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Change for Children: UNICEF USA Delivers for Kids With a Virtual Event

UNICEF Changemaker: A Benefit for Children
December 1, 2020

UNICEF Virtual Event Hosted on Brandlive

The Event

  • $2M fundraising goal
  • 600 attendee goal
  • 1 day

The Success

  • $4.7M raised
  • 1,300 unique registrations
  • 1,400+ clicks for partners and sponsors

The challenge

UNICEF makes a difference for children all over the world—but the pandemic shuttered events that brought philanthropists together

The solution

A production dream team that built a bold new virtual event to more than make up for cancelled IRL fundraisers

The impact

A seamless, cinematic fundraiser that engaged donors new and old—and sparked unprecedented giving for children around the globe

Every child deserves a chance

Over the last 80 years, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has built an unprecedented global support system for the world’s children. To support UNICEF’s global mission of giving every child an equitable chance in life, UNICEF USA hosts nine major fundraising events each year. 
But in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put in-person events on pause—leaving fundraisers scrambling to sustain the cause.

Brandlive: partners in production for philanthropy

UNICEF USA was determined to make a quick pivot to virtual for their December 2020 Changemaker fundraiser, but needed a partner. Then serendipity struck; UNICEF USA team members attending a Biden for President event were wowed by the campaign’s platform. When they discovered the campaign was using Brandlive, they reached out immediately—and took their fundraising events virtual for the first time in their long history.

UNICEF Online Fundraiser Hosted on Brandlive

Our top priority when selecting a platform was one that made it as easy as possible for donors to give during the event.... Brandlive makes it easy to integrate giving platforms and offers guests an easy pathway to give during the program.

-Jake Haigis, Coordinator for Special Events at UNICEF USA

Challenges solved

  1. Easy interface, effortless giving.

    The UNICEF USA team’s top two priorities were ease of use and hitting their fundraising goals. Jake Haigis, UNICEF USA’s Coordinator for Special Events said, “During [the Biden] event we loved how you didn’t have to navigate between multiple screens to donate…. Everything we needed was right on one event page. We also wanted to create an experience for our donors that was enjoyable and easy to navigate, which Brandlive checked the boxes on.

    ”Ultimately, Haigis said, “our top priority when selecting a platform was one that made it as easy as possible for donors to give during the event. Our goal for the event was $2 million and 600 viewers—and we ended up raising over $4.7 million with 1,300 viewers. Brandlive makes it easy to integrate giving platforms and offers guests an easy pathway to give during the program.”

  2. Plug and play integrations and security.

    “It was important that Brandlive integrated well with UNICEF USA fundraising platforms, Haigis reflected, “as well as any other sites that we wanted viewers to access during the program.” Brandlive met the challenge seamlessly, making connection a breeze.

    Online security was also top of mind for the team. Haigis recalled, “Our IT and data team were very concerned about security, and Brandlive was more than prepared to cover all of the safety requirements that they specified. “

  3. Expanded reach=greater generosity.

    Going virtual allowed UNICEF USA to reach a large group of widely scattered supporters in a single, high-impact event. As Haigis said, “Using the Brandlive platform allowed us to connect donors from around the country. As opposed to the nine separate in-person events we do each year, this was the first time we were able to have a major event ‘moment’ with a wide array of our supporters.”

    Going virtual also offered new opportunities to expand the circle of support. Haigis explained, “We were not only trying to encourage our major donors who are already a part of our UNICEF family to join the event—we also invited a new audience to the event who did not know us as well…. We wanted to create a high-quality event that would inspire new viewers to become UNICEF USA supporters.”

We wanted to create an experience for our donors that was enjoyable and easy to navigate, which Brandlive checked the boxes on.

-Jake Haigis, Coordinator for Special Events at UNICEF USA
Guests & Speakers at UNICEF Event
UNICEF’s Changemaker virtual fundraising event was designed to be cinematic, immersive, and fully branded.

Big wins

  1. Making it rain with easy production.

    UNICEF USA knew that TV-quality production was crucial to driving engagement and donations—and they leveraged Brandlive’s features to make top-notch production a breeze. “We needed a platform that would allow us to integrate pre-recorded content as well as live moments,” said Haigis, and Greenroom made it happen.

    Haigis and the UNICEF USA team loved being embedded in live production. “The Greenroom is fantastic. It was wonderful to be able to be ‘in the booth’ with the production team during the live show to facilitate our live moment.”

    The final result was seamless: “One of my favorite features is how the video square follows you when you scroll down the page so you never miss a second of the show.”

  2. Cinematic, immersive, fully branded — the experience makes a difference.

    After the event, Haigis and the UNICEF USA team asked key leadership and donors about their experience of the Brandlive program and platform. Haigis reported, “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.”

    The team envisioned creating an experience that donors would be proud to support. “We wanted a platform that made the experience seamless and enjoyable so that viewers could focus on the program and not be bothered by navigating an unfamiliar website. It was very important that we were able to create a program that was educational and impactful.”

    UNICEF USA leadership and donors were delighted. Haigis enthused, “It was great to hear how we really created a cinematic experience that was both entertaining and informative.”

  3. Open door, open hearts: engagement matters.

    “We heard a lot of great feedback on how easy it was to get into Brandlive and navigate the site. One of my biggest pre-event anxieties was access to the event. Several people mentioned how simple the registration process was,” Haigis recounted.

    The UNICEF USA team also hoped to foster interactions among guests. “We wanted to create an experience that allowed donors to connect with each other and know that they were in a community of people who were all watching the event together. I think the chat feature did a really great job at creating that.”

  4. The beginning of a beautiful partnership.

    The Changemaker far exceeded UNICEF USA’s goals: more than twice the number of guests—and over double the fundraising result—and the team is already dreaming up future collaborations. Haigis said, “We plan to continue hosting virtual events with Brandlive. And when it’s safe, it’ll be hybrid events—both virtual and in-person.”

    With Brandlive’s hybrid approach—which includes both virtual and in-person events, plus options for live, pre-recorded, live online, asynchronous, off-platform, highlights, and replay content—UNICEF USA’s philanthropic future looks brighter than ever. And that means children around the world will have brighter futures too.

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