Virtual fundraising events are an effective practice for communication and, of course, fundraising. Virtual events follow the same guiding principles and tactics of fundraising but differ in format and execution. Before proceeding to this article, we recommend you refresh your memory on the topic with our ‘Fundraising, how-to guide. ‘
Virtual events are a popular tool grown over several years recently amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic while evolving its strategies. During this period, virtual events are proven trusted tools, with their use anticipated after we are out of the pandemic woods.
Virtual events can be a new concept or adaptations of existing -IRL- events such as walkathons, concerts, or bake sales. In either case, before starting, you need to consider the same aspects with all fundraising strategies of making a compelling case, identifying the audience, setting targets etc.
1. Page Set-up
Virtual events, like all events, require participation; depending on the type of activity, you need to create a Campaign Page hosting the Event Page and subsequent pages of participants supporting your cause (e.g. where people post their progress in a bikeathon). Just Giving is a platform for hosting virtual events.
The page set-up ought to follow your fundraising and communication strategies (Communication Plan), specifically answering these tough questions to your audience:
- What do I have to do?
- Why should I care?
- What is my impact?
2. Share and advertise your event.
Before, during and after the event, you need to share it on social media, promote sign-up, offer updates and advice.
3. Encourage participation.
Beyond raising funds, the event’s aim is for participants to engage in an activity; for them to do so as stated above, they would need to create their pages in support of your cause, sharing, posting and tracking their progress. The host needs to :
a. both encourage and facilitate participation through social media posts, instructions and guides for page creation.
b. share milestones.
c. share stories.
d. set-up a blog or space where the community can share their experience and communicate.
During the last one to two weeks of your campaign, you ought to increase social media/advertising activity to engage more participants. Why you ask? Often interested participants, especially in culture, tend to procrastinate until the last available moment, a reminder can be helpful to them and your cause.
Ensure to thank the participants and donors for their contribution and participation during the event and its end. To achieve this, you could send personal e-mails, newsletters, shout-outs, thank you notes and certificates.
6.Evaluate and Report
At the end of the event, you need to measure the outcomes against the set targets and goals. Specifically document the numbers of pages created, pages expiring, pages with events, participant demographics and donation reports.
Virtual Fundraising events have already seen great success and offer many benefits to the host organisation, namely:
- Reach a new audience by the introduction of diverse activities.
- Effective communication of your mission, vision and practice.
- Acquire in-depth knowledge of your existing audience and maintain a relationship.
Virtual events are both a communication and fundraising tool as the hosts and participants work together towards a shared goal instead of a one-time donation. This method creates a working and long-term relationship between a charity and its donors. Moreover, they offer insight to the audiences’, new and existing, information and needs. Information collected, such as demographics, can define your future marketing, fundraising, communication activities and make your practice more appealing to them.
Special thanks to Fay Orfanidou and the awesome NGO Katheti, for sharing their knowledge of virtual events and JustGiving with us. Check them out, give them some love, you will meet them soon in one of our articles.
I want to learn more:
For in-depth information and case examples about setting up Virtual Fundraising Events check out JustGiving
and download their super Virtual Events Toolkit.
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