Lockdown Legends - three case studies from the Supporter Experience Special Interest Group

01 April 2021
Events FundraisingCommunity FundraisingRelationship BuildingSupporter StewardshipInnovation
Standard Content

Over the past year in lockdown, we’ve seen some great appeals – but what has stood out? We asked three people to pick their legends and share why.

Marcus Rashford & Fareshare

The impact that footballer Marcus Rashford has had on the sector over the past 12 months is almost unimaginable. Within a month of the first lockdown, demand for FareShare’s food had doubled. But the focus of the media and the public were elsewhere and the voices of the families in desperate need were just not being heard.

The partnership between FareShare and Marcus Rashford was fully rounded and included significant financial donations, to him becoming an ambassador, lobbying government departments, and crucially galvanizing other supporters.

What made the partnership so powerful is the authenticity at its heart, Marcus’s own story was just like that of the charities’ beneficiaries and by telling his story he amplified their voices. He became both a philanthropist and a fundraiser - and a fundraiser providing a fantastic supporter experience.

During the height of the campaign, his social media timelines were a heartwarming stream of ‘thank yous’ to other supporters - from struggling businesses keen to help to school children making their first direct donations to a charity. With 21 million meals provided for children and families in need, this philanthropic partnership will be hard to better.

Mental Elf, Lancashire Mind

Mental Elf is an annual 5KM fun run around Witton Park, Blackburn. All participants wearing their best Elf attire. A much-loved & flagship event, Lancashire Mind refused to cancel & took the challenge online – in doing so raised £20,605: triple the amount raised in 2019.

Despite lockdown, they took the challenge ‘International’ with the collective goal of travelling 3226km – the distance from Lancashire to Lapland. Supporter packs with cut out running vests were created. A specific Facebook group was set up. This hub was used to log the miles & share updates from each activity the fundraiser chose to do between the 1st & 12th December. From running, walking, cycling, horseback & even dancing over 11,172.26 kilometres was undertaken by 222 individuals and 7 Lancashire schools, totalling 1000 children.

The event usually hosts a festive marketplace next to the finish line. This wasn’t forgotten. The charity teamed up with local, small Lancashire-ran online businesses to provide an online marketplace for all to visit. The finish line was a favourite. No one finishes first nor last in this Lockdown challenge. Zoom was taken outside. A zoom party was held with all elves on the 12th of December as they finished their last mile together.

The 2.6 Challenge

The 2020 London Marathon would have taken place just over a month into the UK's first national lockdown in Spring 2020. The marathon is the world's biggest one-day fundraising event, & although many brave souls were still going to attempt the 26.2mile run solo, cancelling the main event was going to have a detrimental impact, at a time when charities needed it most.

The 2.6 Challenge stepped up to help these charities, many of which were having to reduce or stop services, put their staff on furlough, close their shops and cancel fundraising events. It was an uncertain & worrying time for the sector, as well as in our broader lives.

The 2.6 Challenge offered fundraisers the ability to fundraise in a way that worked for them - both in terms of their fitness and abilities, but also in terms of how they were living under lockdown.

It led to huge amounts of creativity and resourcefulness, hallmarks of the first lockdown more generally. From people running 2.6 miles around gardens, living rooms & even balconies, to doing a 26.2 hour danceathon!

It raised over £11million. But it was also a huge morale boost for charities, reminding us all of how amazing and inspirational our fundraisers are, & giving us some much-needed hope for the future.

Members Only Content