Fundraising Virtual Events Uncovered: why they work and 7 steps to organize one

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Posted on November 12, 2020

Motivated mainly by the reduction of resources that isolation caused among low-income communities, fundraising virtual events became huge.

Welfare institutions and several artists were willing to do live shows on their digital channels. In exchange, they asked for donations from the spectators.

At each new event, millions are collected virtually. This shows the reach of these tools and how it is possible to customize platforms to meet this new moment.

This is what happened with One World: Together at Home, organized by Lady Gaga last April. The event helped raise USD 35 million to fight COVID-19. Besides attracting an audience of 21 million people, philanthropists and corporations felt compelled to donate to the cause. Apple, for instance, made a contribution of USD 10 million alone.

Since then, online fundraising events have populated the internet almost every week. In times of commotion, it is normal for this to happen. But how do you keep the topic trending? And when the artists fill their schedules again, how can we attract the audience and make them aware of our causes, without the appeal of a celebrity?

At the end of this read, you’ll be able to identify and apply best practices when organizing virtual fundraising events.

7 steps to organize your virtual fundraising event

1. Start from here

Whatever fundraising event idea you choose, whether it’s an online auction or a raffle, what you mainly want to achieve is to motivate people to make a donation.

Producing and organizing any event requires a lot of responsibility and involvement from the organizers. When the event has an important task of helping others then, it demands an even better delivery.

Holding charity events is a beautiful way to help those in need. Still, in many cases, companies or entities end up using the terminology charity event to gain public sympathy and attract more fans. But in fact, they are common parties in that there is no beneficiary, except the investor of the event.

So, to start from, make sure your fundraising virtual events is a real defender of a cause and is passing a genuine message.

2. Back to the basics

First of all, you should be aware that organizing charity events will not be easy and will not happen overnight. This type of event requires well-structured planning and also a lot of work on the part of the organization.

First, choose your beneficiary. Secondly, understand the problem they are facing and identify solutions to help. It is the reason why the fundraising virtual event will exist and it can never be forgotten or abandoned.

In addition, if you do not own or belong to any entity or institution that has a certain recognition or even a negative image, you will encounter resistance from the public and this can harm your plans.

Therefore, if your institution is starting or is not well recognized yet, try to publicize the work is done and its main objectives well. This transparency will give you the confidence and credibility necessary to succeed in any organized event.

Also, virtual events are an excellent alternative for those chasing to raise funds. But be clear about the form of collection and how much of the funds collected will be really donated.

Those who donated have an expectation about the destination of their money. So, not complying with what was initially agreed can bring losses not only for your event but also for the brand you’re representing.

3. Set a goal for your fundraiser and chase for sponsors

To organize a successful virtual fundraiser, it is essential to have good partners and sponsors. In this way, most of the aspects of your virtual event can be sorted out with less financial costs. That is crucial since the charity event cannot spend much on its execution.

Run after partners who share the cause and are committed to your goal. It can be for renting space (in the case of a hybrid event), musical attractions, gifts, everything can be achieved through partnerships.

It is worth remembering, however, that every sponsorship seeks a counterpart, therefore, companies will have disclosure and some visibility at the event.

4. Define a target audience

For a charity event, it is essential to know which audience you want to reach and, on the other hand, with what objective you want to defend one or more causes.

When companies participate in the event, it is necessary to be attentive to the choice of the defended cause. It’ll have a better fit as long as it has to do with the mission ​​of the organization.

When defining the audience and the cause of the event, plan the objectives of the offer, and seek the correct goals throughout the organization to maintain a direct communication channel with the institution.

5. Choose a format

The task of organizing a charity event is not that simple. It is very important to organize the event very carefully and it is essential to focus on the main objective: profit. There is no point in having a fundraiser, investing, and in the end earning a lower return than investment or equal.

Make accurate calculations, have real perspectives, do not be deceived by false promises! Being realistic and being prepared to overcome some unforeseen issues are fundamental attributes for the organizer of this type of event!

If you’re completely new to virtual events, we recommend you to go through our The 2021 Perfect Guide for Virtual and Hybrid Events.

6. Set up your tools

To host a quality online fundraising event, you need to think beyond the content that will be covered. You need to think about audiovisual recording equipment!

Having good equipment to record your broadcast online is essential to make the audio, image resolution, and internet connection work properly so that nothing goes wrong.

7. Get Inspired

Now that virtual events have been mainstream for more than six months, we can get some lessons from case studies that worked out quite well. Inspire Hearts Fundraising, for example, was able to raise $600k in a virtual gala held on March 18.

More recently, we also had Ringo’s Big Birthday Show. The eternal drummer invited some friends and artists, including Paul McCartney, to celebrate his 80th birthday. It’s calculated that the event generated $ 1,500 per minute of live streaming to institutions such as Black Lives Matter Global Network and WaterAid.

Key takeaways

Fundraising virtual events are most common around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In that season, institutions need to finalize collections for the end of the year celebrations and to start the next year with a cash reserve.

However, there is no ideal time to hold this type of event, since all help is always welcome.

Furthermore, virtual is the future of fundraising. It will never replace face to face events. But, with time, every campaign will probably direct donors to make their contribution via online channels. Finally, making an in-person fundraiser in a hybrid format can increase the reach and therefore the amount donated.

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