Virtual Fundraising Event Ideas

Hashtag Donation


Use this idea to show that all donations matter, regardless of size. This is a virtual event where you encourage participants to join you in giving something up and donating that amount to your cause instead. For instance, a daily can of soda is $.50. They can then give that money to your cause and use a hashtag to challenge others to do the same (though depending on the processing fees and your target audience, you may want to aim higher — a latte, perhaps).

This works because it’s virtual and a challenge. It’s difficult to ignore when someone calls you out. Use an easy mobile app to encourage people to give and make sure you share all of the mentions of people doing so on your behalf.

Head Shaves and Other Dares


YouTubers use this method all the time. Gives us votes (or money, in this case), and you can watch us do something crazy. This is a great option for a virtual fundraiser since people are fascinated by others who will do something wild in support of a good cause, and it’s easy to stream the dares online for people to watch.

Get creative with who you’ll have to do what, and make sure everything you’re planning to do is feasible given current Covid restrictions. In addition, think about the audience and what they’d want to see — a head shave might not be as effective as a food dare.

Virtual Activity-a-Thon


Marathons and runs are popular fundraising events, but gathering large groups of people together during a pandemic is not permissible. However, the concept of a fundraising run (or walk-a-thon) can be translated to virtual. All kinds of home-based athletic activities are conducive to the same spirit. Try a home-based yogathon. A mindful meditatathon.

If you do want to keep it a run, simply have participants complete the challenge on their own and donate money based on how much they’ve run or walked.

Not only does this help your organization, but it’s also a way to get people moving and — hopefully — get outside. Ask participants to share photos of themselves running or walking on social media to further build awareness around the cause and get others involved.

Social Media Challenge


Social media challenges, especially on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, can be incredibly effective when it comes to fundraising and building awareness. Most importantly, they can be done virtually. Think of a fun challenge that you can encourage supporters to take part in and share with others, similar to the ice bucket challenge that went viral and raised money for ALS.

Younger audiences spend a lot of time on social channels and love participating in challenges that they can do or share with their friends. Leverage this to get the word out about your cause. Make sure you have a clear donation page to direct people to and establish a dedicated hashtag.

Virtual Gala


Galas are another common fundraising idea, and they can still work as virtual events. Invite guests to join for remarks from your organization and a keynote presentation while sharing a meal (virtually). This is a welcome excuse for attendees to get dressed up, even if they’re not leaving the house, and contribute to your cause.

If possible, try to deliver a treat or a bottle of wine to attendees beforehand for them to enjoy during the event. You can also hold activities online that you normally would at your gala, such as virtual auctions or raffles.

Video Game Challenge


Host an online video game tournament with an entry fee, and split the pot with the winner. Video games are at the center of a billion-dollar industry — there are even some colleges that are creating eSports teams. Casual and hardcore gamers with disposable, video game-buying incomes are a largely under-tapped charitable giving market.

Since video games inherently take place online, they’re perfect to leverage for a virtual fundraiser. Use a game that fits your audience or ask people or sponsors to provide others to play.