Virgin Money Giving personalised fundraising video messages

The fundraising website has enlisted the actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry to help marathon fundraisers make personalised messages that ask for donations

Stephen Fry has been enlisted for this campaign
Stephen Fry has been enlisted for this campaign

What is it?

The not-for-profit fundraising website has joined forces with Stephen Fry, the comedian, actor, writer and presenter, to create humorous video messages that can by used on social media by fundraisers who are running the London Marathon on Sunday to appeal for donations. The videos offer people a fun and fast way for marathon runners to boost their fundraising – they are easy to make and share with family, friends and colleagues through Facebook, Twitter and email or as uploads on YouTube.

How was the campaign made?

Fry donated his time to work with Virgin Money Giving to create the video appeal, which can be personalised in minutes at He recorded names, locations, charities, events and a multitude of fundraising facts to enable millions of unique videos to be created.

What the charity says

Sir Tom Shebbeare, chairman of Virgin Money Giving, says: "It’s a universal truth that marathon runners put themselves through absolute hell, but then send the usual, boring old e-mails asking for sponsorship. We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to make a real impact with their own creative fundraising requests, and Stephen Fry was generous enough with his time to help us do that.

"Fundraisers can log in to using Facebook or their Virgin Money Giving accounts and generate completely personalised appeal films. The result is films that are completely personalised so they look like Stephen made them just for you."

What a user says

Cristina Di Santo, who is running the London Marathon for Ambitious About Autism, says the idea was a fantastic way to reignite interest in her fundraising. "The video took minutes to generate and was really easy to put on my Facebook page," she says. "Some people actually thought that I knew Stephen Fry and had asked him to do it. It was a good talking point and gave me a different way to remind people that I’m running the marathon and to ask for donations. I think I got at least £100 of sponsorship from it."

Third Sector verdict

Rather than pulling at the heartstrings, these videos appeal to people’s love of celebrity and of Stephen Fry. They offer fundraisers a unique way to ask people to give to their causes while making them smile with jokes about reflective jeggings and jogger’s nipple. By its nature, the video is generic (would they get away with showing a woman’s nipple?) but it’s slick and convincing.

It’s a creative idea that many people will be excited by and will want to share on their own social media, but by next year’s London Marathon the novelty factor will have gone. In the meantime, it will no doubt help to raise large amounts for good causes.

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