The Transition to 100% Virtual: Fundraising In a Time Where Live Events Are Postponed

by Cameron Ripley  |   |  Fundraising  |  0 comments

4 min to read ✭ In this post, you’ll learn how you can transition your live events into 100% virtual fundraisers.

Events are getting postponed, or worse, they’re getting canceled. The reality is that for a part of the foreseeable future, there will be no plays, no museum exhibitions, no galas, no fundraising auctions or essentially any other in-person event that your nonprofit might have been working hard to put on. 

While the circumstances are unfortunate, it is important to remember that you are not alone in this. In fact, despite the trying times of self-quarantine and social distancing, the last thing you are is alone. 

We get it-you are uncertain about what is in store for your nonprofit if you can’t fundraise through the key events that have historically stood out for your organization. Well, we are here to tell you that the transition to 100% digital can be a good thing. Considering how much attention has already increased on phones, emails, laptops, on virtually anything digital recently-this is a really good thing. 

Read below to learn about some of our tips and tricks on how to manage fundraising amidst the transition to 100% virtual.


1. Leverage Technology

Leverage technology and be creative with it. Consider how social media or other virtual platforms can serve as temporary alternatives to in-person gatherings. Get online with webinars, virtual events, and even online auctions. Don’t be averse to utilizing digital platforms that you may not have used in the past or wouldn’t think twice about on a regular given day. 

People’s attention is online now more than ever, so your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts should have a strong goal in utilizing social media and digital marketing, as well as leveraging available technologies. It’s time to get creative with it. Follow in creative suit with world-class museums like the Guggenheim in New York City or the Musée d’Orsay in Paris as they offer online tours and exhibits.

It’s thought-leadership like this that will set your organization apart from others. We also have smaller science center partners offering online learning for teachers, parents, and children. Get creative.


2. Focus on Donor Engagement and Retention

This is not the time to focus only on new fundraising sources and leave your donors and ticket buyers high and dry. Show them some extra appreciation. 

Create a game plan for the long run by creating new ways to communicate with your supporters through digital avenues or hand-written methods. This can include anything from a short video acknowledgment to a phone call or even a hand-written note. 

With people spending more time at home, you can be sure of two things: their attention is online and they’ll definitely be home to receive your letter.


3. Get Creative with New Prospecting Techniques

Utilize new prospecting techniques to recruit new followers and supporters. Have you been thinking about utilizing conversion design elements like pop-ups or smart bars on your nonprofit’s website but held off because you “didn’t have time to think about it”? Now’s the perfect time to try out new techniques in prospecting and recruiting new supporters. This could be from anything from your messaging to the type of outreach. 

The worst thing you could be doing is NOT trying out different methods. Nobody has fully been in this situation before either-we’re all figuring it out together. 


4. When in Doubt, Be Transparent

If you’re canceling an event, send out an email with more detail than an apology for canceling or postponing your scheduled event amidst the coronavirus outbreak. Think of it as an apology with an ask. 

Be sure to remind the sponsors and attendees that your mission isn’t canceled even if your event is. 

How would the potential funds raised from your event have impacted the people you serve? Hone in on that. Share that. Be clear about your organization’s why-why you’re doing what you’re doing and why your beneficiaries have a need for the services and programs your organization provides.

Don’t be shy and let your supporters know the part they could play in pushing your mission forward. 

Cameron Ripley

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