Vote in the Charity Virtual Event Awards 2022

The Charity Virtual Event Awards return for a third year to celebrate the power of online events.

Thank you to Headline Sponsor, Enthuse, for being so enthusiastic about online events!

Voting has now closed. Winners are announced at the Charity Virtual Event Awards on October 27th 2022.

🏆 Attend the awards for free.

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Best Virtual Fundraising Event

Please click on each charity to read more about their entry:

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed The Month Series. These virtual physical challenges encourage supporters to fundraise by taking on a cycle, walk or run throughout specific months of the year. From our initial ambition to raise £250,000 through two editions in 2020, the series grew significantly to eight editions in 2021, raising a staggering £7.2 million across both years.

The initial objective across the series was to recruit a 50:50 new/existing audience. However, we flexed our marketing approach to acquire more cold audiences as we discovered they were a new, unreached demographic that were actively fundraising. We focussed on the concept, messaging and creative to deliver an inclusive concept for everyone, with an 85:15 new/existing audience split.

Starting with a MVP in August 2020, we utilised JustGiving’s Digital Services’ pandemic response package, developing a simple microsite with integrated registration, branded fundraising pages, and semi-customised communications journey. Since then, we have continuously innovated to make user-focused improvements in tandem with JustGiving, offering new features such as Strava and custom comms packages. This improved experience and fundraising value, while contributing to the huge growth of the series since conception.

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So They Can works with vulnerable communities and their governments in East Africa to break the poverty cycle through education. During the pandemic, they needed to raise AU$60,000 to support vital sustainable school feeding programs.

In November 2021, they hosted their first virtual Global Dinner and cooking class, connecting a worldwide community through the power of good food, great company and positive impact.

It was an action-packed evening, hosted by their Ambassador and Aussie news anchor, Peter Overton. Peter was joined in the kitchen by celebrity Chef, Luke Mangan, who walked guests through a live cooking class from his restaurant, Glass Brasserie, in Sydney. Once dinner was underway, their Ambassador and Kiwi Singer-Songwriter, Neil Finn tuned in from Auckland to treat guests to a live, exclusive performance. One of their corporate partners, Momentum Media, also engaged, managing the live streaming platform and filming.

It was a fun, engaging and impactful evening with new supporters tuning in from all corners of the globe, and over 500 participants logging in for the event. Collectively, the community exceeded their target and raised over $101,982, enough to support 5 school feeding programs, feeding over 4,000 children for a year.

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St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley ran its first crowdfunding appeal, working with Charity Extra in May 2022. Faced with increased costs of building a new hospice, and challenges and delays to a Capital Appeal caused by COVID, this innovative appeal sought to engage as many people as possible and rapidly generate significant funds.

The online appeal ran for 36 hours and was supported by postal mailings to small segments of supporters. It generated an extraordinary 1,920 individual donations, which were all doubled in value by four match funders. The appeal exceeded expectations and raised £1million for St Catherine’s new hospice project.

We were one of the first hospices to work with Charity Extra and chose to work with them as they could create a real-time online event to engage multiple supporter audiences, reach a wide network and help us expedite conversations with our high value donors.

Best Innovation in Virtual Events

Please click on each charity to read more about their entry:

Clear Path Conference 2021 was a virtual event which gave a platform to survivors of abuse and organisations working within the abuse sector, allowing them to come together to educate, empower and inspire.

The event was run through Zoom with professional involvement to allow recorded videos to be streamed throughout the day, as well as having live segments and breakout rooms for discussion and support.

There were several speakers included and lots of information shared, with wellness breaks included to ensure the event was trauma informed and attendees were supported.

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At Food Train we held several online ‘ Light at the End of the Tunnel’ events in order to spread the word about the services that we provide for older people all across Scotland. They were online roadshows where we invited local referral organsiation, NHS, social work, charities, community organisations to join us and hear about Food Train, the services we provide in their area and how to refer older people to our services. We held these events in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Highland, Fife, Forth Valley and Moray. These online events gave us an opportunity to reach so many more people and organisations than we normally would meaning that many more older people were able to benefit from our services ensuring that they eat well, age well and live well in their own homes as long as they wish. The event was promoted onine via social media, particularly LinkedIn and via emailing. We were also able to make it a free of charge event since we had no venue, catering or travelling to consider.

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I’m nominating The Funding Network’s (TFN) Festive Fundraiser, which took place on the 8th of December 2021. At our events, small charities and non-profits pitch for funds (like a friendly Dragon’s Den!) for vital projects. This event was set to take place in in person but we were were forced to move it online last minute due to increasing concerns around the COVID pandemic. Luckily we already had some experience of virtual delivery, having already made rapid live crowdfunding possible via the chat on the platform Crowdcast.

While the sudden move to virtual delivery for this event could have affected our ability to raise funds for the three charities, we were able to raise more, with over £65,000 being raised for Artis Foundation, CRIBS International and My Life Films – over four times the amount we raised pre-pandemic!

Best Virtual Non-Fundraising Event

Please click on each charity to read more about their entry:

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East Anglian Air Ambulance’s (EAAA) Annual Roadshow offers an opportunity for supporters of the charity, as well as staff and volunteers, to hear about how EAAA has developed over the last 12 months and what it has achieved thanks to the generous donations and support of the EAAA community. This is achieved by allowing attendees to meet members of the team, listen to exclusive insights, hear patient stories and learn how they can get involved in various aspects of the charity’s work.

