nights can be special and community-building, especially if you have a fabulous storyteller who can wear many hats, both literally and figuratively!

Cooking Classes

Have you ever looked up a YouTube tutorial to learn how to do something in the kitchen? Carve a turkey, make an unforgettable gumbo, or a fancy dessert? Baked Alaska, anyone? Talk about VISUAL! Cooking classes can easily be turned into virtual fundraisers. Charge a small registration fee and invite a chef to lead the folks at home in making something special. Lots of folks used the extra time at home to hone their cooking and baking skills; now they can put them into practice with a group! You can ask the chef to provide exclusive recipes, to justify a registration fee. 

Paint + Sip

Paint and sip is another fundraising activity that translates very well into a virtual fundraiser. Folks register for the evening and can either pick up paint kits, or you can ship them. Then sip, nosh and paint away as you watch others do the same! If you know any professional artists, ask them if they’d be willing to lead the charge, Bob Ross-style. Added fundraising tip: Sell the finished artwork at the end – perhaps via an online auction or similar. 

Bar Crawl

Once things begin to really open up and more folks are vaccinated, how about a bar crawl? It’s likely your social butterfly supporters are itching to get out and have a little fun. And it’s a great way to raise money AND awareness! Plan your route and provide branded event t-shirts for the group to sport. You can even ask people to bring buckets/tip jars, to encourage other interested bar patrons to donate to your good cause. 

Virtual Fundraising Ideas: Paint and SipSocial Media “Takeover”

Here’s a fun idea that’s gaining in popularity and all it costs is your time. Ask a corporate sponsor or local business if they’d be willing to “donate” their social media to you for a day. Then schedule posts all day long, extolling the virtues of your nonprofit! Produce posts ahead of time and keep them fun, fresh, visually-enticing and full of mission moments. Take some time with this so it doesn’t feel or look like a rush job. Remember to add links to your org, and relevant tags and hashtags. Just THINK of the exposure you’d get from folks who may not know about you and the great things your org does to support people, places and/or animals. This little exercise opens you up to a whole new world of potential supporters! Yes, please. 

Social “Blitz”

Plan for a day-long “blitz” on your own social media channels. Schedule posts every hour detailing the great work you do. Just like with the corporate social media takeover, spend serious time crafting your posts before the big day. Think eye-catching pictures, dynamic videos, and clever captions. Give folks a little hint of what’s coming up so they’ll be encouraged to check back later. Consider incorporating trivia questions about your org and encourage folks to post answers in the comments to encourage engagement. Most people can’t resist a good game of trivia!

Board Member, Staff, and Volunteer Campaigns

You might not be fully utilizing a major source of influence … your board members, staff and volunteers! Ask them to create personal fundraising pages to share with their friends and family. A little friendly peer-to-peer competition between friends can work to your advantage – raise the stakes and raise more money!

Donate Your Birthday

It’s something that has probably shown up in your feed before – folks donating their birthdays for a cause. Donate YOUR birthday to your favorite cause and encourage your supporters to do the same on THEIR special days.

Now that you’re looking at fundraising and fundraising events a little differently, maybe you have some of your own ideas on how to raise money for a cause – yours! Let’s brainstorm YOUR ideas – together. Reach out! We want to hear about your creative virtual fundraising ideas.

Virtual Fundraising Ideas Conclusion

There are plenty of great virtual fundraising ideas that can help you raise significant amounts of money for your cause. If you need help planning your next fundraiser, check out our fundraising event services or request a consultation with us.

>
fundraising event best practices2021 Fundraising Trends