Inspiring Virtual Fundraising Ideas from Fellow Fundraisers
During this session, you’ll see innovative virtual fundraising ideas from a nonprofit who had to quickly adapt with limited resources.
Inspiring Virtual Fundraising Ideas from Fellow Fundraisers TranscriptPrint Transcript
Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you so much for joining our session today. We’ve got some great content lined up for you. But before we get started, I want to say how honored we are to be a Read More
Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you so much for joining our session today. We’ve got some great content lined up for you. But before we get started, I want to say how honored we are to be a premier sponsor of the DonorPerfect virtual conference. Can you give it’s been a long standing partner with donor imperfect and we appreciate and are inspired by the platform and programs DonorPerfect delivers. Thank you for your partnership and commitment to the nonprofit industry. We’re grateful to be a part of this event.
Today I’ll be sharing a session I like to call virtual reality. No, this is not a session on the innovative gaming technology like some of you may have hoped. This is a session on the current state of the event industry. And the virtual fundraising reality we’re living in today. COVID-19 has caused many long standing live events to be canceled, and has challenged us to think differently about how we fundraise. And today you’ll get a first hand account of how the Aged Care Foundation, a user of both q given DonorPerfect overcame these challenges to produce record breaking funds for their mission. For those of you who might haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Brendan Smith, and I’m the Vice President of Business Development at Q give. For the last 13 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the nonprofit industry, working closely with organizations, industry, thought leaders, consultants and other software providers to produce better fundraising results. My favorite nonprofits are those who are on the forefront of fundraising innovation, constantly pushing us as an industry to be better. One thing most people don’t know about me, and that’s actually very telling about the town I grew up in is that I was once hit by a squirrel while driving my car. It jumped right through my passenger window from whatever tree limb it was on and pummeled right into my ribcage. It was quite the experience. And there’s plenty more where that came from. If you ever want to grab a drink with me once we’re all meeting again.
Now that you know a little more about me, let’s dive right in. During today’s session, we’re going to explore virtual fundraising event trends that QBO has seen across our customer base in platform. We’ll take a closer look at BH care foundations virtual events success, and talk about one of my favorite subjects, the DonorPerfect integration with cue games. And now it saves countless hours of time and money on manual data entry, while helping you target various audience segments for more personalized donor communication.
Then we’ll hear from BH care Foundation’s Development Coordinator Danielle DeLong, on how her team made the switch to a virtual event and overcame the challenges they faced along the way. Afterward, we’ll do a quick recap of the key takeaways to help you stay ahead of these challenges. And last but not least, we’ll open up for a live q&a session.
Last month cube conducted a survey to get a better understanding of what actions our clients were taking to transition their annual fundraising efforts to a virtual environment, and most importantly, how they were engaging with their donor audiences while under social distancing orders. We saw some truly inspiring and unique ideas but all of them followed four common things. First, many organizations took steps to make the gift more tangible. storytelling through strong imagery is a long standing fundraising best practice. But we’re seeing nonprofits take this a step further by doing things like adding visuals to impact statements, or setting up a peer to peer storefront, so supporters can purchase products and goods. One client even use the qu store to create a virtual pantry where supporters could add food to their cart just like they were grocery shopping. They brought in over $350,000 through their store and other virtual campaigns. Others are using Amazon wishlist and storefronts to make the giving experience more tangible. donors and supporters can see exactly how they’re contributing without leaving their homes. This next one was probably the most common across all of our clients, fundraisers are taking the time to make more personal connections with their donors. Even though people can’t connect in person at live events, they still want to feel connected, connected to your cause connected to the community and to each other.
Some organizations are calling all of their donors not just those that meet certain criteria to thank them for their donations. Others are following up with handwritten notes, scheduling zoom get togethers, and one even conducted a t shirt gift campaign to deliver some happiness safely to their donors doorsteps. The third common theme we saw was how many organizations are reinventing their volunteer programs. A young lady involved with downtown rescue mission volunteered to do an online dance class on YouTube to help others in her community stay active. Girl Scouts of mountains to Midlands formed a mega virtual troops to keep girls engaged over the summer. The virtual troops volunteered as tech troubleshooters, admins and content experts to help others lead virtual activities.
