Imagine this: you’ve been working for months to make your next fundraiser a complete success. You have all the vendors lined up, volunteers ready to go then all of a sudden a global pandemic happens and everything comes to a screeching halt. Sound familiar?
Fortunately, we are living in a digital age that makes it easier than ever to make your event virtual. So, instead of postponing the event or canceling it, here are some tips to make your fundraising event a virtual success.
Don’t worry! Virtual events can be just as successful, if not more.
After you’ve decided to make your event virtual for 2020, you’ll want to:
- Let your supporters know right away of program changes and tell them your event is still on, only from a safe virtual distance! Ask your sponsors if they can still fulfill their sponsorship pledge. No harm in asking, and you’ll be surprised how many are still willing to support your cause.
- Update your event page to add some fun elements. Add a countdown clock so everyone who visits the page knows exactly what time your event is taking place.
- Create a video or GIF to show how easy it is to donate.
- *82% of people check their text messages within 5 minutes, so if you have the capabilities, send a text message 15 minutes before the virtual event to help encourage participants.
- Utilize all your platforms to help get the word out and share a link to your event page.
- Overcommunication is key.
- Emails (1 week, 1 day and 1 hour before the virtual event)
- Social media
- Text messaging
- Personal phone calls
- Update your website and event landing page
- Utilize your table captains to help spread the word
Practice Makes Perfect
If you are planning on having guest speakers, schedule a dry run to have them practice their speeches.
- Set up and practice using all your equipment and technology; be sure to test the audio and volume, too.
- If you don’t have a full production team in the comfort of your home, you’ll need to get creative with what you use and how you use it. Practice with your cell phone, iPad or tablet, if you have one, and your computer. See which one has a better quality video and sounds the best.
- There are several different free or low cost live streaming platforms such as Streamyard, OBS or Zoom that you can use to host your event, add guests, presentations and graphic overlays.
- Go into different areas of your home and test the lighting. You’ll want your viewers to be able to see you clearly. Tip: make sure the light is in front of you, not behind you.
- If late-night hosts can do it from home without an audience, so can you!
Live stream your virtual event on Facebook Live, YouTube and/or LinkedIn. Broadcast it through your event page and use your impact metrics, donation link and information about your organization.
During your live session, be sure to make an impactful ask and don’t be afraid to ask more than once. After all, that is why you’re having the event. If you have the text-to-donate capabilities, display the keyword or shortcode to make it easy for viewers to donate. Feel free to share a presentation, video or input from users during the event.
Be human. We’re all going through this together and figuring out what our new normal is. Be sure to address why support is needed right now.
If you had a fundraising campaign scheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely you’ll just need to adjust your message. Focus on why people were coming to the fundraiser in the first place.
By making your event virtual, you’ll be able to increase your viewership, save on banquet costs, and connect with your donors and sponsors like you never have before… just like we’re all doing every day.