10 COVID-friendly ways to boost your fundraising success

06 Oct 2020

So, you’ve signed up to do the JDRF One Walk and help JDRF in the fight against type 1 diabetes. First of all, welcome to the Blue Army; we salute you and we’re so excited you’ve chosen to enlist! Now, in a world that looks quite different to what we’re used to, you might be wondering what you can do to raise funds. We know that as we all grapple with the need to socially distance, leaving your house or hosting an event is not always an option. To get you started, we’ve come up with 10 COVID-friendly ideas for you to hit your target and who knows, these might even help spark an idea of your own! 

1. Trivia Night

While in-person trivia nights may not be possible depending on where you live, a well-planned virtual trivia night can be just as much fun! All you have to do as Trivia Master is recruit friends and family members, figure out the categories and questions you want to ask and set up a Zoom call or Google Meet for everyone to join in. The winning team can get a fun prize like a box of home-baked cookies or little novelty trophies. Fundraising tip: Share your fundraising page with everyone joining in and ask for a donation as a “joining fee” for the night setting a target for how much you are hoping to raise. 

2. Adopt a plant

Who said fundraising can’t be sustainable and environmentally friendly?! This is a super simple idea to raise funds and get your green thumb in action. Just get friends and family to sponsor a plant/tree for every $50 or $100 raised and adopt it as your very own plant baby. 

3. Donate to Download

This is the 2020 version of the "free keyring or coffee mug with a donation". Get those creative juices flowing and offer something digital to anyone who makes a donation! Books, artwork, local artisan food, coupons, discount codes, or a small gift are just some of the things you could consider offering. 

4. Soiree   

Don’t cancel your party, just host it via video call! You can save money on an expensive venue while your attendees can participate from the comfort of their own home. To make things more interesting, you can ship each guest a “party in a box” that could include favors (hats, leis), tiny decorations (paper lanterns, mini-umbrellas for drinks), or even food and drink (pie-in-a-jar, drink mix) and invite a local comedian or play virtual games for entertainment. Ask guests to donate the money they would have spent on travel, a new outfit, a bottle of wine, a gift, or whatever is appropriate. 

5. Cooking Class  

With so many recipes and drool-worthy food pictures online, you too can share your culinary expertise by offering a cooking class to your network of friends and family. Just put on an apron and channel your inner Julia Child. You can gather donations from all those participating and even offer tiered donation levels for watching the class, various take-out dishes, gift cards, etc.  

6. Live Stream Challenge

In the age of social distancing, many bands, comedians, artists and speakers are turning to online platforms like Facebook Live to host entertaining events. Did you catch?John Krasinski’s virtual senior prom for the class of 2020? Well, you can do your own live stream fundraiser and even kick it up a notch by performing challenges thrown in by donors. 

7. Movie Night

While it may not have the intimacy of a movie theater, there are apps and websites like Netflix Party that allow people to watch movies together from long distances. Treat this as any other movie night, except you’re encouraged to have your phone on for texting or video chatting with the audience. Guests can donate money for their chosen snacks, or have each guest choose an appropriate donation challenge—every time they kiss $2, every explosion $5, every pratfall $10. Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is strong, grab your snacks, get comfy, and set a strict start time?for the audience. On the upside, you don’t have to share your popcorn!  

8. Birthday Party

The celebration must go on! We’ve all seen those Facebook Birthday Fundraisers, so why not take it to the next level? Host a virtual birthday party for yourself. Assign a date and time with an online save the date. You can send out virtual party favors such as e-cards or stickers to those who donate. 

9. Dance Challenge

“Renegade” may have sparked the TikTok Dance Challenge, but more dances have rolled through the platform to inspire and dare your friends. Share your fundraising page, start a challenge, and tag a friend to continue. People must donate to pass on the challenge before tagging the next person. That way, you keep both the moves and the money rolling.   

10. Online Gaming Tournament

The streaming platform Twitch estimates that users raised more than $75 million for various charities between 2012 and 2017. Start by figuring out which online game people in your network would be excited to play for a great cause. Quick tip: it should be a multiplayer game with scores, and there should be some kind of time limit, so your tournament doesn’t go on indefinitely. Some examples of games people have successfully used in tournaments are: Call of Duty, Rock Band, Mario Kart, FIFA, and Halo.