Updated September 2022
We here at Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund are amazed by our dedicated community of supporters and volunteers who are committed to our mission to defy cancer. While you are out in the community supporting us, we are here to support you and to help your fundraising efforts succeed! Virtual fundraising is an exciting and creative way to engage your community in supporting the Jimmy Fund.
Check out our tips and tricks below for maximizing your success online, and consider the people who will support your fundraising efforts before you decide the best approach. Are they tech-savvy? Do they like to receive invitations in the mail? Are they interested in unique auction items? While there is something for everyone within virtual fundraising, knowing your audience is key to success.
If your event participants are not comfortable with technology, a livestream may not be the best approach, but an online fundraising page or virtual auction may work great! However you decide to fundraise, be sure you spread the word through social media, email, phone calls, letters, and more, and remember to thank your supporters afterwards and remind them of the impact they are making for Dana-Farber patients and families.
We are here to help you think through all of this and more. If you are in need of advice or have questions on starting your own event, please contact your Jimmy Fund liaison or the Jimmy Fund team at JimmyFundEvents@dfci.harvard.edu or 617-632-3190.
Virtual fundraising ideas:
Host a Livestream: Streaming is an opportunity for you to share your fundraising efforts in “real time” over social media and other online platforms. You can stream anything you like—from your training runs for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to your video game skills or the story of how Dana-Farber has impacted you or loved ones—and all you need is a smartphone or computer with a camera to get started. You could also livestream a fitness or cooking class—the opportunities are endless. (If you are interested in livestreaming a video game to support the Jimmy Fund, learn more about Jimmy Fund Let’s Game!)
If you host your stream on Facebook, you can add a “donate” button to the stream and select “the Jimmy Fund” as your charity of choice. You can also pin a comment on an Instagram livestream with a link or instructions on how users can donate. While you can also stream from your computer on YouTube, Streamlabs, Google Hangouts, or Zoom, we recommend using Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or Periscope (Twitter) to stream, since your followers will then be notified when you are live and can easily tune in, interact, and donate. Play around with different software to find out what works best for you!
During your livestream, you can encourage support from your community by sharing information about the groundbreaking cancer research and care at Dana-Farber and how funds raised help our mission to defy cancer. Let your followers know why it’s important to you to fundraise for the Jimmy Fund: Share a favorite memory from an event you participated in, or describe the reason why you got involved with Dana-Farber. You can also incorporate fun incentives into your streams to encourage support! For example, if you are livestreaming a video game, play for 5 minutes with your controller turned upside down when you reach a set amount raised. Or, if you’re doing an exercise stream, you could create a challenge to livestream 5 pushups for every $10 raised. Be creative!
Organize a Game Night: Are you a BINGO fanatic? Try our “JIMMY” version to engage your community and fundraise for the Jimmy Fund! Start your own BINGO event by creating a Jimmy FundRaiser page where your participants can register and “purchase” tickets; ticket sales will be part of your fundraising revenue. You can also collect donations on your fundraising page for the Jimmy Fund Walk, Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, or another Jimmy Fund-run event as “ticket sales.” Be sure to include details on your page about when and how your Bingo Night will be livestreamed. (Check out the livestream ideas above!) Create your BINGO cards at BingoMaker.com, and start promoting your event via social media—we recommend creating a Facebook Event.
On event day, download your Bingo cards from BingoMaker.com as PDFs and send them to your participants. Instruct participants to either print or copy down their Bingo card in advance of the game. Once it’s time for the event, you can randomly generate BINGO letter-numbers on BingoMaker.com and call them out on your livestream for your supporters. Instruct participants to comment “BINGO” when they have won. And don’t forget to share a donation link in the comments or add a donate button directly to your stream!
You can also consider hosting a similar style event featuring trivia or another online game of your choosing. The opportunities are endless!
Host a Virtual Class: Choose a talent to share—could be cooking, art, meditation, fitness, or anything you love and can teach others to do. Create or share your Jimmy Fund fundraising page and set a ticket price for your class. All tickets are donations to your page and will support the Jimmy Fund. Pick your streaming platform from the ideas above and start promoting! Get the word out via social media and email, or consider letting local businesses know about your fundraiser to see if they can help get the word out. Hosting a fitness class at home? Let your local gym know and maybe they can promote it for you!
