Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

A fundraising unboxing

A fundraising unboxing

I was wondering recently what the equivalent of a fundraising unboxing might look like, and whether donors or fundraisers might benefit from them. And then I came across one.

New to unboxing videos? There are plenty of people who share their passion for gadgets, products and purchases – especially if they are the very latest thing – by filming the process of them unboxing or unwrapping them, as they comment on what they find.

Here’s one for the iPhone 7:


Their popularity online is probably a mixture of childlike glee at unwrapping presents, envy, curiosity, vicarious shopping, and perhaps product research. Plus, depending on the unboxer’s style, an element of entertainment. The above video had had 5.3 million views in one week.

Unboxing for charity?

So, is there an opportunity for charities to make use of the unboxing video phenomenon? Certainly. It’s a quick and easy type of video to create, possibly in a single take with no need for editing.

But what to unbox? From a charity’s point of view, there are plenty of approaches, including:

  • unboxing this year’s charity Christmas card designs
  • unboxing products from the charity’s new trading catalogue
  • unboxing the new design charity collection box
  • unboxing the t-shirts that fundraising runners will be able to wear or buy this year

But there is much more than traditional products that charities could show in an unboxing format. How about:

  • new projects to fund?
  • new beneficiaries (with permission of course)?
  • new funding received or awarded?
  • new staff to introduce?

How those look in practice might take some creative thought – what does a project in a box look like? If it’s taking a funder’s cheque out of an envelope then there are privacy concerns in terms of some of the banking details likely to be visible.

But I’m sure you get the idea. And I’m rather expecting to hear in the comments below that a charity or NGO has already done this.

Unboxing a cardboard box

It’s appropriate that the first fundraising unboxing video I came across today involves opening a direct mail pack which includes – a cardboard box! Or rather virtual reality goggles made of cardboard. Thanks Dan Smyth for posting your fundraising unboxing.



Funnily enough, WaterAid UK subsequently published a similar video. While it wasn’t designed as an unboxing video but as a guide to using its VR goggles, it still has a similar style.


Navel gazing?

Are fundraising-related unboxing videos primarily of interest to fundraisers and donors? There’s a chance that could be true, as we compare and contrast charities’ approaches to fundraising.

But I’m sure there is an opportunity to delight and inspire donors with this kind of approach. Don’t be surprised, however, if it is some of your more creative supporters who start creating and sharing these videos when your fundraising approach truly strikes home and excites them.

  • Have you spotted a fundraising unboxing video? Share it in the comments below. Or do you plan to make use of this approach? How, and for what?

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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