COVID-19 is shaking the way that nonprofit organizations connect with donors, engage fundraising prospects, and reach goals. Many organizations depend on face-to-face fundraising events to elicit financial support and build relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging these nonprofits to rethink the way they drive donations, define success, and host fundraising events moving forward.
By definition, virtual fundraising events are online gatherings that allow an organization to connect with people remotely instead of in-person.
Some organizations see leveraging virtual fundraising events as an opportunity and a positive step towards the future, while others struggle to adapt.
If implemented strategically, virtual fundraising events offer nonprofits a way to keep donors and prospects safe, drive donations, and impact the bottom line. The success of virtual events depends on many factors, but there are a few best practices that organizations can leverage to drive value. Here are 4.
Successful fundraising events are built with vision, whether they are virtual or not. In order to deploy a successful virtual event strategy, it is crucial for nonprofits to define success and objectives. Outlining these desired campaign outcomes will help an organization to define it’s “why”.
Creating a successful virtual fundraising event becomes much clearer once an organization can identify its “why” and build a plan around it. The vision that a nonprofit has for its virtual events should determine the process used to achieve it, the technology to support it, and metrics to measure it.
It is easy for fundraisers to become overwhelmed with all the technology solutions available to support virtual events. Because of this, fundraisers should only look for technology partners that have features in place to support their nonprofits vision. Nonprofits, with successful virtual event strategies, partner with technology providers that offer feature-sets aligning with their unique vision.
Using tools should streamline an organization’s ability to host successful online events and positively influence success. Studies have shown that 50% of donors prefer to be able to give via credit card or debit card vs other donation methods. This is just one of many statistics that demonstrate how online giving functionality can impact success. When identifying and implementing tools, organizations need to focus on creating a convenient experience for donors. Virtual fundraising events are meant to make the experience of giving as easy as possible.
Here are a few top-rated fundraising & P2P tools for nonprofits:
Some organizations forget to leverage one of their most valuable supporter groups when implementing virtual fundraising events. Many studies, including one performed by Fidelity Charitable, show that volunteers are more likely to support organizations financially than people that do not volunteer.
In fact, the Fidelity Charitable study found that 79% of financial donors also volunteer. With COVID-19 lockdowns and regulations impeding volunteer programs, nonprofits should use fundraising events to keep volunteers involved and provide them with an avenue to give.
Inviting volunteers to virtual fundraising events can also impact nonprofits fundraising success. Studies have shown that volunteers donate up to 10 times more than their non-volunteer counterparts.
Focusing on the relationship between volunteers and donors is something that nonprofits should be investing in year-round. There are tools available that organizations can use to bridge the gap between volunteers and donors and cross-pollinate.
One of those tools is VolunteerHub. Nonprofits are using VolunteerHub to create an integration between their volunteer database and donor management system, exposing actionable relationships.
Communication is the key to virtual fundraising event success, regardless of what tools an organization uses to host them. Communication becomes especially important when a nonprofit transforms fundraising events from in-person to virtual.
Nonprofits that want to be successful with virtual fundraising events need to communicate when, where, how, and especially why.
Effective communication can help an organization achieve better campaign results, alleviate concerns, and strengthen processes.
Here are some tips, from Blackbaud, on how nonprofits can communicate with donors during uncertain times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way nonprofits host fundraising events and connect with donors. Restrictions and safety are making in-person fundraising events challenging for organizations around the world.
Virtual fundraising events provide nonprofits a way to engage donors, convert prospects, and maintain fundraising momentum. For organizations considering virtual events, it is important to have a strategic plan backed by vision, the right technology partners, a process for converting volunteers to donors, and a communication strategy.