And finally, the common thread that brought us here today nearly all of the customers we surveyed were reimagining their live events in a very innovative and clever way. From virtual dunk tanks where you can buy water balloons to serve the board members to online Easter egg hunts and virtual five K’s. The ideas that resulted from the challenges of social distancing has been inspirational. One of those
Inspirational organizations was BH Care Foundation. BH care provides care for folks who are struggling with mental health issues, substance use issues or domestic violence. They had a long standing annual Walk ride that their donors look forward to every year. It was a single day event where they would come together to walk a ride and raise money for BH cares mission. due to safety concerns presented by COVID-19. They canceled the live event and transitioned it into a two week virtual format where donors could go at their own pace.
They leveraged the key view of peer to peer system to keep participants engaged and clearly communicate with their supporters that even though the event had changed, their support was still important to raise vital funds for their mission. They hosted a virtual finish line on Zoom to highlight videos and images of runners and riders completing the race, and also included a message from their staff so that everyone felt like they were walking or riding together in spite of being apart. I’ll get into some of the details of what that looks like in a second. But what I want to highlight is that with a little reimagining BH care was able to challenge their supporters in a new way, and in turn raise their highest fundraising dollars to date. I’ve pulled some screenshots here from BH cares event page to highlight a few key things they did to promote the event and engage their audience. Here you can see their event homepage menu and Banner. What I like about this is how they clearly show the traditional walk ride is now a virtual event. Without reading anything on the page. I know that this was a biking and walking event. They also did a great job with their navigation and use one of their pages to highlight their major sponsors.
As you scroll and click around on the pages, you see they catered their message to the virtual setting and reminded their donors that even though they transitioned to a virtual event, their support makes a real difference. They also provided links to useful information about how their donors can participate. Here you can see they went a step further to provide a variety of suggestions to encourage participants to engage on social media, and a list of links to the right to make it easy. The cue gift peer to peer system even has a direct integration with Facebook fundraisers so you can sync your event page thermometer and updates with supporter activities driven on Facebook and the peer to peer platform.
One of my favorite parts is the suggested routes they provided on the event page by embedding ride with GPS.
There are many widgets like this out there, including Strava that you can embed into Cue give event pages to do something similar if you also have a walk or ride event. They also included a section on the homepage, where they highlighted why participants chose to ride or walk to inspire others. Through this widget and the participant highlights they created a sense of community so participants felt connected to other riders and walkers.
And is it really a peer to peer event without a little friendly competition. Using the keyboard Recent Activity widget BH care was able to spotlight their donors and participants automatically as new contributions and registrants rolled in. To celebrate the end of the two week event BH care hosted a virtual finish line where participants can gather to see images and videos of others completing their journeys. Here’s a brief clip.
Because they’re using our data plan, which grants them access to our integrations, all of the information BH care collected from participants and donors during the event was captured in two years and exported into their DonorPerfect CRM. This allowed them to automatically fill out donor profiles and giving history for their constituents. The integration is straightforward with just a few main steps, but there are a ton of customization options so you can be sure your data is flowing into DonorPerfect properly based on your different use cases and configuration on the back end of QBO. Setting up the integration is really simple. And our team in Help Desk documentation is there to help you every step of the way. You can easily configure the integration to map the data collected on QBO forms to the appropriate campaign or solicitation and DonorPerfect with a mapping interface you see here. For the more sophisticated setup. You can take things a step further and add deeper mappings for things like registration categories and store items, or even set up custom mappings between Standard or Custom Fields in either system.
So back to BH care. When transitioning to the virtual event, the BH care team was focused on providing a space to interact in a safe but fun way that encourage competition. Through to give they were able to challenge their supporters in a new way and allow them to set their own pace.
