The very first Vhi Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon invited everyone to live life to the #Powerof10 – doing 10km over 10 days to raise thousands for charity! In the event, more than €500,000 was raised through GivenGain for Irish charities, thanks to a legion of dedicated supporters and the power of online crowdfunding. What’s more, all this happened after the event went virtual, providing participants with an opportunity to fundraise for their favourite charities.
When the traditional 10K run through Dublin city centre had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the organisers of the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon decided to host a virtual alternative. As well as ensuring that its thousands of participants would still get an experience to remember, they were also determined to continue supporting Irish charities – which have been hit hard by event cancellations while also seeing demand for their services rise. To help them raise money online, event organisers turned to non-profit fundraising platform GivenGain.
“Even though there couldn’t be a physical Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon this year, there are so many creative ways to raise money at home or in your local area,” said David O’ Leary, General Manager of the event. “Giving is a wonderful experience, and so many of our participants fundraise for charitable causes close to their hearts. Thanks to our official fundraising platform, GivenGain, creating your own fundraising project has never been easier.”
The event was GivenGain’s biggest to date in Ireland, but the platform already works with more than 200 Irish charities – including household names like the Irish Cancer Society, Barretstown and Dogs Trust. As a non-profit itself, GivenGain was the obvious choice for an event with a clear charitable mission like the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, bringing trust, transparency and value to the non-profit community. One of the biggest tasks for GivenGain and the Vhi Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon organisers was to help charities adapt in time for the event. As traditional physical means of fundraising became impossible, this year has been a crash course in online fundraising for Irish charities – many of whom had very little online presence before the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help them prepare, GivenGain’s Regional Manager for the UK and Ireland, Robyn Andrews, hosted a series of webinars for participating charities to walk them through the online fundraising process – including the basics of virtual event fundraising, advice on using social media to reach out to supporters, and understanding what fundraisers are looking for from the charities they support.
The platform also sent out regular tips and advice to charities via e-mail in the run-up to the event, reminding them of ways to set themselves up for success. In addition, it produced a fundraising guide hosted on the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon website, to help first-time online fundraisers create their projects.
“For a smaller charity like ourselves, the GivenGain platform was the perfect way to promote our work,” says Katrina Morgan from the Children’s Grief Centre, one of the 189 Irish charities supported through the event. “Their support was very helpful – reminding us to encourage our supporters and showing us the best ways to share the event online. We really felt this helped us to gather support, raise awareness, and of course increase donations to support our work.”
Once the donations started rolling in, charities experienced the benefits of online fundraising first-hand. GivenGain made it easy for them to find passionate supporters not just in Ireland, but around the world. Donors from 44 different countries gave through the event’s fundraising page, some of them as far away as Australia – and more than 1,300 women signed up to fundraise for charities including Breast Cancer Ireland, Mental Health Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society. Armed with the ability to share their fundraising pages with massive online networks of donors using social media, some managed heroic feats of fundraising. KylieAnn Moynagh-Manley raised €37,000 for CRY Ireland (Cardiac Risk in the Young), smashing her fundraising target, and also encouraged friends and family to fundraise alongside her – who in turn raised thousands more in donations.
GivenGain deducts only a token 5% fee from donations and moreover gives donors the option to cover it themselves – an option taken up by more than 9 in 10 donors. Apart from that, it is completely free to use. Earlier this year, the platform made formerly premium features available to every single charity, placing large and small non-profits on a level playing field in their hour of need. Equally valuable for charities, GivenGain also shares donor data with charities, including contact information – with the donor’s agreement. As the Vhi Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon approached, charities could thank and encourage their donors and fundraisers – and also use the data to raise awareness of future campaigns. The massive success of the Vhi Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon is just one example of the revolution in charity fundraising taking place at the moment. More and more Irish charities are seeking out supporters online and using the growing number of virtual events to do so.
According to Marius Maré, GivenGain Executive Director: Operations and Partnerships, virtual fundraising events have real advantages for both organisers and charities and will continue to be part of the Irish fundraising landscape even once in-person races can resume. “As charities are now discovering, virtual events can be as meaningful and connected as offline ones,” says Maré. “Virtual events can never replace real-world events completely, but they’ll continue to have real advantages for charities long after COVID-19. In addition, GivenGain looks forward to helping charities to embrace digital fundraising even after events like this.”
To find out more, please visit GivenGain