COVID-19 has thrown non-profit fundraising for a loop in 2020. Many not-for-profit organizations that rely on fundraising events to fund their mission are scrambling to move their fundraising online. If you are one of those organizations, take a deep breath. With a little preparation, planning, and the right fundraising event partner, your next virtual fundraiser will be a success.
Tailor Your Fundraiser to Your Audience
One of the secrets to hosting an effective virtual fundraiser is having a well-defined audience. The better defined your event audience the more focused you can make your fundraiser to drawing donations from your audience. The easiest way to accomplish this is to make sure the WHY of your fundraiser is front and center. Don’t get distracted by transitioning to a virtual event. You can find success in this new medium by keeping your organization’s WHY at the center of your event.
Virtual Fundraiser Ideas
With your event’s WHY and target audience at the front of your mind, it’s time to determine what sort of virtual fundraiser will work best. What type of event best suits your audience and allows you to reinforce your event’s WHY? Below are few example types of virtual fundraisers you can run for your event.
- Online Auction
- Online Class
- Online Contest
- Online Open Mic
- Online Raffle
- TED-style Virtual Speaker
- Virtual 5k
- Virtual Concert or Festival
- Virtual Tour
- Watch Party
Drive Engagement Through Audience Participation
Without the stimuli of an in-person event your audience may feel disconnected to the content presented. There are many ways to stimulate an interactive connection. One of these ways is by encouraging audience participation. Ideas to add audience participation to your event include creating quiz questions for the audience to answer, operating online polls, or encouraging the audience to submit questions on social media for you to answer during the event.
How to Achieve Your Fundraising Goals
With the transition to virtual fundraising many organizations are worried about falling short of their fundraising goals. The first thing you can do to increase your donations is to make sure to follow up on potential attendees and RSVPs. Treat your virtual fundraiser like you are organizing an in-person event.
Another thing is to make sure you choose a donation goal that’s achievable. The silver lining of virtual events is they tend to have lower overhead compared to in-person events. This means you will keep a larger percentage of each donation. This helps to counterbalance the stigma from attendees that they don’t “get as much” out of a virtual event.
The single best advice to avoiding falling short of your fundraising goal is to make it easy to donate. This ensures you capture 100% of the donations people want to make. Make sure to choose a donation avenue that accepts many types of payment. Payment types your want to be prepared to receive include credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc.
What Makes for a Successful Online Fundraiser
Planning is the key to online fundraiser success. The earlier you start planning your event, the better. You should begin planning a one-time event at least four weeks before the date. For more complex virtual events, like multi-day simultaneous channel fundraisers start your planning 12 weeks out. Because virtual fundraisers live online, it’s important you create a well-designed event page with registration, agenda, and donation capabilities. Your virtual event also needs to be optimized for mobile. It’s likely a significant percentage of your attendees will be interacting and donating to your fundraiser via phone.
And of course, to ensure your online fundraiser goes smoothly, spend the time to pick out the right platform, tools, and event partner.
Virtual Fundraiser Additional Considerations
Additional considerations for your fundraising event should include event promotion. For your fundraiser to be a success people have to know about it and show up. Get your event information out early and often. You can reach out directly using email, social media, and SMS. You should also create a press release to generate media interest and coverage of your virtual fundraiser.
After the event make sure to follow up and thank attendees for their participation. This is a good time to solicit feedback to improve your next virtual event.
Virtual Fundraiser Example: March for Babies StepUp!
For an example of a large non-profit changing their fundraiser see the March of Dimes, March for Babies StepUp! The March of Dimes annual walkathon “March for Babies” was transformed due to COVID-19 concerns into March for Babies StepUp! The virtual fundraiser allowed participants to track their steps individually through a pedometer phone app. They also created a TikTok dance challenge and hashtags to share individual progress on social media.
Virtual Fundraiser Event Production Partner
Just like producing an in-person fundraiser, there is a lot of technical work that goes into producing virtual events. Virtual fundraising events also have the added difficulty of making sure your fundraiser looks and sounds great over broadcast.
Trust an experienced, virtual event production partner to make your online fundraiser a success. Onstage Systems has 30 years of event production experience, including virtual event and live streaming expertise. Onstage Systems can help you with lighting, stage design, audio, and multi-feed setups.
Onstage Systems Virtual Event Production
See how Onstage Systems can help make your virtual fundraiser a success: Sonic Soul Tribe Virtual Concert. Onstage Systems produced the 12-hour international, virtual concert event. The event included on-location concert production and coordinating remote, international performances over the event’s 12-hour duration.
More Virtual Experiences by Onstage Systems
- Boxing Events
- Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s America Strong Concert
- DAS Ultimate Typing Championships
- Stitch House Dallas
- And More
There is still time to meet your 2020 fundraising goals with a well-planned virtual fundraiser and the right event production partner. Visit HERE to see more of Onstage System’s featured work. Or, CONTACT US to get started with planning your next successful virtual fundraising event.