There’s a lot of reasons to fundraise…maybe it’s for charity, business, a local school, or even an art project you’ve been wanting to make. Whatever the reason, the virtual world has all the tools you need to connect with millions, and create an event that inspires people to pitch-in for a good cause. All it takes is a little bit of creativity, and maybe a webcam. Easy enough, right? These are a few recent virtual fundraising events, all unique and compelling, that make us want to give.
No Kid Hungry Goonies Table Read
A virtual reading of The Goonies raised $100,000 dollars for No Kid Hungry. The event was free to watch, and a number of the original actors dressed up just like their character from 35 years ago (including Josh Brolin with his red bandanna and cut-off sweatshirt.) We also really liked the choice of The Goonies for the No Kid Hungry charity. It’s a movie about adventure, imagination and friendship — something all kids should enjoy — so it really fit the theme. For organizers looking to replicate this, try to think about a popular movie or TV show that really resonates with your community and message. If it’s a message you are passionate about, there’s a good chance other people will be too, and the original cast might even want to do a virtual reading of the script. It’s a big idea, but with everyone in the world just a click away on Zoom, anything is possible!
Hilarity For Charity
Hilarity For Charity, a foundation dedicated to caring for families facing Alzhiemers, raised $340,000 with a virtual game show. The event was hosted by its founders, Lauren Miller Rogen and Seth Rogen, and featured Elizabeth Banks, Billy Eichner, Anna Faris, Jim Gaffigan and Craig Robinson, as well as about 2,000 virtual attendees. The questions were fairly light, like, “How much is a box of pop tarts?” But that was kinda the whole point of the night, to make a space for people to be funny and have a good time when they need it most. It may be hard to match the star power of Hilarity For Charity, but the idea of creating a game show on Zoom is something anyone can do. If it’s fun and original, and for a good cause, the donations might just roll in as well.
Bike for Humanity
Bike for Humanity’s virtual Halloween ride raised over $175,000 to support firefighters, their families and fire victims. The ride was co-founded by NBA Hall of Fame Center Bill Whalton, in an effort to raise funds for California and Oregon (as wildfires burned in much of the Western United States). The ride also provides a platform to promote health, community and service. All important things. The 25 dollar donation gets you a t-shirt and a number of discount codes from participating sponsors. And most importantly, this bike event isn’t a competition or anything like that. All you have to do is get out and ride. It’s about being active and enjoying the day and the outdoors. And that’s always a winning message.
The Million Mile Half Marathon
The Million Mile Half Marathon is an ongoing virtual running event that has already logged over 76,000 runners since it began. Runners can complete the half marathon anytime, anywhere in the world, and the entrance fee includes a $10 donation to CURE Childhood Cancer. One of the things we love most about this kind of event is that it can go indefinitely. Maybe even forever. The possibilities to raise money and reach millions with your message are literally endless. And when organizing an event like this, the sport doesn’t even have to be running. Any sport people can do on their own could be part of your charity event. It’s just about giving people a little incentive to do something active. We all need that sometimes.
Twitch Stream Aid 2020
Twitch Stream Aid 2020 raised $2.8 million dollars in March of 2020 for COVID-19 aid. The event featured live performances, athletes and celebrities gaming, and even a yoga session with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman. We think the twitch platform is really the perfect way to engage a broad audience. There’s no limit to the games or content you can stream, and the audience is already there. People are always watching Twitch. 24hrs a day. There’s even add-ons like Tiltify that make it even easier for people to give. All you have to do is find a video game that resonates with your audience (and obviously someone to play it). Or you could combine gaming with a musical performance. Or an inspirational talk. It’s all possible on Twitch. And If it’s good, and for a good cause. People will give.
The Desert Bus For Hope
The Desert Bus For Hope raised over $980,000 for the Child’s Play Foundation, which works to “improve the lives of children through the power of play.” So… What is Desert Bus For Hope? Well… To start, Desert Bus is a video game that simulates driving a bus from Arizona to Las Vegas. It takes eight hours to play, and you get one “point” when you get there. Then you can play in the opposite direction. And keep doing this. There is no end to the game. The Desert Bus For Hope event streams people playing the game for a week straight (and anything else they can do to entertain themselves and the audience.) Desert Bus For Hope has been doing this for 13 years and has raised 7 million dollars in total. In a way, it’s the kind of thing that’s built for the internet. There’s no end time. Anyone can watch. It’s totally out there and quirky. But it’s also completely unique, entertaining and for a good cause. All good things that make people want to give.
When in doubt, trust the message.
When trying to organize a virtual event that sets you apart from all the other things to watch on the internet, you have to have a message that resonates. Whatever you decide for an event format, whether it’s a table reading or a script, or a bike ride, make it an extension of the point you want to get across. If it’s about something that you really care about, other people will care about it too. And people give to things they care about.