I’m sure many of you aren’t web designers and often need to make changes on the fly. BH Kerr found that the peer to peer event builder made it easy for them to quickly switch their live event page to a virtual format. The simple drag and drop capabilities of the system save them the time and money it would take to hire a designer or third party to help BH
Care also used to use peer to peer email campaign tool to communicate with segments of their donors and participants before, during and after the event. They targeted those who are registered and reached out leading up to the event to encourage participation in fundraising activity. Now that the event is over, they’re using cue given DonorPerfect to further segment their outreach and cultivation efforts through constant contact. And now through the end of the year to give integrations and advanced data tools are completely free, so that you can more easily leverage donor data and third party systems during a time when you need it most.
So what does this all mean? At the end of the event, BH care raised more money this year with their virtual event than they did with the live event last year. expenses were much lower without the spend on event signage and materials. And individual fundraising was much better because people were engaged for a longer timeframe. The result, less of the money raised went toward overhead and instead went directly toward their cause.
Daniel DeLong joined us ahead of the conference for an interview on the event and the steps her team took to overcome the challenges COVID-19 presented, here’s a recording of the interview. We hope it helps you understand how your organization can overcome these same challenges.
Yeah, great, Daniel.
I think we’d start off, we’d love to hear a little bit more about BH Care Foundation and your mission. Can you start there? Sure. BH care is really a regional nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive and integrated system of care for adults, children and families who are struggling with mental health issues, substance use issues or domestic violence. So we kind of have a lot of arms here. And really, BH care is interested in improving the lives and health of the individuals and families and the communities we serve. This specific event, like I said, that we’re speaking on today benefited the parent child Resource Center, which is a clinic, a licensed Child Guidance clinic that provides clinical and support services for children and families who are struggling with behavioral health issues. They really provide creative ways and therapy to aid children in school and kind of transitioning into a normal life. Maybe they come from trauma or some of our domestic violence cases, that specific event that we’re speaking on today, all the money raised, went to that program through BH care. And really BH cares, interested in caring for the community through all stages of life. So as you can see, we have clients as small as three, four and five. And we’re also transitioning older adults into the community from mental health issues or substance use issues. That’s great. Thank you for that overview. Can you tell us a little bit more and kind of walk us through the process of how you and your team really decided to convert your traditional single day walk to a two week ride event? Just kind of talk us through that if you don’t mind? Yeah, sure. So typically, we have a one day in person event, as you know, it is a rod and walk it It started out as a rod and then kind of evolved into a walk over the last couple years. But for us, the most important thing was to just really build an event that worked under the current environment. We knew, you know, we were on the fence about whether we should hold this event or not. We had budgeted about 100 grand from this event to go to this clinic for this fiscal year. So we knew that we had to raise a significant amount of money. But for us, the most important thing was to build an event that worked under the current environment, we didn’t really approach it believing we needed to do exactly what we always do, I roll out the event, we just develop the virtual event is that the live event format really didn’t matter. We knew that a week or two week timeframe would really afford people an opportunity to participate. At that time, when we transition things we’re just kind of developing with COVID and kind of quarantine. So we tried to make it where personal schedule conflicts could be worked around and a space was really created for everybody to participate. It also the two week timeframe really helped for early participants to be able to encourage, you know, later arrivals through their accomplishments, anybody who registered updating their personal fundraising page through QBO, they could still get supportive family and friends throughout the week or two week event. So one thing that made it especially nice was that we really didn’t have to hope and pray for nice weather. With a lot of it, you’re always afraid it might rain or be too humid. And with a real two week timeframe, the risk of losing events, Mother Nature was really eliminated. And we felt that a two week timeframe would give us enough enough time to really raise a significant amount of money and kind of spread the word. Yeah, that’s that’s great. And you know, as you made that transition for your existing donor audience and kind of the normal participants, how did they respond to that new format and just as importantly, how did you keep them engaged given the the social
