The pandemic of 2019 has truly shown the resilience of the nonprofit and charity sector in finding engaging and creative fundraising methods. One such method is virtual fundraising.
While not a new concept, the pandemic demonstrated the importance of raising money via remote engagement strategies, essentially making it a required fundraising component.
With more organizations moving into the digital space and donors becoming comfortable with attending virtual events, we will undoubtedly see an increase in the number of virtual fundraisers in 2022. So this is certainly not the time for nonprofits to stop fundraising but rather include more virtual methods in their strategic forecast.
Virtual fundraising allows charities and nonprofits to engage with their donors, share more information than they might be able to in person, and raise money without having the donor physically attend an event. This means that it’s easier for people worldwide who may not have had access before or simply cannot travel due to health concerns resulting from the pandemic.
The best way for fundraisers to benefit from virtual events is through hybrid fundraising. A hybrid event is a combination of an online and offline event. Event organizers can host the main part of the event online and have a smaller, in-person meeting or reception following the virtual event.
And this method works. We are being shown a world where gathering is more than a physical activity. Facebook transitioning to Meta, Covid-19 restrictions, amazon prime innovations, and the new metaverse buzzword are opening us up to experiences from our home. So whether it’s bolstering your online presence or engaging with donors wherever they are, here’s how your event can benefit from virtual fundraising.
Benefits of Virtual Fundraising
With the gathering restrictions making it difficult for people to attend events in person, virtual fundraising allows more people to participate. This is especially beneficial for organizations that have a global donor base.
Share information with donors.
Donors are able to learn more about the organization and the work they do when participating in virtual fundraisers. This is because charities and nonprofits can share more information via video or other online tools than they might be able to in person.
Raise money globally.
Virtual fundraisers make it easier for donors from all over the world to donate to a cause. This is especially crucial during a pandemic as people may not be able to travel due to health concerns. Further, using an event as a catalyst helps attract more attention than promoting your donation form on your website.
Futureproof your event.
As the virtual world becomes more popular, fundraisers need to include elements of this in their events. This way, they can keep up with future trends and be prepared for what’s coming next.
Keep your date.
When a physical event is canceled due to the pandemic, virtual fundraisers allow organizations to keep their date and not lose out on fundraising opportunities. Two years of successful online events prove that this type of fundraising is here to stay.
Get more from promotion
You’re free! Free from a single night and single venue. The live video features allow you to have a launch party the Monday before the event where people join online, chat with the host, and get excited about the event. You can also record the event and use bits in other places such as your website, social media, or email marketing.
Tips For Hosting A Virtual Fundraiser
Establish a clear strategy.
While it may be tempting to try virtual fundraisers because of their potential, organizations need to have an actual plan in place before launching one. Think about the goals you want this event to accomplish, and build your strategy around that. If possible, include some elements from other types of events your organization holds.
Mix it up.
It’s important to not only include live components in virtual fundraisers but also allow donors the option of completing an action on their own time, like watching a video or reading updates from your organization’s blog. This way, they can engage with you whenever is best for them and continue learning about your cause.
Make it personal.
One of the key benefits of making your event virtual is that they allow for a more personal connection with donors. You can do this by using videos or other tools to let donors see the people behind the organization and learn about their work.
Promote early and often.
Just like any other type of fundraiser, promotion is key. Charities can use social media and other online tools to promote their virtual fundraiser to reach as many people as possible. Make sure you include links in all promotional materials, including email blasts to donors who have already supported you.
Tips on How to handle in-person and online attendees during the big night
- Do you have a plan for the virtual attendees? Make sure to have someone manning your social media channels who can answer any questions that people might have about the event. It would help if you also had someone monitoring the live chat during the event so that everyone has a positive experience. If possible, try to do a Q&A with the host and have them answer questions from the chat room.
- Give the AV team a laptop and capture cable so you can broadcast the live camera for everyone at home. Set it and forget it.
- Grab a volunteer to run the live auction and appeal. They will open each item, alert the auctioneer of online bids and close the items.
- Auction software can help streamline the process. There are different types of virtual events: live, pre-recorded, and hybrid (a mix of live and recorded). Each type has its benefits and drawbacks. Therefore it’s important to choose the one that will work best for your organization.
How can you keep your donors engaged outside of the event?
The conversation doesn’t have to end after one night. You should be using social media and other online tools to continue engaging with people, even if they didn’t attend on that particular day. This way, you can maintain the excitement people have about your organization.
Virtual fundraisers are a great way to raise money and awareness for your charity during the pandemic. By using live video features, donors can feel like they are part of the event, even if they cannot attend in person. Make sure to promote your fundraiser early and often, and have someone manning your social media channels during the event. Have a plan for virtual attendees and make sure to keep the conversation going after the big night.