For the past year, nonprofits have conducted virtual fundraising events to raise donations and continue engaging supporters despite pandemic-related restrictions. During this time, organizations learned valuable lessons about not only the best way to plan these events, but also the best tech tools to use to set their virtual events up for success.
It’s not enough to just livestream your event and call it a day. Virtual event tools provide the framework for creating a uniquely engaging opportunity that rivals in-person experiences.
With this in mind, here are three tech takeaways we’ve learned from a year of digital fundraising events:
- Strategic virtual event management processes are necessary to engage participants.
- Mobile apps provide an effective way to reach potential participants.
- Accessibility is important to reach the widest audience possible.
Although social distancing and masking regulations are easing in many areas, it’s still worth investing in dedicated virtual event management solutions as these events will be popular in the future. Virtual fundraising events are highly convenient for attendees, have less overhead costs because of the lack of a physical venue, and allow you to reach an international audience with your message.
By establishing your strategy for virtual fundraising events now, you give your organization a robust framework to use in all future activities. Let’s dive in!
- 1. Strategic virtual event management processes are necessary to engage participants
- 2. Mobile apps provide an effective way to reach potential participants
- 3. Accessibility is important to reach the widest audience possible
- Virtual Fundraising Ideas: How to Raise Money Online
1. Strategic virtual event management processes are necessary to engage participants
After a year of virtual fundraisers, it’s clear that an ad-hoc approach to event management won’t cut it. Each aspect of your event, from registration and data collection to running the event itself, contains its own complexities. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by each step.
Investing in powerful event registration tools is the best strategy to host a well-organized event from the start. Your event registration platform should include:
- Registration tools such as registration forms, a ticketing platform, and data tracking. These features make it more convenient for attendees to register online. Registration tools also ensure your team can review important event analytics such as the number of registrations vs. actual attendance or cost per participant.
- Marketing tools such as email, an event blog, and social media platforms. These tools help you spread the word about your event so you can successfully obtain more registrations. Event Espresso’s social media event promotion guide provides an excellent overview of how to use multiple social media platforms to promote your event.
During the virtual fundraising event itself, ensure that you’re using a proper live-streaming platform to keep attendees engaged for the duration. Check out Recharity’s live streaming for nonprofits guide to explore top platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, and YouTube. These platforms are well-suited to host fully virtual and hybrid events that combine in-person and online experiences.
2. Mobile apps provide an effective way to reach potential participants
After a year of conducting online fundraisers, it’s become clear that mobile platforms are more important than ever to connect with your nonprofit’s supporters. In fact, fundraising statistics show that 50% of all nonprofit website traffic last year came from mobile and tablet users.
To take advantage of this trend, organizations are investing in mobile apps. Nonprofit mobile apps are an effective way to engage participants on a device we all use constantly in daily life. Over the past year, as virtual events have become more popular, nonprofits are using apps for everything from managing event check-ins to raising funds throughout the event.
With this in mind, here are a few ways to make your event app stand out:
- Brand your app to your organization. Design your app with your organization’s logo and colors in mind to promote greater brand recognition and trust among your supporters.
- Train your team and supporters on how to use the app. Ensure everyone’s on the same page with instructional PDFs or an FAQ page on your website. Then invite supporters to use the app and encourage them to fill up the online donation form when they give their donations.
- Integrate your app with your other nonprofit tech solutions. Your app will generate valuable data depending on what you use it for, such as event attendance analytics, supporter feedback, and updated supporter contact information. Therefore, it’s important to find an app developer that integrates with your CRM database. As DNL OmniMedia’s nonprofit technology guide explains, integrations allow data from your software solutions to flow seamlessly into your database so you can assess this data in the future.
As detailed in this post about strategies to increase event ticket sales, mobile apps make your event more accessible to attendees. These apps provide all the information they need and a platform to engage more deeply with the event content, right in the palm of their hands!
3. Accessibility is important to reach the widest audience possible
Since nonprofits have almost exclusively relied on virtual platforms to engage with their supporters in the last year, accessibility has become an increasingly important concern. Prioritizing the accessibility of your nonprofit’s event website ensures everyone can engage with your virtual event content, no matter their device, visual impairment, or physical disability.
There are a few best practices you can implement right now to increase the accessibility of your virtual events, including:
- Ensuring all videos are accompanied by closed captions.
- Ensuring any images include alternative text that can be read by screen readers.
- Designing all event registration and information pages so that they’re responsive to mobile devices.
- Designing these pages so they’re easily navigable by someone using keyboard navigation.
This past year has made it clear that it’s not only important to consider accessibility when planning in-person events. Virtual event attendees require the same level of consideration and accommodations so they can easily engage with what you have to offer.
Now that we’ve covered the three most crucial tech recommendations for virtual fundraising events, let’s delve further and discover what its golden standards are and what virtual fundraising ideas you may use.
Virtual Fundraising Ideas: How to Raise Money Online
The emergence of virtual events and online fundraising has transformed how organizations and charities communicate with potential contributors. A virtual charity event may help you generate money and meet your fundraising objectives whether you are a huge charity organization or a tiny neighborhood group.
Here are a few creative online fundraising ideas that can help you involve donors, increase donations, and reach new audiences in your next virtual fundraising campaign.
An online auction is a great strategy to collect funds while also engaging potential contributors. A virtual auction allows your supporters to bid on a range of things, experiences, or services.
