The way we do business certainly changed in many ways during 2020 and 2021, and nonprofit fundraisers are no exception. Most in-person fundraisers have been either canceled entirely or moved to a virtual platform. While it remains unclear what the future holds, virtual fundraisers could be here to stay – at least in some capacity – for the foreseeable future.
If your organization plans to conduct virtual fundraisers, here are few things to consider:
Stay on Top of Technology
Using technology effectively is possibly the most important aspect to having a successful event. It is imperative to ensure that any video streaming services are functioning correctly, audio is loud and crisp, a quality auction platform for handling bids is chosen (if applicable) that accommodates high resolution pictures, and that the attendee experience is seamless.
Make it Easy to Attend and Donate
It’s essential to realize and consider that elderly individuals, who are often the nonprofit’s biggest supporters, are not always technology-savvy. Additionally, some people are put off by website signups, downloads, etc. Some may use their phone to attend, while others will use tablets or laptops. Consider every aspect where you can make the experience easy to participate in and simple for donors to give.
Market Your Event to Ensure High Participation
At least a few times every year, I hear that a client’s fundraiser passed by with donors saying, “I would have attended had I known about it.” It may sound like a no-brainer – but make sure to send reminders so the event does not fall off anyone’s radar.
Get Creative – Engage Your Audience
Virtual fundraisers can take many forms. Trivia nights, auctions, galas, dinners, cocktail hours, beer tasting, museum tours, races, movie nights, performances, game nights, lectures, crafting sessions, and concerts are all options that have been used. Consider your target audience and get creative with your fundraiser format and ways to engage the audience.
Consider Hand-Deliveries for a Personal Touch
While events on a large scale are certainly riskier in the current environment, appropriate precautions can be taken with making hand-deliveries of auction items, personal messages, or items needed to experience your event. These personal touches surely go a long way with donors and allow the organization to have an element of in-person engagement.
Don’t Skip the Program Message
For many of your event attendees, this may be the only time during the year to connect with them to show real-life examples of the organization’s impact on the community. Take advantage of this opportunity with a client speaker, story, or video to paint a powerful picture of what a difference your organization makes!
A virtual event has several advantages over an in-person event, such as reduced costs (and higher net profit), fewer collections in the form of cash (and increased collection of funds through more secure means), fewer logistical issues, more convenience for event attendees, and fewer barriers to attending – which includes supporters being able to attend who live outside of the nonprofit’s immediate geographical area. However, some possible disadvantages could be reduced participation or engagement and technological difficulties.
If you plan to take a fundraiser virtual, make sure to pay attention to the above considerations, and you’ll be well on your way to having a successful event!