The 2022 Guide to Fee-Free Virtual Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is the fastest-growing fundraising method in the world.
In fact, online fundraising has grown more than 21% YoY in 2021, as most events went virtual due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Peer-to-peer fundraising has been popular online for over a decade. And while the pandemic may have accelerated that even further, charities aren’t launching fundraising campaigns and virtual events online simply out of necessity.
Holding an online fundraising event is one of the most effective (and budget-friendly) ways to connect with new donors, foster deeper and longer-lasting relationships, raise vital funds quickly, and grow your mission through online outreach.
Let's look at the types of virtual events and fundraising campaigns working for charities in Australia and New Zealand, examples of successful campaigns, and how to launch and run an entirely fee-free virtual fundraising event to make the biggest impact possible (and keep every cent of every donation).
Virtual fundraising events: what's working in 2022?
There are many types of events, each with its own strengths. The best choice for your cause will depend on your preferences and capabilities as an organisation. The following isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start – remember, you have the capacity to think creatively, blend campaign types of events, or think up something brand new!
1. Fitness and Activity-Based Challenge Events
Examples: Dive for Dollars Rottnest, Roll 1k for MDA
These types of fundraising events ask the participant to do an activity pre-selected by the fundraising organisation to raise money from family and friends within a specific date range. These events pick up registrations from people interested in both the activity and the cause. Although it’s a relatively crowded market, there are thousands of proven success stories.
The advantage of this strategy is the ownership that participants feel about their challenge, making them more likely to ask for donations from friends, family, and colleagues.
Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand’s Roll 1k for MDA campaign served to support New Zealanders with neuromuscular conditions through the organisation’s “Fieldwork Service.”
Utilising a fundraising community hub landing page, the campaign challenged supporters to use a wheelchair, bike, scooter, skateboard, or anything with wheels to roll 1km during the week of 20th – 26th September 2021 to help raise funds for the program. This unique challenge resulted in 57 different supporters raising $25,680!
2. DIY Fundraising
Examples: Birthday Fundraising, Hair-Shaving, Ice Bucket Challenge
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Fundraising empowers your supporters to choose their own activities to raise money for your cause. They can start fundraising simply because they’re passionate about your cause or prompted by a specific campaign started by your
organisation. DIY fundraisers have the freedom to be creative and choose their own activity to raise money for your cause.
Australia’s Wildlife Ark launched a free fundraising campaign page for its Save the Broad-Toothed Rat! campaign to help save the threatened Australian native species.
The organisation asked its supporters to donate and raise money to go toward a world-class and world-first broad-toothed rat breeding facility: concrete, site works, water tanks, security, and more. All in all, more than $60,000 was raised by 424 supporters – all on a free fundraising page!
DIY fundraising is all about giving your supporters freedom and finding ways to encourage your participants to take ownership of their fundraising.
3. Seasonal fundraising and hybrid events
Examples: Pink the Pavement (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), End-of-Year/Christmas Fundraising, Be Kind to Animals Week, World Mental Health Day
Seasonal fundraising events also have immense potential. These are typically centred around commemorative days, weeks, or months, but can happen at any time of year. They might involve combining events like activity fundraising and DIY fundraising, alongside
more traditional in-person events when possible. Large organisations benefit from the increased funnel these hybrid events and seasons offer, with the larger logistical complexities more manageable by big teams.
Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation launched a free fundraising campaign page for its Pink the Pavement campaign in October 2021 to gain more awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The campaign gave its supporters the freedom to set their own fitness goals, link their fundraising page with their fitness app, and raise money for breast cancer research and support. So far, the campaign has raised $9,520 contributed by 183 supporters!
The type of peer-to-peer fundraising event that works best will always be up to you and your knowledge about what inspires your supporters. There’s no one right answer, but you now have a sense of the possibilities in front of you, as well as the strengths of each.
Try the methods above for a fun, exciting, and innovative experience for you and your supporters!
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