Yeah, so I feel like first, I have to say we have wonderful donors who are engaged in this calls. We have a private sector, like fundraising committee that’s chaired by an individual named Tom Haines. And they’re absolutely incredible. They really built a foundation of wonderful supporters. It’s kind of a, an event that these the same people look forward to every year. I think for us, it was very important to continue to communicate the law, our supporters know that what they do is vital, and their contributions make a real difference, the format, we just adjusted to the Tom’s and because we couldn’t be together in person, you know, we still wanted people to have a place to interact in a safe, but fun way. And we tried to really create a format that allowed for a little competition. So but you know, the the beauty about this was, you set the goal, you set the pace, you can, you know, you can pledge to walk 20 miles in a two week period, and you can break it up a mile a day, two miles a day, hey, I walk for BH care, I rode 20 miles for BH care today. And I think just as far as keeping them engaged, I think one thing we really learned is you just cannot go solid, you know, for two weeks, even leading up to the two weeks, I mean, communication was just everything and touching them several times with, you know, emails through cue, give or Constant Contact emails and social media, I think it really forced us to be better at the way we set up our website or event website through que give and, you know, just very simple instructions and very easy to register, easy to donate. And I think just really keeping the communication going was so important. And it really forced us to be better at that. Yeah, I love the concept of really challenging your supporters. Speaking of challenges, I’m sure this wasn’t, didn’t go off without a hitch. Right. So what were some of those challenges that you had transitioning to this virtual format? And how did you work to overcome them with your supporters? So I felt like everything, you know, I as far as to give, I feel like you give this very easy user friendly. So you know, we had this whole advanced setup for a lot in person event, and the website was built for that. And so kind of the last minute, we kind of had to add all that and move event builder makes it easy to to redo the format. So the platform that hosts the event is easy to follow. But I think we had to re think really what we offered. Our biggest challenge was what we offer to sponsors and our supporters, you know, we had to make the event fun without bringing people together. And we really had to give value to our sponsors, without traditional signage, and all on location, exposure. So in these areas, we basically rebuilt from the bottom of us, instead of trying to really emulate what we had done prior. So we really had to offer sponsors value in social media post or your logo on cubias or your logo on the homepage, I mean that that part was really hard for us because all the value to sponsors was virtual, and there is no signage. And so that was a really big challenge for us. And like I said earlier, I think just communication and touching the supporter in the donor several times and really saying, Hey, we’re still here. As you guys know, there was so much going on during this. I mean, I felt like the world was literally on fire when all of this was going on. So it’s like COVID kind of got pushed to the backburner. But I still think that people are looking for positivity as far as
you know, we want it to be the positive touch all the time. So I think just not going solid. And really, even I felt like you get really makes it easy for you to go in. And you know, anybody who’s registered for the event, you can say, you know, we would go in and we would send emails every couple of days to our participants that have registered so far. Have you set your goal? If you haven’t, what is your goal challenge your family and friends. So I think touching them several times, and cube makes that very easy. So we love that. Thank you for that. Yeah, I agree that especially in these times when we’re not coming together in person communication is a huge component to any organization’s mission.
So in addition to those things that you’ve mentioned, how often can you get the kingdom system specifically help you and your team accomplish the goal that you set out for yourself?
Yeah, so I have a couple of notes here. I’m a big queue get belabor. So you’re talking to the right person. Because for me, somebody who doesn’t have you know, website design experience and all that kind of stuff. I felt like you know, starting from the beginning with event builder and transitioning from a website that was geared towards an in person event to a virtual event builder just makes it very easy. And I think, you know, start
right in front of beginning, the very first thing I did was reached out to you guys and say, Hey, what are some examples of pages that you know, that are holding virtual events right now, and you guys sent those right over? And I think that, you know, looking at those and we looked at those and said, Hey, we like this and this is more simple. And, you know, we wanted it to be very, very simple for the donor and supporter to go register donate any frequently asked questions were very, very easy to locate, I think being completely virtual forced us to just be better at all this. And and we felt like Q give is very easy to process donations. And we felt like, you know, as you guys know, the more steps that a donor has to complete to donate, the less likely they are to complete the donation. So we felt like queue give really is very easy and pulling reports, you know, for something as easy as, okay, we’re a week into this event, we need to pull a report of incomplete registrations and push those people to, you know, complete their registration. And by that you’re getting you know, 20 and 25 people who are like, Oh, I forgot to complete my registration. So if you give makes that really easy. And honestly, I have to call out Q give on this, but customer service. I mean, there you guys know, there’s so many times throughout this two weeks, I just said, Hey, can you guys throw a PDF up there for me because I can’t get it. And it was always such a quick response. And no one ever hesitated to help me. So I feel like as far as a whole in on the backhand, there were several things that you give system, you know, helped really, to maintain this event?
