Hosting a Successful Virtual Event Fundraiser

Hosting a Virtual Fundraiser

Nonprofits worldwide have been impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The cancellation or postponement of events lapsed donors due to the economy, and loss of corporate and government grant funding has resulted in a severe deficit of funds for many nonprofits.

While physical events have been canceled, for the time being, it is possible to make a large impact and raise funds with a virtual event or fundraiser!

If you are looking to develop a virtual event fundraiser, look no further. We have five easy steps you can take right now to start raising funds for your cause.

  1.      Choose the Right Type of Fundraiser
  2.      Plan Plan Plan
  3.      Market
  4.      Go Live
  5.      Post Fundraiser

Choose the RIGHT Type of Virtual Event Fundraiser for your Organization

You’ve decided to host a virtual fundraiser, but where to start? The first step is choosing how you will raise funds virtually. The type of virtual fundraiser that will be most successful for your community is the one that excites and engages your donors most. This will set the stage for the rest of your planning so be sure to give it a lot of thought – think about the demographics of your community, ask your supporters how they are engaging currently and what type of virtual events they are tuning in to, talk to your team, and begin brainstorming.

Below are a few virtual event ideas to get your brainstorm started:

  • Stream a live performance or show
  • Create an activity for your viewers to participate in (like a craft, cooking class, or
    learning a dance from a professional instructor)
  • Launch a virtual team event like trivia
  • Host a virtual 5k
  • Start an e-gaming event
  • Create a virtual conference
  • Set up virtual karaoke or a talent show
  • Host a workshop to help your donors develop a skill
For more information on results-driven digital fundraisers, check out our blog: 4 Types of Results-Driven Fundraisers.

Plan Plan Plan

Don’t be the nonprofit that hosts a virtual event without thinking it through. While you may not need to secure a venue or engage a caterer, there is still a lot of planning that goes into a virtual event.

First, you need to consider how much money you want to fundraise and how you will raise funds with this event. Will it be ticketed? Will you solicit donations throughout the event? Maybe you’ll make it into a peer 2 peer event. Also, consider strategic and well thought out sponsorship opportunities, while many companies are unable to give right now, for the right opportunity, they may have marketing dollars to invest.

Next, choose a streaming platform. This will be highly dependent on what type of event you are hosting, as selecting a streaming platform is like choosing a venue. You don’t want a soccer field for a gala or a ballroom for a dodgeball tournament. When selecting your streaming platform, you want one that is easy to use, accessible, requires as little work by your participants as possible, and allows you all the capabilities to create an excellent experience for your donors.

Put a lot of thought into your program. Since this is a virtual event and your donors have the opportunity to leave at any moment, you must create an engaging program. This means thinking through every aspect of the event and remembering the differences between in-person events and virtual events. Unlike in-person events, interactions will be limited, so you must create them. You also must keep things moving a bit quicker and with less error than you are afforded at an in-person event. This is not a time to stress though, this is a time to plan, diligently, and thoroughly.

Lastly, engage your team and do a test run before the event. This will allow you to make any necessary tweaks to the program and give you additional confidence entering this new space while also ensuring your wifi, streaming platform, video, and sound are all working effectively.

Market Your Event

Without marketing, you’ll have a virtual empty room.

You’ve spent time building your networks, now is the time to utilize them. Within your strategic plan, you should create cohesive and unique messaging for each platform. Utilize your social media presence, your email list, your website (your home page, pop-ups, blogs, etc..), text messaging, and phone calls. Think through all the ways you can interact with your community and engage them. Run social media ads, send your emails, and remember content is king when it comes to digital marketing, so put a good bit thought into what messaging you use.

With these methods, you will reach your network and potentially further, but if you engage your supporters, you have the ability to reach much further. Engage your team and begin making personal asks to your supporters. Be transparent about the current needs and make a direct and specific ask for their help with your digital fundraising campaign. Engaging your supporters expands your reach and your network to include their network. This not only allows you to increase your funds raised but could also help you grow your community.

REMINDER: If you are reaching out to supporters personally, ensure you are checking on them before making any asks. Everyone is currently being affected by the pandemic in some way, so checking in and listening before asking for help will protect your relationship with the donor and allow you to make the right ask given their situation.

Host Your Event

You’ve done all you can do to plan, and the time is here! Get ready and hit the button to begin. This is the fun you’ve been planning for, and you should enjoy it! Missteps are inevitable but choose to remain calm and move past them quickly.

Follow Up

Donor engagement is more critical than ever. Make sure you take the time to email your donors and thank them for the support of your cause. This will help you build relationships with your donors, give you the chance to ask for additional donations if you did not reach your goal and provide an opportunity to send a survey and learn more about their experience so you can create a better and more effective virtual fundraising experience in the future.

Additionally, follow up with your donors when the campaign is complete to simply say thank you and give them an update on the amount of funds raised, and the impact these funds will have on your cause.

Setting up a fundraiser with Givebox is easy and free! Get started using our advanced fundraising tools for your virtual fundraising event here, and don’t forget to get your strategic plan in place before launching!

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