In response to the coronavirus pandemic many charities were quick to adapt their fundraising and supporter engagement activities to an increasingly virtual world, from online auctions to virtual challenge events.
As with all fundraising, it’s vital we keep our supporters, as well as staff and volunteers, safe. Safeguarding can mean something different to different organisations depending on the audiences you work with, the focus of your work, who you work with and how you fundraise. When fundraising virtually, you will need to think about the same basic principles of creating safe, inclusive events, but applied to the situations and risks that come with new technologies and ways of fundraising.
Since many organisations will have been new to the virtual fundraising space, not everyone will have learnings to take forward from previous experience. Therefore, this resource is aimed at helping fundraisers think through how to make sure those involved in your virtual activities are safe.
As with all events, thorough planning will help you foresee any potential problems and how they can be avoided. Depending on the kind of event you’re running it might be trickier to control who is participating and how – do what you can to make sure you’ve thought through any new risks and what procedures you might put in place to mitigate these. You might consider the following:
- Will the event involve children? Do you know your legal responsibilities? Have you made sure any content during the event is age-appropriate? Will you require parental consent for children to participate?
- Is the event based around alcohol? For example, a pub quiz. What are your responsibilities here? Consider if a participant becomes inappropriate or too intoxicated.
- How will safeguard attendees against inappropriate language or behaviour if it occurs?
- Will you need to monitor a chat function? Will you allow people to contact each other privately during the event? What about if participants would like to contact each other outside of the event using details from the event? For example, for networking purposes.
- If your event takes place on video conferencing software, will you record it? You’ll need to make sure you give participants prior warning. Consider offering the option for people to turn off their video or change their display name if they would like anonymity.
- Will you take photos or screenshots? Consider what consent you will need for this. Will you ask people to send you their photos of the event or share them on social media?
Clear communication in the run up to an event can really help to make sure everyone (from partners to participants) understands what is expected of them. The type of communication will vary depending on the event; you might have an email journey for participants, an FAQs you communicate, advice on how to make events safer and more inclusive if you are encouraging fundraising on your behalf in the community.
Remember, as with all relationships with supporters and the public that good data management is key – check that you are recording any personal data in the right way and that you have a lawful basis for any marketing contact before and after the event.
You are running an event where participants can post in a chat function. A participant makes a racist joke on this chat. Think about what your response would be and whether your planning has prepared you for this.
- If you have made sure there are moderators for every chat function, then any inappropriate or offensive behaviour won’t go unnoticed.
- If you asked participants to agree to a code of conduct before the event, then you have established what the tone of the event is – it will be clear that this behaviour has no place.
- What procedures do you then have in place for responding to this situation? Do you know who to report this incident to? Do your participants? Can you expel participants from the event? Can you turn the chat function off?