Historically the event has always been hosted in-person and content replicated over four counties, costing valuable time and resource. In 2020 the event went completely virtual due to the pandemic, so we revaluated our offer and refreshed content, allowing us to break the mould of previous events. 95% of attendees rated the event on average 4.5 out of 5 and 100% said they would attend again.

In 2021 some supporters did want to join us in-person but we couldn’t ignore the success of the virtual element so decided to go hybrid! Feedback from a supporter cemented our vision for the future of these events:

‘Including the virtual option makes it really accessible and I really appreciate you providing options for your supporters to choose how to attend. I don’t live near the Norwich site so please continue this.’

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New Pathways is a charity offering support to adults and children that have experienced rape, sexual assault, or sexual abuse (known as sexual violence, or SV) across Wales. Only 15% of people who experience SV ever disclose they have been affected.
New Pathways mark Sexual Violence Awareness Week each year. This year we held an online event on February 9th 2022, 9.30-12.30. Due to Covid, we were limited to an online event and based on previous years, we aimed for around 100 attendees.
We spent several months researching and securing key speakers from across the SV sector including specialist SV support and recovery workers, SV trainers, specialist Police Officers and rape investigation teams as well as a speaker who had lived experience of SV.
The aim of the event was to engender a “Frontline Focus” on SV, challenging the stigma and ensuring frontline professionals throughout Health and Social Care were able to fully understand SV issues and services available. Most importantly, we wanted to enable other professionals to deal with disclosures of SV in a safe, trauma-informed way, and ensure they receive the high-quality support. This free training aspect elevated the event and secured its success.

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After an incredibly tough (nearly) two years, we were thrilled to be invited to The Grand Appeal’s virtual Christmas event in November 2021. Many charities were doing similar things to connect with their supporters; however, this event was fun, touching, and creative.

Under normal circumstances, we get the opportunity to meet The Grand Appeal team throughout the year, but this was not possible during the pandemic. Instead, they created a wonderful Christmas event celebrating 20 years since the opening of the new Bristol Children’s Hospital and showcasing the incredibly special partnerships they have with the hospital and Aardman Animations.

Remarkable hospital and charity staff spoke about how they coped with the challenges they faced during the pandemic and thanked us for our continued support. It was insightful, informative, and especially moving. It made me enormously proud to be a Grand Appeal supporter.

Their Patron, Peter Lord, co-founder and Creative Director of Aardman Animations, made a guest appearance and explained how they had adapted and still produced two Christmas films! We were shown behind-the-scenes footage, as well as unreleased clips of Shaun the Sheep and a sneak peek of Robin Robin. The evening culminated in an official count down to the hospital lights Christmas switch on – an exciting and unique finale to a magical evening!

Best Online Stewardship

Please click on each charity to read more about their entry:

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Become is the national charity in England for children in care and young care leavers. I’m nominating Become Players – Become’s gaming fundraising product, which has grown into an incredible and supportive online community, dedicated to fundraising for Become.

Critical to the growth of Become Players has been stewardship on their dedicated Discord server. In this virtual space, gamers and streamers who are supporting Become are able to come together, make friends, and lift each other up. The more experienced streamers always help those just starting out, which critically makes every individual a better fundraiser and therefore a more powerful fundraising community.

Become Players members game and stream during organised events by Become to raise funds. Members often go on to take part in multiple events for Become after being welcomed into the Discord server and feeling part of the Become Players team and community.

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Last year as part of our 3-year strategy we launched an online stewardship campaign aimed at our lower-level individual donors. The aim was to thank our donors, help them feel connected to our work, and open up a dialogue so we could hear their thoughts and opinions, and get to know our audience better. As a small charity with less than 10 staff members and only 1 fundraising team member (rising to 2 in December last year) making the most of our CRM, website and social media was key to creating a cohesive stewardship experience for all. To implement this plan we moved to a new CRM where we could track and store data more effectively, utlisied a social content platform to help with our engagement, streamlined our website and email communications, and launched our very first online stewardship event FRAME Live! As a result we have increased our yearly donations by 53% and an increase in the number of people giving by 46%. Throughout this campaign, we have also seen engagement and 2-way communication increase which is vital to achieving our mission to replace animals in scientific and medical research and testing.

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Friends of the Earth’s Learning Hub Series was inspired by a bookclub that was set up to engage with its supporter community and delve into shared interests through books – specifically on environmental concerns. The bookclub was so popular that it evolved into the Learning Hub, now in its third year running. Friends of the Earth invites its supporters and interested members of the public to vote on what books should be included for the series, once selected the team organises a series of online workshops and events around each book. Participation is open to all and participants can receive a book in the post from the organisation if they make a donation to the chairty. The aim is to create space for learning, conversation and bringing the organisation closer to its supporters as way to not only inform them about the work of the organisation but to get to know supporters better in an informal setting. It’s been so valuable for creating and solidifying the sense of belonging to the organisation, Friends of the Earth prides itself in creating community around climate action.

Thank you to our sponsor

Thank you to our judges

Alice Ferris

Alice Ferris, CFRE

Tony Banks

Sally Falvey

Mark Foster

Elizabeth Ngonzi, CFRE