Safeguarding virtual events

Events FundraisingRisk and Reputation ManagementGovernance and ComplianceEthics
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This guidance covers what to consider when safeguarding a virtual fundraising event.

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.

Are there any risks raised by the event and what action should we take to reduce them?

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:



Have we done everything we can to make sure everyone involved in an event will be treated with respect?

Communication is key

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.

Consider this example:

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.

Additional resources

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