Fundraising thermometers – isn’t it time to move into the 21st century?

As a child of the 80s, I loved nothing more than watching the Blue Peter fundraising appeals. In every show, the presenters would share stories about another successful activity that raised hundreds of pounds, or introduce an inspiring young person who had encouraged their friends to get involved and support the appeal. And by far, the highlight was always when everyone gathered around the fundraising thermometer (also known as ‘The Totaliser’) and showed the viewers how much money they had raised towards their goal.

But what made it so exciting? And why was it so addictive? And more importantly, why was it so successful?


  • It demonstrated the importance of community and a shared ownership – every person doing something small to create maximum results.
  • It made people feel good about helping others. A visual representation of their support was much more rewarding than sending in money anonymously, and allowed them to see the impact immediately. Plus they could proudly show their friends too.
  • It created a sense of urgency – seeing how close they were to the fundraising target made people want to rush to push the total over the top, allowing everyone to feel the collective reward of success.

So basically, the thermometer was the ideal representation of everything that we know works well in the fundraising environment. It allowed supporters to feel happy that their donation had made a difference, that they had played their part in helping, and that they had done the right thing. And it allowed Blue Peter to raise lots of money from a lot of people in a very short space of time.

In other words, it was brilliant.

But technology has moved on a fair bit in the last 20-30 years, and it’s safe to say that although everyone loves a fundraising thermometer, we now have the capacity to be a bit more creative with our design. Why represent donations with lines on a thermometer, when you could be filling a field with flowers or dedicating individual lights on a tree? And instead of waiting for the next episode (or for someone to manually update a website!), why not give your donors the instant satisfaction of seeing the difference their support has made and letting them share their message with loved ones?

So welcome to the world of Visufund. We’ve got the technology, you’ve got the ideas. How would you like to see your donations represented? We’ve got a whole bank of graphical templates you can launch right now, but if there’s something special you have in mind for your charity, tell us your idea and we’ll work together to make it happen.