The technological developments of the 21st century have made the organising and planning of a fundraising event a much easier task, but have you considered going virtual?
Virtual events take place online, allowing people to interact with each other over the internet. They can either be used to supplement and enhance a physical event, or as a completely standalone platform. They became particularly popular after the financial crash in 2008, as they were a hugely effective replacement for the trade show, which had been massively affected during this time.
Virtual events offer a whole range of benefits for charities. Not only from a fundraising perspective, as the cost-benefit ratio is much higher than a physical event, but also from a marketing perspective, as it will be much easier to maintain communication with attendees before, during and after the event has taken place.
Keep reading to find out the three benefits of virtual events, that we think are most beneficial to charities…
Suitable For All
Virtual events, particularly virtual running events, are accompanied with a huge amount of flexibility as they often run over a period of time. This means that anyone can get involved, no matter their level of ability or if they already have commitments which may inflict with event dates etc.
British Heart Foundation’s MyMarathon runs throughout the month of May and challenges participants to run the distance of a marathon. It can be broken up into as many different chunks as the participant wishes too and at whatever pace suits them. This means anyone can get involved, whether they are new to running events or if they are a seasoned pro at them. It also means they have flexibility in terms of completing it in manageable chunks that fit around their schedule, and they can take part whenever they please.
This is much more beneficial in terms of fundraising as, the more people who can get involved, the more support and awareness can be raised for the cause!
A limitation of a physical event is often the location. Maximum venue capacities as well as transport links play a huge part in who and how many people attend an event. Virtual events can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection which means a much larger range of people can get involved.
Shelter’s HomeRun is a virtual running event where participants run as far as they can in the month of April. This nationwide event already has participants in all 11 regions of the UK signed up. This is beneficial for the charity because it gives their campaign a much wider reach, as there are people all over the UK taking part and raising funds. By adding branded merchandise into the mix, it will give your charity a huge exposure and will help to raise awareness for your cause. It also helps to reduce your carbon footprint as there are less people travelling to attend the event as the challenge can be completed in each runner’s local area.
Another brilliant example of how an event has improved their reach thanks to the virtual aspect of their campaign is Movember. Initially starting as a movement of just 30 ‘Mo Bros’ in 2003, it is now a global event with over 5 million active participants each year. All they must do is sign up online and they are ready to go. For more fundraising lessons you can learn from Movember, check out our previous blog post on this here.
More Efficient Use of Funds
During the planning of a physical event, there are a lot of things to consider when assigning budget. Overheads such as venue hire and payroll can take a huge chunk out of the assigned budget, which increases the risk of running an event in the first place – especially if the success of the event is not guaranteed. Virtual events completely reduce this risk factor.
The advancement of technology has meant that running a virtual event cost very little, due to the plethora of apps and websites available which allow you to run such events for free or for a minimal fee. This means the funds can be assigned to other things to help make the event a success. Things like prizes for participants or merchandise which can be sold alongside the campaign can all help to attract attendance to the event and help raise additional funds and support. Parkinson UK’s Time to Run 50 event challenges runners to travel 50 miles in 50 days and rewards them with a medal upon completion of the challenge. Adding in small touches like these medals will attract more people to participate in the event and will lead to more support.
If you want to start planning a virtual event, get in touch now for tips and advice on how you can use fundraising merchandise to improve the effectiveness of your campaign!