You may also advertise the event ahead of time and give a simple platform for contributors to put bids. Or you can sell tickets through Event Espresso or Event Smart to existing and new donors for them to be able to bid on the auctioned items.
A virtual race is an excellent method to engage contributors while also promoting health. You may create a virtual walk, run, or bike ride and invite supporters and contributors from all around the world to join.
Ticket prices for the virtual fundraiser event should vary depending on which race format (5k, 10k, etc.) your participants want to join. You may also request a suggested gift amount or specify a fundraising goal. Collaborate with event management and ticket sales software to make your task trouble-free.
Virtual Happy Hour
A virtual happy hour is a fun and interactive approach to meet potential donors and interact with existing ones. Invite and sell tickets to supporters to your virtual happy hour party where they can have a drink, play games, and learn about the mission and vision and the work of your charity or organization.
The event can also be used to advertise a suggested donation amount or nonprofit fundraising objective. Promoting the suggested donation or fundraising target can help you generate more money and broaden your event’s effect by enticing more participants to donate to the cause.
The Virtual Concert
Another excellent technique to connect donors and potential donors and generate funds is through a virtual concert. Collaborate with a local artist or band on this one. You can pre-record their concert and stream it online.
Sell tickets online through ticket sale software such as Event Smart and Event Espresso, not only to your donors and sponsors but to everyone who would like to watch a stay-at-home concert. You may also request a suggested donation amount or establish a fundraising target for the event.
Birthday Fundraising Event
A birthday fundraiser is a unique approach to engaging potential contributors while also raising funds. Instead of a birthday present, you might encourage donors to give to your nonprofit organization. You may also publicize this online fundraising idea on your social media platform and solicit donations from friends and family.
Virtual Giving Day
Giving Days are 24-hour fundraising activities designed to raise funds for a certain cause or organization. They are usually a virtual fundraising event organized for community foundations, colleges, or charity organizations and incorporate donors.
To encourage donor participation and excitement, Giving Days frequently feature different engagement activities such as social media challenges, virtual events, and matching gifts.
Giving Tuesday is the most popular giving day of the year, but your organization may establish your own giving days to rally supporters, identify new contributors, and raise critical money for your cause and services.
Giving days are an excellent way to organize virtual fundraising campaigns because they build a feeling of urgency among contributors.
Developing a thorough campaign plan to publicize, engage social networks, motivate contributors, and celebrate with live-streamed events is critical for a successful Giving Day.
The Virtual Gala
A virtual gala is an excellent approach to generating funds while also promoting your charitable organization. A virtual gala featuring a silent auction, live entertainment, and keynote speakers is possible.
Create a registration page where participants may purchase virtual gala tickets. You can utilize a specific ticketing tool such as Event Espresso or Event Smart. You may also suggest a donation amount or establish a fundraising target for the event.
A fundraising challenge is a fun and engaging method to generate funds and promote your organization. You may organize a challenge, such as a dance or fitness challenge, and encourage donors as well as potential donors to take part.
Provide a registration page where donors and other participants may register for the virtual challenge. You may use an event management tool such as Event Smart or Event Espresso. You may also request a suggested gift amount or specify a fundraising goal.
Prepare a challenge package like a swag bag for participants that contains the challenge instructions, any necessary equipment, and any extra freebies or products you wish to provide. You can send them to participants or arrange for them to be picked up.
Fundraising on a Peer-to-Peer Basis
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a creative virtual fundraising idea that encourages your supporters to set up their own fundraising pages and solicit donations from their friends and family.
Top fundraisers can also be rewarded with a thank-you gift or acknowledgment on your website. You may also organize a donor recognition event and sell tickets to this event.
Page for Donations
A donation page is an important part of any online fundraising campaign. You may set up a simple, user-friendly contribution page and advertise it via social media, email, and your organization’s website.
Plan the virtual class content, schedule it for a convenient date and time, and choose a suitable virtual platform for hosting, such as Zoom or a dedicated e-learning platform. Create a registration process that can either be free or involve a suggested donation amount, allowing participants to sign up for the course. Promote your event through social media, email newsletters, and online channels, emphasizing the charity’s importance and how their donations will make a difference.
Virtual Talent Show
Create a registration process for participants, which might include a small entry fee, with the proceeds going directly to your charity. If you have judges, ensure they are prepared and knowledgeable in evaluating talent, or involve the audience in voting.
Promote the talent show through various channels, highlighting the charity’s mission and the impact of donations. Encourage participants and viewers to make direct donations to your organization, and seek potential sponsors or contributors to further support your cause through funds or prizes.
The success of nonprofit virtual fundraising events of the past year has relied on proper technology to plan and carry out these experiences. In the process, nonprofits have learned valuable lessons about the best ways to incorporate virtual event management tools, mobile apps, and accessibility into their virtual event planning. Keep these top takeaways in mind when you plan your next online event.
Yet all these tips, best practices, and virtual fundraising ideas will be wasted without excellent event management software. Event Espresso is a virtual event management tool and ticket sale software that can help you with your fundraising both for your live event and online event.
Event Espresso is an all-in-one event management system that includes online payments, custom registration forms, seating limits, different price choices, discount codes, printed tickets, and mobile event applications. It may be utilized for a variety of events such as seminars, webinars, workshops, fundraisers, sporting events, conferences, marketing campaigns, and social gatherings.