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8 really simple but effective virtual fundraiser ideas

Whether you’re a seasoned charity pro or are dipping your toes into the world of money-raising for the first time, these virtual fundraiser ideas are a great way to get the donations rolling in. 

a person sitting on a yoga mat

So you may not have the budget, time or know-how to set up a virtual-reality gala complete with avatars and snazzy branded breakout rooms. But that certainly doesn't mean you can’t run a really successful online fundraiser for a cause close to your heart. 

Whether you’re a seasoned charity pro or are dipping your toes into the world of money-raising for the first time, these virtual fundraiser ideas are a great way to get the donations rolling in. 

Tip: To collect donations for any of the below ideas, you could sell tickets on a platform like Ticket Tailor, or set up a charity donation page like JustGiving. Remember Ticket Tailor offers all charities, PTAs and B-corps 20% off all their fees.

Online health & wellbeing class (plus virtual retreat?)

Got a mate who’s a yoga instructor? Or perhaps your brother-in-law’s cousin’s wife is a PT. Either way, it’s probably easier than you think to find a fitness or wellbeing enthusiast who’s willing to give up an hour of their time for a good cause. There are tons of people out there who are looking for ways to give back, so one text or email from you could be all the motivation they need to get on board.

If your virtual health & wellbeing class is successful, why not turn it into a full-blown retreat? Incorporate classes and talks from different professionals, focusing on things like meditation, yoga, pilates and even nutrition. The more that’s on offer, the more you can charge per ticket. Bingo.

Online quiz night 

Most people are familiar with virtual quizzes by now, partly because they’re so simple, fun and easy to set up. Scrub up on your quiz master skills and use a platform like Zoom or Houseparty to host a fun night for your good cause. 

Virtual culinary class 

It may be that you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, or perhaps you know a chef with a good heart. Even if neither of those apply, you could reach out to a culinary expert to see if they’d be up for getting involved with a virtual cooking class for charity. 

a person cutting food on a cutting board

Running an online cooking class doesn’t require many resources – all you’d need to do is send your attendees ingredients in advance (incorporate the cost of these into tickets), and then make sure you’ve got a good setup for filming the class.

There are loads of great gadgets for amateur filming out there, like tripods for smartphones, and selfie ring lights which give great lighting for live streaming.

Virtual fitness challenge

From home-run marathons live-streamed from treadmills through to virtual swim-a-thons, there are tons of ways you can use fitness to raise money for charity online.

The idea is that each person taking part in the challenge will seek sponsorship to achieve X number of miles/laps/steps etc. in X amount of time. Participants then film and live stream their progress, sharing stories and experiences with the outside world. Of course, there’s scope to add a healthy dose of competition to virtual fitness fundraisers too – try setting up a virtual race where competitors use a fitness app to record the time it takes them to complete a predetermined distance. 

Virtual comedy gig 

You only have to look at the success of The Covid Arms to see how a bit of banter with mates can turn into an epic feat for charity. 

Sure, it helps to have a friend who’s in the business of making people laugh. But even if you don’t know any comedians, there’s scope to reach out to someone on your local comedy circuit, or even give virtual stand-up a go yourself. 

Give the gig a true comedy club feel with a beer-breaks aplenty and ‘front-row’ tickets – where you charge extra for those who want to get to interact during the event (while others can watch but can’t be seen/speak up). 

Virtual book club 

The beauty of running a book club online is that you remove a lot of the usual barriers to attendance, meaning you can open up your event to an even bigger audience. This is also a great example of a virtual fundraiser that can be made recurring – say, once a month for example. 

a cup of tea and a book with flowers

You can choose to host your book club on a platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts, and can even organise separate one-on-one discussions where attendees can break out in a separate chat to discuss the book, before coming back to the group to share ideas. 

Commute donation campaign

With so many people now working from home due to the pandemic, one really effective way of raising money with minimal effort is to set up a campaign asking people to ‘donate their commute’. All you need is a JustGiving page and a good description of your cause. It can also help to put potential donations in real terms for givers. So, for example, you could let them know that £40 (the price of their weekly commute) would mean X amount of meals being provided to the people your chosen charity supports.

Virtual movie night

Thanks to Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party), it’s possible for groups to get together online for virtual movie nights. Using the platform, everyone is able to watch the same film with synchronized playback and can participate in a group chat throughout. 

There you have it – eight truly simple but worthwhile fundraiser ideas that’ll enable you to raise funds for your chosen cause… without stepping foot out of your house once. Nice. 

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