8 Tips for Creating a Virtual Fundraising Event

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Posted on April 20, 2020 by Harbor Compliance in Fundraising and Grants.

If you work or volunteer for a nonprofit organization, chances are your upcoming fundraising event has been postponed or is in limbo due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Besides your fundraising event, you’re still trying to continue normal duties amidst a rapidly changing situation. But don’t just cancel your fundraising event just yet. There are still ways to fundraise virtually while being respectful that your supporters are living through the pandemic as well. Many nonprofit organizations are transitioning their in-person luncheon, gala, run/walk, or other events into virtual ones. Follow the eight tips below to start pivoting your in-person fundraising event into a fully virtual one.

8 Tips for Creating a Virtual Fundraising Event

  1. Communicate Changes Early
    Utilize all of your communication channels to inform supporters of program changes and announce your upcoming virtual event. Acknowledge the pandemic and wish them good health, but still communicate your beneficiaries need support.

  2. Create or Update Your Event’s Webpage
    If your fundraising event does not already have it’s own webpage, be sure to create one specifically for the fundraising event. Your organization can communicate all changes to the fundraising event to the dedicated page and link the page to your regular website and social channels.

  3. Record Live Stream in Advance
    Your supporters don’t need to know you’ve filmed your main event in advance. Display pre-recorded videos at a gala or luncheon, you can also display one during your Facebook Live, Instagram Live or YouTube live event.

  4. Utilize Major Supporters’ Social Networks
    Just as you would rely on speakers and table captains to invite their friends and family to your in-person event, utilize their social networks for your virtual event. Allow supporters to start their own peer-to-peer fundraising page. Similar to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising empowers supporters to raise money on behalf of your cause through their own personal fundraising page. Encourage fundraisers to share their pages with friends and family via social media or email. 

  5. Host a Live Q&A
    With Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other major social media platforms, going live allows viewers to submit questions and comments in real time. Adding a dedicated Q&A time to the end of your event, will lessen the comments and questions submitted throughout the event. 

  6. Live Stream on Social Channels
    Utilize the social channels your supporters use. Obviously stick to the major social networks like Facebook or YouTube, but if a significant segment of your supporters are on LinkedIn or Twitch for instance, utilize those platforms as well. There are software platforms that allow users to stream to multiple platforms at the same time. 

  7. Make Live Appeals with Opportunities to Donate in Real Time
    Incorporate technologies like text-to-donate, a live event thermometer, and an online donation form during your Q&A session. Many nonprofits are displaying text-to-donate instructions on the bottom of their live stream videos. Viewers who text in their donation will see their donations in real time on a live event thermometer.

  8. Share Recorded Live Stream through Marketing Channels
    After your virtual event be sure to share a recording with supporters through email marketing, social media and any other digital channels. Just like a regular fundraising event, many supporters will not be able to attend the live event. 

I hope these tips help your nonprofit organization continue fundraising during this unprecedented time. If you need additional support transitioning your in-person fundraising event into a virtual one, the Digital Fundraising Strategists at MobileCause can help. Our team has been guiding and helping nonprofit organizations create their first ever virtual fundraising event during this unprecedented time. To learn more about MobileCause’s Digital Fundraising services, request a consultation here.

Kristina Brunnler, Mobile Cause

Kristina Brunnler is digital marketer and Marketing Manager for MobileCause. She believes in the power of marketing automation and is passionate about helping nonprofits create more meaningful connections with their donors. MobileCause offers online fundraising software and expert services to help nonprofits grow their mission. When she’s not at MobileCause, she can be found hiking, backpacking, at a concert or a local records store.

Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency.