Making virtual fundraising events work – Brainathlon case study.
In December 2020, DonorCare was tasked by Brain Research UK to create a viable virtual event that stood out from the crowd. The brief was to create and event that reflected the ongoing partnership between Brain Research UK and its partners Brain Tumour Research and Epilepsy Research UK, to spend as little as possible whilst creating something that resonated with the charitable objectives all three organisations shared…. and the turnaround had to be fast – so that it was ready for launch on January 1st 2021!
As well as the chance to work with three incredible organisations, it was also an opportunity to really get virtual events right, using our team’s knowledge and experience to the max.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, virtual events have been touted as the potential saviour for mass participation and events fundraising. Some virtual events have had success, however the majority fail to make an impact. From experience, we knew there would have to be several key elements to give this new event the best chance of success:
- An easy-to-understand and unique concept
- A name and event brand that stood out
- Simple fast and efficient registration process
- User friendly online fundraising solution (with three organisations involved)
- A supporter journey that is easy to implement whilst giving participants a great experience
- A participant recruitment strategy
We created the blueprint for the event and, working with the three charities, created the Brainathlon. The new virtual event included a run of 15 miles, walking 10 miles and climbing 1.2 miles (or 2,500 stairs) over a newly created Brainathlon Week in April 2021. Funds would be split evenly between three neuro research charities, to reflect their status as equal partners.
Using a Brainathlon campaign page in JustGiving, the Brainathlon attracted over 130 participants, raising over £60,000. Importantly, the vast majority of participants were new to the charities involved. The event helped to cement the strong partnership between the three organisations both internally between teams, and externally to the wider public.
Caroline Blakely, CEO at Brain Research UK said “we are thrilled at how successful the Brainathlon has been, it surpassed all our expectations with the funds it raised.”
At DonorCare, we believe that even when life returns to normal and real-life events return, there will still be a place for well executed, concept driven virtual fundraising events. This fundraising income stream is here to stay, and those organisations that understand it properly and create exciting opportunities for support will be the ones that raise funds year on year.
Ben Twyman is a Director at DonorCare and helped directly raise over £40million for good causes. To speak to Ben or other members of the team please get in touch.