Virtual Fundraising – Get (More) Social and Realize Great Results
How do we market our virtual fundraising event? DO Digital Marketing!
Love it or loathe it, there’s no arguing the effectiveness and ROI of digital marketing. Specifically, your website, email blasts and social media channels are powerful, phenomenal and FREE tools to let EVERYONE know about your live virtual gala or fundraising event. The more folks that know about it, the better. Of course there’s no limit on how many people can attend virtually, so the only thing that can go wrong is people not knowing about it. Here’s our advice on how to devise savvy social media campaigns, how to complement them with watch parties and engaging programmatic elements, and a guide on running a successful online giving campaign, in conjunction with your VG.
Are we over-marketing our event? Never. Get the Word Out, Again and Again and Again
You never want anyone to say, “Gosh I sure love Nonprofit X so much. I would’ve enjoyed watching their cool fundraising show learning more about what they do, the impact they have on my community and the services they provide. I would have donated money too. But I didn’t know it was happening. Oh well.” Do NOT let THAT happen to YOU!
The moment you’ve selected the date for your VG, publish it to your website. Then start posting about it on social media channels and dropping emails to your email list – pronto. Post often and include key, relevant information donors need to know (we even offer partners a recommended communications and marketing content calendar for the 90 days leading up to the event!). Tag fellow event planners, employees, vendors, volunteers and major donors and encourage them to share your posts to increase reach. Better yet? Incentivize them to do so with drawings and giveaways!
Showcase short stories about your impact and the people (places, animals…) who have benefitted from your great work. Post enticing pictures of fabulous auction items available for (as we like to say around here) people’s bidding pleasure. Upcycle video content you already have. Need more content ideas? Contact us – brainstorming is one of our FAVORITE things!
How do we engage donors and provide them a better virtual event experience? Say YES to Watch Parties, Incentives and Engagement Strategies!
Watch parties are, quite simply, a FANTASTIC idea. NPOs who have organized them for donors report very positive experiences. The concept is simple – get a small group together in someone’s home (make sure you’re adhering to current state guidelines regarding gatherings), enjoy a cocktail hour, then view and participate in the VG together – perhaps over a lovely meal. If you’ve never attended a watch party, you’ll be amazed at how much more fun VGs are to watch together with fellow supporters! Harnessing group energy, even on a smaller scale, does indeed kick the energy and excitement up a big notch. Some innovative partners had catering companies deliver food and drinks to their individual donors and group watch parties – another FANTASTIC idea. With shared food and drink in a shared environment, it really can feel like a microcosm of a live event. And for those of us who like to dress up, what a great excuse to put on something besides those boring old sweatpants you’ve been in for the past six months! You actually are GOING somewhere – safely and responsibly, of course.
There are other fun and relatively easy ways to get folks involved, engaged and ready-to-give during your VG. We love incentive drawings. Make people aware that if they give at a certain level, they’ll be entered into a drawing to win a prize. Or offer a chat-only incentive, where your chat cheerleader introduces an incentive in the live chat that ONLY folks who engage in the chat could possibly win. We recommend assigning a member from your org the (fun!) task of responding to and interacting with viewers watching live. We can’t overstate the impact this has on your entire program! Who doesn’t want to feel like their voices are being heard, whether it’s in-person or virtually? Your chat cheerleader is also there to help people with any questions they might have – routing them to answers about registration, how to give at the appeal, how to purchase raffle tickets, how to bid on online auction items. People ALWAYS have questions – this is a whole new world we’re in, after all! Don’t give anyone the chance to say, “Ah, forget it. I can’t figure this out. Guess I’ll go watch Netflix instead.”
What else can we do to increase our virtual fundraising earnings and success? Implement Concurrent Online or Peer-to-Peer Giving Campaigns, great graphics and fantastic visual imagery
Ever hear of peer-to-peer giving campaigns? It’s a type of crowdfunding, but instead of all donations going through ONE page, individuals start their OWN pages, then share them directly with friends and family members. More eyeballs=more potential donors! They’re quite effective at getting the word out about what your org is doing, as well. You can drum up even more excitement by incentivizing your peer-to-peer campaign – the individual pages that raise the most money, or the ones that entice the most donors, are entered into a drawing to win cool gifts as the organization’s thanks.
Other digital methods of support? Strategize an online giving campaign to run concurrently (or just before or after) with your VG, to ride the wave of momentum it creates. There are different ways to do this. Set up a donation page on your website that’s open to the public. Your supporters enter their credit card numbers to authorize a one-time payment – or better yet, a recurring monthly payment. There are also ways to set up online giving campaigns allowing folks to log in with their own special codes; hence, they’re not publicly accessible. We can help you determine which one best suits your unique fundraising needs. We can also put you in touch with fabulous software vendors who can make this process smooth and easy, even if technology is not your thing!
A final note to keep in mind, if your goal is to maximize engagement and giving (which of COURSE it is!): MAKE YOUR VG AS VISUAL AS POSSIBLE. To put yourself in the right mindset to accomplish this, try this exercise: If you were watching your livestream without sound, what would you want/need to see to be able to follow along and participate? Think full-screen graphics, lower-third graphics with pithy but informative captions, fast-paced video vignettes. Talking heads are boring after a while – if you have speakers, make that time more visual by covering part of the speech with video and/or graphics. Your virtual program will not be as long as your live program, so make every minute count. As for your script, make every word count. We can help!
Ready to start planning and marketing your Live Virtual Gala? Did you know, we are a ONE-STOP shop – our livestream team has EVERYTHING – yes, EVERYTHING – you need to pull this off and raise critical funds to keep your org solvent. It works! Reach out!