Well, we appreciate that feedback. And our
customer service team is pretty great at being responsive.
Yeah, yeah, they really are.
So how are you using the information that you collected from the event in DonorPerfect. Um, so another thing few gifts system, I feel like is very efficient. And you know, really with the click of a button, you can manually send over that information to DonorPerfect. So in a little less than two months, we were able to process over 200 donor transactions on cue, give and really migrate the information in the DonorPerfect to fill out donor profiles, and their giving history, that integration has saved a lot of time on data entry, of course, and like I said, you can just manually send over the information and for that event, this is what we did. We sent it over in batches. And it’s really just, it saves so much time and just data entry. And as you know, I mean, as a small nonprofit, anything helps you know, you end up doing all kinds of stuff, you’re you might not be a data entry person, but you end up doing data entry. So really, that click of a button. Integration is great.
Yeah, I’m sure you and your other team members are wearing a lot of hats we certainly understand patients needs.
So now that you have that data in a usable format, in DonorPerfect, how are you planning to follow up with those donors and participants? With the event coming to a conclusion?
Yeah, so you know, with the information we’ve collected during cue, give and to DonorPerfect integration, we’re a we’re we’re really a able to easily segment our donors and participants to send them follow up thank yous.
And really, in addition to this, you know, we will be able to cultivate those relationships even further based on their participation in the event to draw, you know, reoccurring donations and registrations in the future. So the integration through cue given DonorPerfect make it make it very easy.
Yeah, and I think that’s, that’s a key component. Yeah. What do you do with these new donors after the fact so glad to hear that you’re able to cultivate those relationships?
So obviously, you’ve seen some great results with this event and other fundraising you’ve been doing? Do you think, you know, based on your experience with this transition to a virtual event? Do you think it’d be hosting another similar or another style of virtual events?
I think it’s definitely shows us that, you know, ironically, we raised more money this year than we did last year, our expenses were a lot lower. Our individual fundraising was better this year. And so I think the things we’ve learned will continue to be incorporated in future events. And I think that possibilities always open.
That even if these events go back to be alive, which we’re hopeful I think having a virtual component will only expand our participation. And I think like I said earlier, it forced us to be better at
everything. It forces us to be better at, you know, staying in touch and staying in constant communication with our our participants and our donors, and it forced us to be better at building a more
simplistic website and, you know, really outlining on frequently asked questions and we wanted it to be everybody was on their computer, right. So like, we wanted everybody to be able to just go to our Q give site, it be very, very easy to navigate, and really tell our bond and tell people that the impact was still real, you know, and so yeah, I think having a virtual component will will only expand, you know, anything if these, these bands go back lab, so
I couldn’t agree more, I think you nailed it when talking about that silver lining, essentially, of organizations really having to refine these processes and focus on on communication and focus on a new way of fundraising in the virtual world that we’re living. So obviously, with that said, there are still a lot of organizations who are very hesitant, or really scared out of their minds to make that transition that you all have so gracefully made to a virtual event from a more traditional style event. What advice would you give to those organizations small or large, when they’re considering switching to a virtual version of their event?
Yeah, so I think I mean, just reflecting back on the last couple months, I think COVID has really reminded us that the only thing constant is change, you know, so I think every day, you know, even working at BH care, and with the reality, you know, you either get better or worse, because nothing stays the same in our environment. So, I mean, my advice is to really, you know, first reach out to others who have gone before you. So one of the very first things I did was reach out to you guys and say, Hey, who’s doing what right now? You know, what is working? What have you seen, can you send me some pages that
are doing virtual events right now, and we really sat down and what we liked and what we didn’t like, and,
and lean on you guys, you know, and I think that,
you know, things may not always go as you hope, but you’re guaranteed to get left behind, if you can’t take the risk. I mean, we really had a choice, you know, we were either not going to do the event, or we were going to try to do this thing virtually. And it really, really worked out. And
I just think to delegating, you know, social media, and everything with the website alone is just a huge mounting task. And I think it’s important to to just really just, yes, if you have a team, I know a lot of nonprofits really don’t are a one a one man show.
