How to run a virtual fundraising event

Have you ever planned a fundraising event? Or are you planning to organize a virtual fundraiser now? In the book, The Richest Man in Babylon, George Clayson speaks about giving one-tenth of your income back to the people.

However, when you want to start a virtual fundraising event on a large scale, you will need real event management planning to help you run and manage something that big!

If you are here reading this, you are already a step closer to planning one of the best fundraising events for your audience. However, before that, let’s understand what a fundraising event is.

As the name suggests, a fundraising event is organized to raise funds for a particular cause. The fundamental goal of your event is to meet the financial target determined by the organization.

Many organizations organize fundraising events for a particular cause that they wish to support. This can be single or multiple causes. These events are scheduled to raise funds mainly towards a social cause. In this event, you will be inviting donors from all across the world who believe in a particular cause and are willing to donate funds towards it.

A virtual fundraising event is an event that is held virtually. This event happens at a particular venue and is then live-streamed for a selected audience worldwide on a common live-streaming platform.

After the pandemic, event companies had to pause their operation for a while. Eventually, people had the option of attending an event online due to constraints on the number of people at a physical venue, and they began to like this.

Virtual events give people the freedom to attend fundraising events from anywhere in the world. Moreover, if they miss an event, they can watch the event’s recording on the concerned platform. Many people may not find the time to attend an event; they can then watch the recording on the concerned site.

Below we will dig deeper into this topic and discuss how to make the best out of the resources available, attract more people to your event and bring you closer to achieve the goals you’ve set for your mission.

Determine the purpose of your virtual event: The 1st step to planning your event is to know your mission and what you want to be working on. After this, write down what you want to achieve by organizing this event and your mission’s specific cause for that you need help.

You started this mission because you believe in it. It is hence necessary to know and remember your mission. Once that is done, your next job is to communicate this mission and the cause you want to support your audience. Speaking about your mission with your audience will help your audience understand your purpose better, which will inspire them to be a part of it.

Set a fundraising goal

Once you have a precise knowledge of your mission, your cause, and what you want to achieve by organizing your virtual fundraising event, your next step is to set a financial target that you want to accomplish through this event. Your primary focus should be on the event’s purpose. You can also have a leaderboard to motivate your participants to continue donating.

Make your audience clear about your financial goals and create a sense of urgency for raising funds at the event.

You can also offer your audience perks for donations made by them. Announcing the names of your highest donors can also help drive in more funds from the other members.

Give your audience the option of making payment from more than one mode; so that if one doesn’t work, the other one can. In this way, you can ensure continuity in the transaction process.

Determine the budget to make a virtual fundraiser

An organization usually requires a lesser amount of investment to host a virtual fundraiser than an in-person event. However, it still has several other expenses that have to be borne. While planning your budget, make a list of the costs you are bound to incur while organizing the event. These costs can include your marketing costs, the cost of the live streaming platform, etc. Also, plan a specific amount that you will likely need in case of any emergency.

Create a reasonable budget, keeping in mind these factors and stick to it to avoid any additional expense.

The target audience for your virtual fundraising event

It is always essential to determine your target audience before going ahead with any promotional activity. Invest some amount initially to try out your best campaigns with a different set of audiences. Investing a good amount initially to identify your audience will help you save on massive amounts during the main promotion. It will help you understand who your audience is and how they think and behave. This, in turn, will help you come up with campaigns that will help you convert your audience to leads and eventually your final audience.

In the case of a virtual fundraising event, your audience will mostly consist of donors for your cause. You can also contact individual donors via mail or social media, or you could personally schedule a meet up with them and invite them to your virtual fundraising event.

Plan a virtual fundraising event

Once you’ve set your budget and determined your target audience attending your event, your next step is to choose what your event will comprise. Who your speaker will be, for how long you want your event to be, what you want to add to your schedule, quizzes, games and other activities, etc.?

While it is unnecessary to make a full schedule at this stage because your order will keep changing until your test-rehearsal days, it is crucial to have a base idea of what your virtual fundraising event will likely comprise.

Find the best live-streaming platform.

Just like a physical event, you have to find a place to host your virtual event. Your virtual platform or your live-streaming platform is the place where you will have all your audience gathered in one place.

