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Say hello to live streaming and Strava on our fundraising pages

Virgin Money Giving’s fundraiser pages have had an upgrade. Fundraisers and charities can now stream both live and pre-recorded YouTube videos directly from their page and also integrate data from exercise-tracking app Strava.

Fundraisers and charities can now stream both live and pre-recorded YouTube videos directly from their page and also integrate data from exercise-tracking app Strava.

Chris Holliday and Marc Humphries of VMG’s Product Development team explain why this new feature will make a difference to charities of all sizes.

The idea to integrate new streaming capabilities into Virgin Money Giving’s pages came out of one runner doing laps of his garden. “One of our colleagues ran the entire distance in his back garden and streamed it on Facebook,” explains Marc Humphries, Virgin Money Giving’s senior UX designer. “It was a great thing to check in on during the day, but if you wanted to donate to his cause you needed to leave Facebook and open Virgin Money Giving. We wanted to remove that step: to make it possible to watch and donate on the same page.”

With virtual fundraising the new normal, fundraisers can embed existing YouTube videos directly into their Virgin Money Giving pages or stream live from the platform. What’s more, Strava users can display the latest data from the popular running and cycling app on their page, keeping their supporters in the loop about their training. Here Chris and Marc offer their suggestions about how charities and fundraisers can make best use of the new features.

Sharing existing videos

Chris Holliday: “We all know how engaging videos are online, but a lot of fundraisers don’t always have the time or confidence to create a video for their pages. One of the easiest first steps is to embed a video from their charity into their page. If the charity has got those assets, they can provide them to supporters who can put them on their fundraising pages – it's more engaging and will potentially sell the charity to visitors. A video explaining the valuable work the charity does will hopefully get people to give that little bit more.”

Creating your own

Marc Humphries: “Hopefully when people see the impact of videos, they will start creating their own and sharing them on their Virgin Money Giving page. It doesn’t need to be very technical. Most smartphones will let you create a simple video in which you can explain what you are doing and why the cause is so important to you. [You can then upload it to YouTube, where it doesn’t need to be made public, and then embed it into your page so only your supporters will see it.]. Your supporters want to help and hearing your voice will make all the difference.”

Streaming fundraising events

MH: “During lockdown we saw a lot of people get involved in virtual events and they can be great fundraisers. From online yoga sessions and Joe Wicks-style fitness classes to music gigs and quiz nights, there’s lots that can be done online. Once you are set up with the right account on YouTube, you can stream these events live, so charities or fundraisers can set a time and invite people to their [Virgin Money Giving] page to watch. Here your supporters are right in front of a donate button, and you can remind them to give throughout the event. If a charity is streaming a large event, their fundraisers can embed the video into their own pages, giving it more exposure and hopefully raising more money.”

Sharing training

CH: “We always tell fundraisers to keep pushing themselves and to keep telling people what they’re doing, especially if it's something involving a challenge, and the integration with Strava makes that easier. It means that those who are recording all their training on the fitness tracking app can share their stats on their fundraising page and show how hard they are working for their cause. It demonstrates the effort you're putting in and it will hopefully compel visitors to your page to give that little bit more.”

Personalising pages

CH: “Because Strava maps your runs, I’ve seen some people do some really fun things. There are people who've run a course in the shape of the letters NHS, which is then spelt out on their Strava feed. I think there are some potential ideas around that – things like people being sponsored for a run that spells a donor’s initials, or a run which draws a smiley face.”

Streaming big events

CH: “I think one of the advantages to this year’s [Virgin Money London] marathon being virtual is that it is more inclusive. People have 24 hours to run 26.2 miles and I think people will get behind that and do it in creative ways.”

MH “I’m hoping that people stream their runs like our colleague did. Having that video playing directly above the big red donate button will hopefully prompt more people to give because charities need support now more than ever.”

This is only the beginning...

CH: “YouTube and Strava are just the beginning. We’re looking to add other services, such as Twitch for people who are into gaming or other fitness services like Fitbit, Map My Run and Relive. What we really hope to see is charities engaging with the new functionality and encouraging fundraisers to start using it. Obviously, the world has changed really quickly this year and hopefully this is one way we can help charities not to lose out.”

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