Fundraising goes virtual

virtual fundraising blog images (5)

‘Virtual’ is the name of the game right now. People, local businesses and organisations are all having to be creative during this current crisis, thinking ‘out of the box’ as to how they can stay connected with their friends, customers and followers. Charities are no exception to this. A small charity likes ours relies heavily on sponsored events and personal fundraising as one of our main income streams, but suddenly overnight our calendar of events is empty.

The irony is that our service is needed more than ever to help the many local families in crisis, and to tackle the sharp increase in new referrals which we are seeing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We appreciate that this is a financially uncertain time for many of our supporters, but are urging those who can, to please get behind our Covid-19 Appeal by making a financial contribution or sharing our plea.

But we are nothing if not resilient, so we are also turning our attention to how our supporters can still creatively fundraise from the comfort and safety of their own home. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far.

1. Donate cost savings

If you’re saving money on your daily commute to work, or even better, you’re a season ticket holder and have secured your refund, then why not donate some to our appeal?

Have a think about the other funds you are saving money on during this period of isolation. A takeaway coffee on the way to work, a daily shop-bought sandwich at lunchtime, your cleaner, childcare, fuel, date nights, haircuts, the list goes on. We understand that with these cost savings, you may have had to take a hit with a drop in income, but if you can spare anything, then some good will have come from this and it would be very much appreciated.

2. Donate your birthday

Let’s face it, this isn’t going to be over with any time soon, so there’s a possibility that your birthday will fall during this time. Any plans you had, or hoped to have, will probably be scuttled. If you can’t have the celebration with family and friends that you’d hoped for, why not get together online instead through one of the popular apps. like WhatsApp, Zoom or Houseparty. Instead of asking for presents, ask for a charitable donation instead. Facebook has made this really easy with its fundraiser tool, which invites your friends to pledge to your chosen charity and doesn’t take a penny. Here’s some simple instructions on how to set this up, and we’ve even created a graphic for you to use below.

3. Do the isolation challenge

There are lots of different isolation challenges which spring to mind. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to grow a beard or moustache? Now’s the perfect time to finally get it out of your system. Or maybe you’ve always wanted a crazy hair colour? Oh how we’d love to see a photo of your newly dyed orange hair. Get your friends and family to sponsor you for this crazy act.

4. Give up something for 30 days

You may not usually do Lent or that ship has sailed anyway, but you can still give something up. We all have our vices – whether it’s chocolate, pop, caffeine, alcohol, too much tech etc. Family and friends will appreciate that these are harder times than most to go cold turkey, so should be more willing to encourage you with sponsorship. Fundraising for a great cause whilst installing better habits – it’s a win-win!

5. Get physical

Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t get physical. In fact, exercise is a positive action in maintaining a good state of mental health. As long as you follow government guidelines, you can still go outdoors. Maybe that marathon you were planning on running can turn into an accumulative marathon? If running isn’t your thing, then focus on walking or cycling.

Even if you’re self-isolating, this shouldn’t stop you physically challenging yourself. We’ve heard of people running around their garden hundreds of times to reach their milestone, or doing squat challenges if their outside space is on the smaller side or non-existent. You could even take this indoors and use the stairs to reach for the heavens. Choose a summit and then work out how many times you need to climb the stairs to reach the top.

6. Take on Stripey’s virtual challenge

This leads naturally on to our own challenge where you can #EarnYourStripes with us. If you, the kids or family are taking on a challenge of your own, be rewarded with our exclusive Stripey Stork medal.

The challenge is yours for the choosing – this can be anything from a physical goal, a sponsored silence, cleaning all the windows in the house in a set amount of time. The list is endless because you set the challenge, and as far as we’re concerned, the nuttier the better. To enter you can either make a personal donation of £20.20 or raise £50 in fundraising, more details can be found here. Ask the kids to draw a traditional giving thermometer to show the total they’ve raised so far – art lesson for the day, done!

7. Think ‘thon’

Readathon, moviethon – before all of this, we longed to have extra time to indulge in more books and/or movies. I’m sure we each have a list we’ve always wanted to work through, well now’s your chance. But make a challenge out of it too, for example set yourself an ambitious goal of reading 10 books in 60 days, or whatever duration of time you think is feasible but is still going to push you.

It could be time to re-watch all of the Star Wars, Harry Potter or James Bond movies, back to back. Whatever you or your family are into or have always meant to try – there’s never been a better time. Make it more fun by asking the kids to design cinema tickets, a movie poster and not forgetting that all important box of popcorn.

8. Organise a virtual quiz/bingo/book club

Whether you’re a pubber, bingo player or a social reader, keeping in touch with friends is more important than ever, even if you can’t be with them in person.

Use one of the social connection apps. mentioned above and ‘raise the bar’ with a virtual pub quiz (or even a video games tournament). Just decide on a theme, research the questions and invite friends with a suggested donation to participate.

Hosting a bingo night has been a Stripey Stork dream for quite some time now, so this is one we are particularly excited about. We’ve found a great article with instructions on how to host your own. You could even theme it Stripey Stork style – “two little booties, 22”, “number of stripes on Stripey, number 12”. There’s so much fun to be had with this.

9. Start saving for Stripey

If you would like one of our #Save4Stripey money boxes to start collecting loose change then please email office@stripeystork.org.uk and we can arrange for one to be sent to you.

As well as being useful for collecting spare change, we also accept discontinued and foreign coins/notes you may have lying around the house. Make it into a challenge, for example every time someone says the word ‘Coronavirus’, £1 goes in the box.

Every little helps, especially at a time like this.

10. Shop – the charitable way

Did you know that if you shop with Amazon via Amazon Smile, then they’ll donate 0.5% of the price of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to us? Just go to Amazon Smile and register using your usual Amazon login. Select ‘Stripey Stork’ as your chosen charity and you’re ready to go!

Give as you Live is another brilliant cashback website which we are also signed up to. Firstly, register to support Stripey Stork here. Then when you’re internet shopping at any of the 4,300 participating retailers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots UK, John Lewis to name a few), shop via the Give As You Live website or app. and we’ll receive the commission at no extra cost to you.

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The right tools

During this current crisis, you can create a fundraising page directly from our COVID-19 Appeal via Virgin MoneyGiving. Just click on the ‘Start Fundraising’ button in the top right hand corner of our appeal page. This means that any sponsorship will go directly to our appeal total and directly to the families we are helping during this extremely difficult time. And don’t forget, if you’re making a donation as a UK tax payer, please add gift aid as it means we secure an extra 25% at no extra cost to you.

Just because you may be raising funds virtually, it doesn’t mean to say you are alone in your fundraising. Our team are here to support you, just as we always have been. We also have a handy Fundraising Toolkit with useful tips, materials and free downloadables.

If you’d like to virtually fundraise for us then we’d love to hear from you, please email partnerships@stripeystork.org.uk with any ideas or questions.

We are counting on our supporters to be as fabulous as ever, just with a splash more innovation and creativity! Let’s do this #TeamStork!

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