The Ultimate List of Virtual Fundraising Ideas


Although face-to-face contact is limited right now, the MEDLIFE Movement remains connected. Despite the challenges we’re all facing, our network of students is continuing to share virtual fundraising ideas and bring COVID-19 relief to low-income communities in Peru & Ecuador. However, we can’t do this without your support!

In the weeks since social distancing measures began, we’ve seen MEDLIFE Chapters around the globe getting creative with virtual fundraising ideas, coming up with innovative remote events, and blowing their fundraising goals out of the water. To help support MEDLIFErs in their fundraising efforts, we’ve compiled this extensive list of virtual fundraising ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing.

1. Online Raffle (Thanks to MEDLIFE at the University of Ottawa for this idea!)

Websites like RallyUp facilitate virtual raffles! Participants can purchase a ticket (or multiple tickets) for a chance at winning. You can set a time for RallyUp to randomly select the winner and then distribute the prize(s). The prize could be a voucher for a small business that needs support through COVID-19. Alternatively, it could be something to keep participants busy during social distancing, like a Netflix subscription or online course.

Kaplan Raffle - Virtual Fundraising Ideas
Credit: MEDLIFE Ottawa

2. Trivia Night

Test your general knowledge by hosting a virtual trivia night! You could download a set of trivia questions from the internet, use an app with trivia games built-in (like Houseparty), or create your own personalized trivia questions! Set a time and date, promote your event online, and charge a participation fee.

3. Set Some Wacky Challenges

Eating hot chilis, taking ice baths, getting pied in the face, and running 5 miles in a tutu are just some of the challenges we’ve seen MEDLIFErs do to raise funds for COVID-19 relief. Start by brainstorming some wild challenges and creating incremental fundraising goals to match each challenge (like the below example from MEDLIFE at Indiana University). Be creative, and remember to share your fundraising challenges via social media so we can all join the fun!

Virtual Fundraising Ideas
Credit: MEDLIFE at Indiana University Instagram

4. Webinars

We’ve seen some great webinars, panels, and virtual talks being held by MEDLIFErs since the start of social distancing from group discussions on global health to career planning sessions. You could turn these events into fundraisers by asking registrants to make a donation. You could even provide certificates of participation for educational workshops in exchange for a fee.

5. Host a Bingo Night

Are you an old soul at heart? Host a virtual bingo night to raise funds for a good cause! Sell tickets and encourage participants to bring along their entire households by offering group discounts. You can give winners prizes like gift cards to small businesses or online shopping websites.

6. Karaoke Challenge

Take your pick: SING OR DONATE DOUBLE! Select your favorite quarantine song, grab your hairbrush microphone, and record a lip-sync on social media. Tag your friends to complete the challenge and make a donation. If stage fright hits and they don’t post a lip-sync, double the donation amount! Start by creating a graphic (or use our version below) to go along with the challenge so that participants can share the rules and follow the instructions.

Virtual Fundraising Ideas - Musical Challenge

7. Power Hour

MEDLIFE’s Indiana University Chapter was the first to use this strategy and had a wildly successful first try. Their recent virtual power hour raised over $3,300! A fundraising Power Hour is a designated hour where everyone makes calls and texts to their network to ask for donations to MEDLIFE. The list can include friends, classmates, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, family friends, high school friends and teachers, co-workers, greek life, sports teammates, etc. Creative awards can be given to those who raise the most funds!

8. Online Auction

Now that everyone is social-distancing at home, it is a great time for some spring cleaning and getting rid of items that you no longer want (just remember to sanitize them before you give them away). Create a Google sheet with photos/descriptions of items like clothing, books, games, furniture, etc. You can then set a specific time period where participants can place bids by writing in their name and their bid price in the shared sheet.

9. Selling Merch

Comfy oversized t-shirts, activewear, and cozy track pants are quickly becoming everyone’s outfit of the day (or year). Take advantage of the world’s new-found need for everyday loungewear by selling merch! You can use a website like Bonfire to upload your designs and easily start selling them online. For inspiration, check out our Bonfire store here!

Sweater - Virtual Fundraising Ideas

10. Step Competition (Thanks again to MEDLIFE at Indiana University for this one)

Do you need some extra motivation to get your body moving during social distancing? This is the fundraiser for you!

Use apps like FitBit and Apple Health to track your steps every day for a week. Collect each participant’s total number of steps via email each day and create a virtual leaderboard to promote some friendly competition. Charge a small fee to enter and offer a prize to the winner!

