Kirsty Bates, an ASN volunteer and Community Fundraising Queen, wrote this case study for us about her first ever foray into virtual fundraising in April 2020.
On Sunday 5 April, my flatmate Craig – who is a trained hairdresser – live-streamed a tutorial on how to cut your own fringe while on lockdown. We had over 30 viewers, and raised £400 for Abortion Support Network.
We figured that while on lockdown, people would be appreciative of a fringe-cutting tutorial purely for maintenance. We also commented on the number of people we’ve seen trying drastic new haircuts and styles – such as the headshave – and figured a fringe in particular was a simple way to refresh your look – without fear of going too badly wrong.
Personally, I used to feel intimidated walking back into a hairdressers’ after cutting my own hair and feeling shamed over my poor attempt. Instead, Craig wanted to empower people to try something new, but with as much expert guidance as he could give.
We made an account on Tiltify, which combines various aspects of digital interactivity (videos, images, polls, rewards) with fundraising. We made our campaign – Craig’s Crisis Cuts – and linked it to Abortion Support Network so as funds would be transferred automatically (not disimilar to any other online fundraising platform, such as JustGiving).
We set about making a promotional graphic using the free graphic design website, Canva. Canva comes with thousands of free templates, illustrations, photos and text styles for you to play around with and is so simple and easy to use. Our graphic contained all the essential information including the time, date, and the link to watch us stream. This meant we could start promoting!
Craig and I set about sharing the graphic – along with a little blurb about what we were doing and why – across our personal networks. I shared it on Twitter, Facebook (including any relevant groups I am a member of), LinkedIn and Instagram – as well as forwarding it to a large portion of my WhatsApp contact list including all my group chats, and past and present work colleagues.
The majority of our reach came from asking other people to share it on our behalf. On Twitter, I tagged a number of known feminist activists, writers and comedians. I kept an eye out for relevant conversations happening around digital fundraising, as well as hair cuts – and quickly jumped in with some shameless self-promotion. This approach saw us retweeted by influential tattoo artist Rebecca Vincent, sex educator Alix Fox, comedian Karen Hobbs, writers Laura Jane Williams, Amy Jones, Lauren Bravo and Daisy Buchanhan, also the Anti Diet Riot Club – who have over 90k followers on Instagram.
I also reached out directly to friends and family who had fringes! The response was fantastic. We had a brilliant turn-out from our respective work colleagues – who enlisted the support of their own friends and family members. Between us, we had a fair few messages from friends informing us that their mums would be tuning it to watch!
On the day…
On Tiltify, the main section of your campaign page is dedicated to ‘media’. This is where you can import an image or video (live or not!) from a number of different websites. We chose to host our live stream through Twitch as it was easy to use. We simply made an account and downloaded the app – where from the ‘profile’ section, you can hit ‘Go Live’. Up until this point, our promotional graphic sat on our page instead.
Craig and I are fortunate to also live with our friend Rachel, who provided invaluable tech support. Before we featured in the video, she had us doing test runs with the camera to ensure the angle was right, the sound was clear enough, and the lighting was bright enough. We had a few snags to begin with – but it was reassuring to know she was on-hand if anything did go disastrously wrong. She also used her spare hand to post live updates to Instagram and Twitter and keep momentum up.
We took live questions during the session via Twitter by simply asking people to Tweet us their comments with a unique hashtag: #CraigsCrisisCuts.
Things to remember…
- Give the people what they want! Sometimes, the easier tutorials are the better – as they’re the most accessible to everyone. At the same time, be sure you’re showing people something that comes easy to you. Craig’s an expert hairdresser, and he even found on live camera his hands got a little shaky!
- Live streaming is quite stressful, but remember you’re only human! Your friends and family are tuning in to see you, so try your best to forget about the audience (you can’t see them anyway!), and relax into it.
- Loosely map out what you’re going to cover in your session. We had a big A3 piece of paper pinned up behind the camera with a few topic prompts to ensure it flowed as much as possible.
- Take your time – in high pressure situations it’s easy to rush your speech. Take a breath, and be sure to make everything you say as clear as possible. Don’t be afraid to go back over and repeat instructions to make sure everyone is following.
- If you do have a flatmate/friend to spare – use them! Have them be your cameraperson so you can do close-up shots, and take the weight off worrying if everything is still working. Rachel had a laptop placed in another room – so she could routinely check that the image and sound were working. She also had another laptop up facing us on mute – so we could check when we had to adjust our positioning to stay in-focus!
- Find innovative ways to keep people engaged. We only took questions via Twitter, but Tiltify has a host of other functions: polls, rewards, milestones.
- Keep up with your fundraising total – give people shout-outs as and when they donate. Keep pushing to reach that next big round number! Remind people at various points in the session what they’re funding and the difference they’re making.
- Keep people engaged afterwards – we forgot to mention that we wanted people to share their finished selfies with us in exchange for a prize! Luckily, some still did. But think about ways you can keep to conversation going after the live-stream has ended. Luckily, once you’ve finished streaming on Twitch – you can hit ‘Share Stream’, and it will be able to watch and share as a normal video indefinitely. We made sure we promoted the link to this on social media and are still getting requests to watch the video nearly a week later!
Inspired? If you fancy trying your hand at virtual fundraising for Abortion Support Network, get on over to Tiltify! Or if you’d like to chat it through, get some more ideas or support, email [email protected] and we’ll get back to you.