7 Reasons to Host a Virtual Gala this Summer
Don’t Wait ‘til Fall (or later). Fundraise VIRTUALLY Now!
Many nonprofits blindsided by spring stay-at-home orders rescheduled their fundraising events for later this fall and into 2021. Plenty now are sorry that they did and are looking to recover lost revenue in any way they can, as it might be too late by fall. Orgs that chose not to pivot to virtual substitutes early find themselves in a major bind with working capital dwindling or gone altogether, making it imperative to fundraise NOW to continue offering essential services. Waiting another quarter (or more) to raise essential funds will have devastating effects on service offerings, keeping location sites open and employees employed.
Fundraise sooner rather than later! Why?
1. Fall Fundraising Traffic Jams
The fall fundraising season is always a hotbed of event activity with multiple shindigs scheduled every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Trust us – SEVERAL folks already have your chosen date AND they chose it months ago. Don’t add to an already overwhelmed roster of events. Take control and plan for your virtual or fusion event now instead.
2. Date + Donor Competition
What if the rescheduled date you’ve chosen limits your major donors from attending your event? What if there are 5-10 OTHER events scheduled for your preferred fall date? What if donors can’t attend your rescheduled event because they already have plans to attend a different fundraiser that night? You can kiss a huge chunk of your annual budget goodbye if that’s the case. For many orgs, that one big night accounts for up to 70% of their annual budget. The loss of even one major donor can devastate operating budgets and the best-planned revenue strategies.
And what if major donors DO attend your event, in lieu of a previously scheduled one? Might you be guilty of swooping in and diverting funds away from other orgs, who always host fall events? And could you blame them for being a bit upset about that? Poaching donors is never a recipe for good public relations.
3. Donor Fatigue
What’s a fundraiser’s worst nightmare? Donor fatigue – when folks are plumb tuckered out from giving or being asked to give. Whether it’s on a small scale (donors are still giving, but not as much) or a large scale (people stop giving altogether), you want nothing to do with it as a fundraiser! Don’t tire out your loyal supporters by asking them to attend and support you this fall and again at a second live event just a few months later during your normally scheduled time. This puts everyone in an awkward position and is best avoided altogether. Your donors will thank you.
4. Vendor Competition
If you do plan a virtual or fusion event for the next few months, you won’t have to worry so much about securing your preferred vendors for catering, AV, auctioneer, venue, event planning, emcees, etc. Come fall, these masters of their respective crafts are already retained for competing fundraising events which leaves you with few viable options to execute your event the way you’d envisioned.
5. Who knows what the future holds?
We believe strongly in hoping for the best while preparing for the worst around here. If a viral resurgence equals tighter quarantine restrictions once the seasons change, it’ll be easier to collaborate and film virtual events now than it will be under stricter physical distancing protocols. With fundraising event planning, a worst-case scenario would be a prolific resurgence. In that case, even a Fusion Fundraiser with a select number of in-person guests would likely not be possible. But a Virtual Gala (VG) will be possible, even if strict stay-at-home orders or a full-on quarantine is in effect. Start thinking about and producing content now, for your virtual gala this summer, and you’ll be well on your way to fundraising success!
6. What will the economy be like by Fall?
Will individual donors be as generous? Our state’s unemployment rate jumped from 3.3% back in March to a projected 20+% by the end of May! Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are out of work as a direct result of the pandemic – and millions nationally. We pray this number plummets rapidly in the coming months and it likely will to some degree. But it will still take time to recover from the worst economic blow since the Great Depression. Even as businesses safely reopen and more people return to work, it’ll take time for economic stabilization. We anticipate a sort of in-between phase this summer; hence, the perfect time to Go Virtual!
7. Summer Vacations Stymied
Traditional in-person fundraising events generally avoid summer months due to donors’ travel plans often conflicting with scheduled events. With people currently not traveling as much and staying closer to home, we believe this will not be much of an issue this year. And even if and when folks do get back to traveling, geography is irrelevant with virtual galas as donors can join your simulcasted event from ANYWHERE in the world to show you the love! This is a game-changer, folks. And one that ultimately unleashes more months of the year as viable fundraising options. This is music to our ears!
It’s survival mode and time to take serious action. Avoid halting the delivery of your vital services, laying off employees and shutting your doors. Raise funds in these surreal times before it’s too late. We are here to help in any way. Let’s discuss your virtual fundraising options. We promise to hold your hand from start to finish. Let’s do this! Reach out!