How This Fashion Brand Drew Over 1 Million People to its Virtual Fundraiser
Global fashion e-retailer SHEIN held a virtual fundraiser that racked up big donations for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Here's how it went down.
Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for SHEIN
How do you get 1.6 million-plus viewers to attend your virtual fundraising event? BizBash took the burning question to SHEIN, a global fashion brand that achieved just that during its virtual SHEIN Together event this past weekend.
"We were already donating masks globally and wanted to do more," said Molly Miao, co-founder and CMO of SHEIN, "so the entertainment fundraiser was an extension of what we had been planning to do from a seasonal marketing perspective, and what we were currently doing to aid in the fight against the pandemic."
Planned in less than a month's time, the three-hour virtual event had a focus on constant entertainment, celebs, and, of course, philanthropy, with all proceeds benefiting the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization powered the United Nations Foundation. Each minute was filled to the brim with a mixture of live and pre-recorded performances; Q&As with the celebrity guests; games like Guess the Gibberish, Dare Wheel Challenge, and Mother Knows Best, among others; beauty, dance, and stay-at-home fashion tutorials; and more. SHEIN had attendees seeing stars (literally), with a lineup that included headline performer Katy Perry as well as Lil Nas X, Hailey Bieber, Rita Ora, Madelaine Petsch, Tyler Cameron, and others.
Even more interesting? The brand opted to host the event via its mobile phone and tablet app as opposed to its online platform. "Our app has sophisticated streaming capabilities and had an already pretty substantial audience tuning into our weekly shopping broadcasts, so we knew we had a platform that we could utilize," Miao explained. "With interactive games, prize draws, and points giveaways, the SHEIN app is more engaging to millennials and Gen Zers, and because this event was for charity, we wanted viewers to be as engaged as possible. Also, viewers were able to buy the SHEIN Together charity T-shirts directly in the app during the stream, which helped raise a lot of money for charity."
As for the prep that went into hosting the large-scale event, Miao explained that the team conducted prep calls during the week leading up to the event, using the time with each guest and performer to test technology, Wi-Fi, and run through the logistical process. In addition, the SHEIN team supplied hot spots to ensure seamless streaming. During the fundraiser, host Erin Lim utilized Zoom to chat with celebs about the importance of giving back and spreading positive messages during the pandemic, and, naturally, their quarantine nicknames (translation: your current mood and the last snack you ate). Meanwhile, the brand's own virtual assistant helped guide the audience through the chat feature.
Though this wasn't the brand's first foray into the virtual sphere—"We host weekly livestreams with influencers geared toward shopping," Miao noted—it certainly marked an undertaking. "This was something of another level," she said. "... This event was not about growing sales but more about raising awareness, fundraising, and engaging with a new audience who haven't seen us in this space before. Based on the response, it’s definitely something we will consider building out as part of the marketing program. We may even have something already planned…"
Keep scrolling for a look at how the celebrity-clad virtual fundraiser came to fruition.