11. Birthday fundraiser

First of all, if your birthday falls within this time of social distancing, we’re so sorry that you can’t go out and celebrate with your loved ones. Why not make the most of an unfortunate situation by making a difference for low-income communities on your birthday? Create a fundraiser for MEDLIFE on GiveLively and ask your loved ones to donate in honor of your birthday! The money that they might have spent on gifts, travel, or a night out could go towards COVID-19 relief for low-income communities.

12. Play Fundraising Bingo

Create a bingo board on Canva or use one of our templates (like the graphic below) and post it on your Instagram Story. Ask people to donate the amounts listed to help you reach your goal! You can cross off or tag donors over the bingo boxes as you go.

Donation Bingo Virtual Fundraising Ideas

13. Virtual movie night

Use a browser extension like Netflix Party to simultaneously enjoy a film or documentary with other MEDLIFErs. You could make this event into a fundraiser by giving viewers the option to donate an amount of their choosing to MEDLIFE’s COVID-19 relief fund.

14. Virtual Dance Party

Dance your quarantine blues away by hosting a virtual dance party! You could organize an online Zumba session, join a live-streamed dance tutorial, or just video call your friends, blast some tunes and start moving!

Use your dance party as an opportunity to fundraise for MEDLIFE by encouraging participants to take an action step (pun intended) like making a donation or starting their own fundraiser. Bonus points for wearing MEDLIFE merch during your dance party!

15. Talent Show

We know that the MEDLIFE Movement is full of talented individuals! Use a live streaming platform to host a virtual talent night where members of your Chapter can showcase their talents. You could sing, play an instrument, read poetry, tell jokes, or perform any other talents you might have! Promote the event to your friends and family and ask them to donate to MEDLIFE if they enjoyed the show.

16. Sell Your Creative Skills

Are you an artist at heart? Ask your friends if they’d pay you to paint their portrait! Do you know your way around a camera? Offer to photograph families in your area in exchange for a donation (Like Payton from Indiana University!). Have a talent for music composition? Write songs for your loved ones!

Whatever your talent may be, now is a great time to work on your creative skills and put them into practice for a good cause.

Portrait - Virtual Fundraising Ideas
Credit: @paytonspics1 on Instagram

17. Fitness Class

Gyms may be closed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get moving! Many fitness centers and personal trainers are running live-streamed classes or creating workout videos to help us stay strong during this challenging time. To create a fundraiser, you could team up with a fitness instructor and host a class. Charge a fee for participation or encourage attendees to make a donation.

18. Costume Competition

This would have to be one of our favorite virtual fundraising ideas! (Maybe because we’re dying to get out of our pajamas and into something fancy). See who can create the most extravagant outfit from the things they have at home. Jump on a video call to show off your creations and vote on who is best-dressed! Offer prizes for the winning look and charge a participation fee.

19. Create an Online Course

Host your own or find an expert to teach an online class on a topic of your choosing! Pick something that will create value for your audience and support them during this time. For example, if your Chapter is made up of pre-med students, you might create a course on applying to medical school. You could create a series and make a mini-online course, or host a once-off event.

20. Typing Tournament (Thanks to MEDLIFE Ontario for this idea)

Use a website like TypeRacer to host a competition and see who is the fastest of them all! MEDLIFE Ontario is organizing a global typing contest and is charging a $5 donation to participate. The winner will receive a cash prize of 25% of the total amount raised (this creates an extra incentive to get your friends involved!). The tournament will be elimination style – participants will be matched with an opponent, and given a time slot and game link. The loser will be eliminated from the tournament and the winner will move on to the next round. This will continue until there’s one lucky winner remaining!

Inspired by What You Read? Start or Join a MEDLIFE Chapter Today!

Our MEDLIFE community is making waves even in these challenging times, creatively ensuring that support continues to flow to those who need it most in Latin America & Africa. Every effort, big or small, contributes to making a significant difference in someone’s life.

Now more than ever, we need passionate individuals like you to champion our cause. If you’re inspired by the incredible efforts of MEDLIFE chapters worldwide and are burning with ideas to contribute, this is your moment: complete the form below yo join an existing chapter or take the lead by starting a new one. Either way, you’ll be contributing to a global movement with a lasting impact.


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
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I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
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The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
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Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
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One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
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Isabelle Holt
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I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
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As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.