2020 was a year that presented charities and fundraisers with serious challenges as limiting physical contact, social distancing, and lockdowns ensued. However, this gave new opportunities to be innovative, and digital fundraising campaigns attracted attention like never before.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Weibo, and Snapchat were all the media of choice for virtual fundraising and targeting demographics. Virtual fundraising ideas and shareable content including humour have performed well as has, fundraisers encouraged engagement with physical and sports activities, with celebrity patrons and social media influencers pulled in huge numbers of followers and supporters.

The Rise In Digital Fundraising

Digital fundraising campaigns really took hold last year with campaigns of all types gaining popularity with The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020, Giving Tuesday, and Movember, demonstrating how digital fundraising campaigns can gain huge support.

2021 is sure to be a repeat of 2020, so don’t be surprised to see digital fundraising breaking new records this year, with the hope that physical fundraising, charity events, and shops that raise money for charities will get an opportunity to open their doors later in the year.  

BBC Children in Need

Raising £41m, BBC’s Children in Need made great use of all social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TV. They prolonged interest and maximised their digital fundraising campaigns by keeping the momentum going with updates on Instagram and Twitter.

Sport Relief

Raising £40m, Sport Relief’s drive to end poverty was organised by Comic Relief and sent eight celebrities off to endure a 100-mile African adventure. Further activities were broadcast on YouTube, with celebrities pulling a British Airways airplane 100-metres, cycling from Cardiff to Aberdeen, and running three marathons. They showed that digital fundraising campaigns could cover multiple challenges to raise huge amounts of money.

Captain Tom

Raising £32m on the run-up to his 100th birthday, Captain Tom’s social media campaign was focused on helping the lonely through NHS Charities Together. His initial goal was to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his garden. The campaign first caught local media attention before going viral on a national level.

He was featured in a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, sung by Michael Ball, which topped the single’s chart in the UK, making him the oldest person to achieve a UK number one. Tom’s Twitter page attracted 120,000 followers, and his campaign broke two Guinness World Records, making it one of the most popular digital fundraising campaigns of 2020.

Virgin Marathon

Raising £16m, the 2.6 marathon was a virtual run covering a distance of 26 miles. People’s efforts were shown on social media, making this one of the best remote fundraising ideas brought in participants from across the nation.