Virtual fundraising events: Make them work for you
This year, more than all years, nonprofits have felt confusion and uncertainty about their events. From going virtual to the effects of moving in-person fundraisers online, the planning process for virtual fundraising and events may be new territory.
Determine your format
Virtual events are not one-size-fits-all. Webinars, forums, live streams, hybrid in-person/virtual—there are many formats to choose from. Think about how important it is to engage your audience. Is this an event that needs participation from the audience either by videocast or chat rooms? Is it OK to pre-record portions of the event and make other aspects of the event live?
Planning is all part of the process. But, if you’re new to virtual event planning, where do you start? Our free Virtual Fundraising Event Timeline was designed to get you started. Use this simple checklist to ensure you’re prepared when the time comes for your virtual event and that you’re ready to collect funds online through these events when the time comes.
A note on timing
The size of your virtual event will influence timing on promotion and communication. If, say, you’re turning a 10,000-person in-person event into an online, virtual event, you’ll need a lot more time in front of you to update attendees, promote the value of moving to a virtual event, etc. If your event is geared toward a few hundred people, virtual events don’t need to be promoted for nearly as long—a 2-month promotion window can do the job effectively to fill those virtual seats.
The planning process
While our Virtual Fundraising Event Timeline is a great start, each event is different. Some are small-scale with little additional items needed and some are large- scale with many moving parts. As you use the template to guide you, also think through:
- Your event goal(s) and budget
- Marketing and communication strategies that could include event hashtags, channels of distribution and any paid media
- Automated registration and email communication
- Hiring speakers, keynotes or virtual entertainers
- Ordering swag or determining if your virtual event will have a hands-on component such as lunch delivered to each attendee or a coffee gift card to use before logging
Planning a virtual fundraising event can be a lot of fun; don’t get overwhelmed by the process. Download our latest template to guide you and have fun along the way.