But you know, really just delegate tasks to your team, and maybe somebody responsible for sending out the cue give emails, or posting on social media dailies so important not to go silent. And, um, you know, you really do have to work on keeping a momentum of for two weeks. But yeah, I would, you know, get outside of your comfort zone in order to keep pace, you know, and reach out to resources, and cube gives a great one. You guys are always, you know,
right on the ball when I say can you tell me what other people are doing? Can you send me other examples of pages? And it’s always, it’s always so helpful. And so really just rely on your resources and get out of your comfort zone? Yeah.
I love that.
Well, that that was really the the end of the few questions that we had for you, we really appreciate you sharing your experience with Q give and making this transition to a virtual event. Was there anything else Daniel, that you’d like to add? In closing?
No, I mean, you know, I just, I feel like you give is just so user friendly for somebody like me. And I feel like it has made it easy for us to implement things on our website and build our website and constantly go in and update it. And I feel like it’s, you know, I know that Jessica brought out some of the highlights that stood out to you guys about the social media things we put on there, and the fundraising tips and the social media tips. And I think all of that is so important, I feel like you gave just really
makes it simplistic for the average person that really doesn’t have that experience. So
you know, it’s not a huge learning curve. And you guys are always there, you know, for my 100 million questions. So
I’m glad. I’m glad we can be there for you. And I’m glad we’re we’re hitting the mark, because that’s certainly the intention. I think that wraps it up. Daniel, thank you so much. Again, I really do appreciate your time and looking forward to continuing to work with with you all at BH care. In summary, I want to leave you all with a few takeaways.
First, communicate the way there’s a lot of noise out there. So make it simple and easy for your donors and supporters to understand how they’re making an impact on your cause. Why should they care? Why should they donate? Why should they
participate in your event. It may be obvious to you, but you live it every single day. Remind them over and over how important they and their contributions are.
Second, don’t replicate innovate.
When you’re looking at transitioning your annual event to a virtual format, don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. What you did in the live setting may not resonate with your virtual supporters. Don’t be afraid to scrap your original plans and start over with your team. You may be pleasantly surprised by how it pushes you to be better.
And use your resources. brainstorm with your team reach out to your colleagues and vendors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone’s going through a similar challenge right now. And someone else may suggest something that inspires your next big idea. And one of our favorite ACU give, throw spaghetti at the wall. This is an exercise we do acuity of a lot when we’re planning our programs. We pull key stakeholders in a room for a brainstorming session, we have a goal in mind and we start to ask questions, what’s working, what’s not working? How do we get to where we want to be. And from there, we move it into an open forum for people to throw out thoughts and ideas. There are no right or wrong answers. We write all of those down on a whiteboard. And then we talk about them to see what sticks just like you do in cooking spaghetti.
Something Daniels specifically called out in your interview was that you should always be open to the challenge. One thing is for sure, this has forced us all to be better, more savvy, more flexible, and more open to new ideas. Now is definitely not the time to hang your head or disappear. With every challenge comes new opportunity. Without the overhead of live events, you have the opportunity to raise even more for your cause and directly impact your mission. And finally, I can’t stress this one enough communicate.
This may seem obvious to some, but it’s so important to not go silent right now. Your supporters want to hear from you. And like BH Care Foundation, you may be the positive voice they need in this time. To help you get through your virtual event challenges. We offer a comprehensive suite of powerful online fundraising tools including donation forms, event registration, text, fundraising and messaging, peer to peer fundraising, and auctions with mobile bidding.
We’ve built time saving integrations with DonorPerfect and other CRMs as well as email automation tools. So you can easily export your donor data from cue give into the third party systems you use to cultivate donor relationships, and send out segmented communications. So that’s it. That’s what we wanted to leave you all with. I hope you enjoyed the session today. If you have any fundraising needs that you’d like to discuss with us, please let us know. We’re here to help. We’re looking forward to answering any questions you all have in the q&a session after this. Thank you so much for your time and attention.Read Less
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