Your live-streaming platform has to be designed in a manner that is engaging to your audience. Your virtual fundraising event is an excellent place for people to network with each other—plan for activities to keep your audience on their toes. Organize quizzes and QnA’s, and most importantly, have a chat section where your audience can communicate with each other.

Many companies give out a demo of their platforms, so you can try out different platforms and see what will serve you the best.

How to market your virtual event

People should be talking about your event everywhere. You can use email marketing, social media, paid ads, etc., to reach out to people worldwide. Spreading your event’s word is crucial and needs to be done continuously before your event’s primary day.

Following are a few tips to create a convertible fundraising campaign.

  • Create attractive graphics that will make a person stop scrolling when they come across your ad.
  • The first thing that anybody reads in a copy is the first line itself. Your first line has to be catchy, relatable, and easy to read.
  • Remember that you are virtually giving out a message to humans on the other side of the screen. Tell a story in the next part of it. You can even speak about how the idea of this mission came to you (also, remember to keep it short and digestible and not drag your story)
  • Speak about your mission, your vision.
  • You can also create attractive videos about your event. Videos tend to perform better than pictures for ads on social media platforms.
  • Take advice: take advice from your team. You can even have an idea brainstorm session with your team and write down all of them no matter how crazy it sounds. Allow a safe space for creativity to flow in here.
  • Come up with a good theme or a title for your event. The brainstorm session will help you big time here.
  • Encourage your team to promote the event on their social media platforms and share it with their family and friends.
  • Giveaways are the most happening thing on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Giveaways help increase content reach and engagement.

Sales of virtual event

After choosing the platform to host your virtual fundraising event, choose a topic or a theme that aligns with your mission. Keep in mind the following while planning the sales of your event.

  • Optimize your landing page so that when your audience lends on it, they have exactly one call to action. Having one call to action will help direct your audience to do exactly one thing.
  • Retarget your audience
  • Be consistent with your promotions.
  • Your audience will comprise the domestic and international audience; hence, ensure that you have mentioned the correct date and time to host your event to avoid any confusion.
  • Send email reminders about your event
  • People should be talking about your event, hence coming up with creative copies and advertisements to make your event stuck in their minds.

Test – run a virtual fundraiser.

Like it is always said, “better to be safe than sorry, always!” It is essential to run one or two trial sessions of the entire event before the primary day. This is to identify technical issues, find solutions for the same, and avoid any last-minute hassle during the main event. This test run will help everyone involved in the event, such as your teammates. The speakers know what each of them is required to do during the main event.

A virtual event is still an event, and there is always a possibility that something in the event might not go according to the plan. In this case, you have to try and be more flexible if any last-minute changes.

All your audience may not find it easy to go about with the virtual platform, so you can even have a virtual assistant to guide them to go about the live-streaming platform. It is also essential to have a virtual moderator look over the chat section and see if anyone from the audience has a question regarding the event.

Although this will be a virtual fundraising event, you must give your audience priority and attend to their queries. After all, this audience will be investing in your vision and mission, and you must make them all feel heard and known.

Ensure that your speakers know what they are going to talk about to avoid prolonging the event. In the end, upload a recording of your event so that the ones who missed it can watch it later.

Bonus Tip

Here is a bonus hint for you to remember while planning your event. In his book “The Business School – second edition,” Robert Kiyosaki speaks about how good education can influence how a person thinks. But how is education related to fundraising, you may ask? 

Well, at your event, you are going to speak to an audience, many of whom you will be communicating with for the first time. You will be talking to a virtual room full of live audiences about something you are passionate about. When you speak to them, you won’t be cold pitching your goal. Instead, you are first educating them about the cause and why you believe in it.

When you do this, you are doing two things simultaneously; one is that you educate your audience about your cause, and the second is that you help them understand your mission and help them be a part of it.

Inference

Virtual fundraising events have become a new normal as more and more companies have begun opting for this event. Like a physical event, to have a successful virtual fundraiser also requires a team of people to run well. The blueprint mentioned above can help you plan your virtual fundraising event well. Finally, while going about your virtual fundraising event, you should also ensure that your audience is having a good time virtually.