Complete a Fitness Challenge: With fitness watches and smartphones, we can easily track our physical activity. Have you ever challenged someone to see who could get the most steps? Your daily fitness activities and challenges can easily translate into a virtual fundraising event! Define what your target activity is whether it be a walk, run, or other physical challenge; invite participants to join at a minimum fundraising level; and see who is up for the challenge!
Create a Jimmy FundRaiser page or link to your event fundraising page and make a call to action to your community to join you. This can be simple, such as 10 pushups or walk a mile, or more challenging like walk 26.2 miles in a specific timeframe. Set a fundraising minimum to participate in the challenge, and consider livestreaming your own activity on social media to encourage friends and family to sign up. Make it a friendly competition! Encourage your participants to be at the top of the leaderboard by offering prizes or other incentives to top winners. Use social media and email to promote your challenge and to share results.
Host a Virtual Yard Sale: Have some down time? Clean out your closets, garages, and all the nooks and crannies in your home to host a virtual yard sale. Put aside items in good quality and post them on an online auction site. (See below for our recommended sites!) Take photos of the items you’d like to sell and determine a price point. Upload the images to the auction software of your choice and set a start and end time for the auction. Send a link to your friends and family and share on social media to drive traffic to the auction! Tip: Make sure to remind people your auction is supporting Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, and share with them why you’re connected to the cause.
Ways to boost your online fundraising:
Social media and other online platforms are a great way to spread the word about your fundraising efforts and expand your reach. Here are some of our favorite online platforms for fundraising:
Jimmy FundRaisers Event Pages: If you are hosting any kind of fundraiser, from a walk or run to a bake sale or gala, a Jimmy FundRaiser page may be the right fit for you. Fill out the contact form at JimmyFundRaiser.org to get started with your own fundraising page. Once approved, you can personalize your page with your story and why you are fundraising, and create a short URL to share your efforts with family and friends via email or social media.
Rally Up: Rally Up is a one-stop shop for virtual fundraising. Create an account and choose between several online fundraising options, including sweepstakes, a-thons, online auctions, and more. Rally Up offers lots of innovative add-ins, such as a built-in option to incorporate a livestream into your fundraising campaign. Best of all, setting up a campaign is quick, intuitive, and easy, so you can spend more time conquering cancer and less time troubleshooting.
Custom Ink: Custom Ink allows you to design and sell t-shirts that benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber. Contact your Jimmy Fund liaison if you would like to pursue this option! All designs will need to be approved by Jimmy Fund staff.
Facebook: If you are participating in a Jimmy Fund-run event, such as the Jimmy Fund Walk, or have your own Jimmy FundRaiser page, you can easily create a Facebook Fundraiser from your Participant Center to encourage donations from your network and have them connect directly to your fundraising page.
Instagram: Fundraising is simple through the donation sticker tool on Instagram Stories. Select “donation” in the sticker section and choose “the Jimmy Fund” as your charity of choice. However, gifts to the donation sticker will not be trackable to your individual fundraising page. You can also share a link directly to your fundraising page on your Instagram story by using the link tool. Instagram Stories last 24 hours.
Create an online auction with in-kind goods and services:
AccelEvents is an online auction management platform that complements live and virtual events. Auction participants can place bids on the auction website or through text, making it easy for bidders-on-the-go. Contact your Jimmy Fund liaison to learn more about making an account.
32 Auctions makes it easy to upload auction items and host a silent auction. Once the auction goes live to your donors, 32 Auctions sends instant notifications to keep them engaged, limiting effort needed from you.
eBay for Charity: Looking to donate items to benefit Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund? Sell for charity on Dana-Farber’s eBay for Charity page. This is a great way declutter, all while benefiting world-class cancer research and care.
Fundraise through Fitness: If you are hosting a virtual fitness fundraiser, you can use FitBit or Strava to share your fitness progress with followers on social media; sharing updates on your training is a great way to ask for donations! Reach out to your Jimmy Fund liaison to learn more about how this could support your efforts.