The Best Digital Fundraising Campaigns Of 2020

image of mobile phone screen

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 and charity 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 through the use of contactless payment devices to aid donations.

2021 is sure to be a repeat of 2020, so don’t be surprised to see contactless and 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.  


We all know what happened after this blog was written. It didn’t quite work out as easily as we thought. But what we saw was an increase in digital giving and generosity, and the evolution of hybrid fundraising. As we got back together, events became multi-functional for charities.

Find out more

Read more about our take on hybrid fundraising trends.

The Best Digital Fundraising Campaigns Of 2020

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.

Who are GWD?

We help socially-minded organisations transition to digital systems, building stronger relationships through impactful products and services.

Our experience goes back two decades, with a foundation building and providing critical digital services and products for the financial services and retail industries.

With a long-proven ability to handle challenging projects and a team of trusted experts, we work hard to solve problems and deliver change that helps others.

Attract Loop

Part of the Donation Station’s key visual design features, the Attract Loop are screensavers purposefully designed to run on a loop. Created by GWD with your input, they use visuals or photography, plus an emotive call to action, to catch the donors interest and lead them towards donation through interactive storytelling.


The entire Donation Station is open to branding, from external display to on-screen logos, photography and your brand look and feel.

Our design support service can adapt visuals and graphics to suit your brand.

Wifi or 4G/5G Data SIM

Where you need it, the Donation Station can be supplied with Data or Wifi connectivity.

If using the device in a remote location or at an event, it’s worth considering the signal strength available – GWD can support you to ensure there’s a smooth running operation on the day.

Safe & Secure

All data is transmitted with full encryption, so you can be sure that all individual donor data is safely used, in accordance with GDPR regulations.

Choice of Donations

Giving choice on where the donor wants their money to be spent empowers them further. The Donation Station asks this question and gives charities freedom to present their causes and activities as separate campaigns.

Gift Aid Up Sell

An integrated Gift Aid function on all Donation Stations helps boost fundraising a further 25%. This tax relief can be claimed from HRMC from any donor that supplies their contact details and makes a declaration, as a UK tax payer. The Donation Station is designed to encourage and secure this additional fundraising income easily, through simple reports that can be downloaded and submitted to HMRC as part of a Gift Aid claim.