A year into the COVID-19 pandemic and we have learned a lot about how to host a successful virtual fundraising event. From planning to execution and follow-up, each step is important to raise vital funds to support your mission.
Begin with Planning:
- Connect with sponsors to think creatively about what they are looking for and how to showcase their work during your event.
- Find a platform that meets that meets your needs for hosting an online event. Software like GiveSmart aids in smooth facilitation of online giving and provides a platform to embed a video code to stream the event.
- If you are hosting a free event, ensure you have a way to register guests and get their information. Make sure to send messages leading up to the event to create excitement!
- When promoting, use a multi-channeled approach to reach as many individuals as possible. Since your virtual event is no longer confided to a ballroom, anyone from around the globe can attend! Make sure to share the length of the show (keep it to about 45 minutes), special features of the event, and different ways to give.
- Audience gifts or swag bags have been a fun way to connect with your audience. Items like wine, dinner, swag, and activities can be a fun way to make your virtual event feel more engaging. Before you buy and package items, make sure to reflect on the cost of each item, how you will get them to your attendees, and if you audience will appreciate them.
- Plan the run of show like you would an in-person event. Create strategies to ensure event is engaging throughout, educates people on your mission, and motivates everyone to give.
- Hard-wire your internet connect for a smooth delivery of streaming and produce high quality videos with good sound and lighting.
Make the Ask:
- This is one of the most important parts of a virtual fundraising event, because often the number one goal is to raise dollars! Make the ask purposeful and standout during the event. Highlight that this is the time for your guests to give.
- Use software to make giving simple and easy. With a text to give system, donors can simply text and give in one easy step.
- Promote matching gifts. Matching gifts are a great way to motivate people to give and give more! Consider finding a donor who will match donations us to a certain amount and promote that prior and during the event.
- Just like a traditional in-person event follow up is important. Let donors know how much they collectively raised and how that support is going to impact your mission.
- Create sponsorship reports for all sponsors. Highlight the benefits they received with the dates they received them and event stats, like how many viewers tuned in.
- Send a big thank you to everyone who attended and personal messages to VIPs!