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How to Host a Successful Virtual Fundraiser in 2020

This year has been hard on nonprofits and charitable organizations, especially those that rely on big annual fundraising events or smaller moments throughout the year to keep their lights on. Before 2020, event teams would be booking event venues and planning a run of shows for a captive, in-person audience. Today, it’s a little different. The good news? There is still a lot of opportunity and with some creativity, fundraisers can be big successes in a virtual forum.

We’ve seen this shift in real time and helped a number of clients hit goals, even in this wild year. So, here are some tips on how to make it happen (hint: it’s not as easy as scheduling a Zoom meeting). 

Plan ahead…months ahead.

Get the ball rolling at least a full quarter before your virtual fundraiser. With lots of input, especially for large non-profits, for example, three to four months gives you time to check in with trustees and committee members, and get all your ducks in a row. Creating a shared document that outlines timeline and milestones is an awesome way to keep everyone aligned. This helps the flow of marketing assets being created and approved in a timely manner, and keeps the event agenda on track. 

Choose the right streaming platform and tech.

Not all platforms are created equal. You need a hard wired, high speed connection, and a professional behind-the-scenes tech team that is in contact with the event planners constantly. Having a live chat is paramount – this allows real time troubleshooting if less tech-savvy auction bidders, for example, need help. 

Engage the viewer the whole time (and especially the first two minutes)

In virtual fundraising, it’s more imperative to have content ready to keep attendees interested and with ‘Zoom fatigue’ being a genuine phenomenon, it takes creativity to stand out. How? Engaging speakers, Q&As when relevant, communication around how a non-profit or organization is going strong through these turbulent times, and other creatieve programming. It all helps.  

Throw in a celeb! 

Ok, we know it’s not as easy as that, but that’s where strong event planners come in, who have connections. Galas are special when there’s a memorable performance, and it gives attendees a reason to stick around. Of course, if that celeb can help promote the event in advance, you’ll grow your audience and brand awareness, too.

Interested in getting more specific for your organization? Drop us a note

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