COVID-19 has brought incredible challenges to nonprofit organizations that rely on fundraising events to engage donors and boost donations. Recently Darryl Moser, DonorPerfect’s Business Development Manager, met with Lucretia Gilbert, Principal & Founder of The Philanthropy Advantage, Matt McDermott, Director of Client Engagement at GiveCloud, and Mike Mulqueen, CEO of Givebee (the technology behind DPText) to discuss how to take your next event virtual. In the webinar entitled Take Your Virtual Event to the Next Level, the group explored different types of virtual events and how to manage them.
What follows is a summary of this informative webinar and some resources you can use to plan and manage a successful virtual fundraising event for your organization.
What You Will Learn
Our panelist each shared their perspective on some tools and strategies to make your virtual fundraising event successful. Here’s what each panelist shared:
Mike Mulqueen, CEO of GiveBee (technology that drives DP Text)
As CEO of GiveBee, Mike helps nonprofits harness the power of texting to transform their virtual fundraising events into engaging, revenue-boosting opportunities. Darryl (on behalf of Mike, who had an emergency that morning) shared these tips when it comes to integrating texting into your events:
- Donors expect some level of texting as a way to participate in your event – whether it’s virtual or in-person. Choose an easy-to-spell keyword for supporters to text-to-donate and connect to your event.
- Make a plan to use text marketing before, during, and after your event and in conjunction with other event communications.
- Before your event, take advantage of texting’s excellent response rate to build event excitement. You can share event news and updates, ask attendees to bring a friend, and send text reminders to countdown event happenings.
- During your event, encourage supporters to donate or make pledges via text that will integrate with DonorPerfect and instantly register on your giving thermometer.
- Following your event, text supporters to thank them for participating, to promote your next event, and to ask them to follow you on social media.
- Beyond your event, texting is a great tool to help your organization navigate the challenges of COVID with supporters by sharing program information, connecting with new staff, and recruiting volunteers.
Matt McDermott, Director of Client Engagement GiveCloud)
As GiveCloud’s Direct of Client Engagement, Matt has seen how nonprofits struggle with multiple platforms to pull off their virtual fundraising events. With Virtual Events by GiveCloud, an events tool that seamlessly integrates with DonorPerfect, Matt shares how you can create an all-in-one fundraising page for supporters to watch, give, engage, celebrate, connect and share your virtual event in just a few minutes. Matt shared these tips:
- Expand the reach of any fundraising event by live-streaming it globally through your event page. GiveCloud supports YouTube, Vimeo and will soon support Zoom and other streaming services.
- Generate momentum by accepting payments directly during your broadcast. Plus, every donation that goes through your Give Cloud event page will be instantly synched to DonorPerfect in real-time.
- Create excitement with a live ticker, progress bar, and animated confetti that celebrates when you meet certain donation thresholds.
- Drive engagement by enabling a live chat feature and encouraging supporters to use emoji reactions on your event page.
Lucretia Gilbert, Principal & Founder of The Philanthropy Advantage
Lucretia Gilbert serves as the Principal & Founder of The Philanthropy Advantage, a high-impact philanthropy consulting firm that provides strategy and implementation support for nonprofits, private foundations, individuals, and corporations. As an experienced virtual event consultant who has raised over $10M in virtual events in 2020, Lucretia shared many fantastic event best practices during our webinar.
Planning Your Virtual Fundraising Event
- When you take time to determine your virtual event revenue goals and expense budget, other factors, like if your event is free and ticketed, will fall into place. It will also determine which revenue streams are the best choices for your event.
- Put yourself in your donor’s shoes. What is the process for them to donate during your virtual fundraising event? Will they have a “donate now” button on the live event page? Can they donate via text? These decisions will drive the type of virtual fundraising event platform you want to select.
Virtual Fundraising Event Format + Content
- The key to a great virtual event is to have a range of content that keeps donors engaged and brings your mission to life.
- Capture the spirit of an in-person event by offering many ways for donors to interact with you during the event.
- Pre-taped events allow you to determine content ahead of time and avoid pitfalls like well-meaning board members that run over their allotted time and internet outages for event performers/hosts.
- Keep your event length to no more than 45 minutes. If using a pre-recorded video, build in additional time for people to log in by including slides or a countdown clock until your event’s start time.
- Expect to spend about 20% more time on donor outreach. Phone calls are a great way to help donors understand your virtual event and get them to purchase tickets.
- Save time and creatively repackage content that you already have in your organization to use during your event. Do you have a video you shared on social media or a human interest story from your Giving Tuesday campaign? Use it again during your event.
For more fundraising advice and virtual event strategy from Lucretia Gilbert, please visit philanthropyadvantage.com.
Who Should Watch
Don’t plan a virtual event that is a stripped-down version of your in-person events! If you’d like to learn how to take your virtual event to the next level, we recommend this webinar to:
- Executive Directors
- Development Directors and Staff
- Event Coordinators
Take Your Virtual Event to the Next Level
March 24, 2021
Additional Virtual Event Resources
Check out these related resources to help you plan and manage your next virtual event: