Chat Cheerleading: Part 2
Get the Most Engagement Out of Virtual Galas (VGs) and Fundraising Events
Connect with viewers at home via the live chat, and have some much-needed fun while you’re at it!
There’s an intimacy and connection inherent to in-person events that simply can’t be replicated 100% in the virtual fundraising environment. To that end, we’re always looking for new and unique ways to let viewers and donors know they are seen, heard and appreciated. After all, we depend on their engagement for a successful, effective and fun virtual gala. One of our favorite ways (and one of the most FUN ways) to accomplish this is through the chat feature. It’s not just limited to social banter, either – use the chat function for fun, games, and mission storytelling!
Your org’s recognizable names (executive leadership, staff, members of the Board, VIPs, major donors, etc.) are watching, of course! And here’s hoping they’re not just watching. When they’re actively participating and interacting with folks at home via the chat, it’s more fun for everyone. It’s uplifting to watch the touching interactions and displays of gratitude between these high-level org reps and viewers during the live stream. There are a lot of ways to say Thank You! This is how we make folks at home truly feel like a part of the action. Because they are! And when they feel like they are, they’re not going to sit idly by and watch. They’re going to interact and have fun, which is precisely what we’re going for here.
Transform Viewers into Participants
Letting folks at home know we’re aware they’re watching and appreciated is super important. But it’s even more important to turn a voyeur into an engaged participant. We want them to interact with us live! Why? Folks who are engaged stay on the stream longer, give more and report having a better donor experience as a result. Win. Win! WIN!
Social Media Engagement
Use social media channels to direct people to the event and your chat. Also, use the chat to send people to your social media channels! It’s a symbiotic relationship (you were paying attention in biology class, right?), just like the honey bee and the flower. Encourage folks in the live chat to take pictures of themselves watching from the comfort of their sofa (or something equally engaging and fun) and post to your social pages. Be sure to remind them to tag you and/or use your event hashtag for maximum reach! Use your social pages to let people know there’s not only going to be good topics of discussion in the chat, there’s going to be fun and games too!
Trivia & Games
Who doesn’t love a good game of mission-packed trivia?! Or fun prizes? Create questions that pertain to your amazing org and mission and use those questions to entertain WHILE educating folks. In a typical VG, you can easily fit in three to five org-related questions. Start easy and work up to questions that your viewers would only know the answers to if they were paying attention to the videos, graphics, or the words they heard earlier in the VG. Mention the chat trivia at the top of the live stream and remind folks they’re going to see a special video with all the answers, so keep watching! People are more likely to remain focused on the content of your virtual gala and less likely to log off or head to the kitchen for a drink refill. Be sure to let org representatives know you’ll be doing this, so they can step aside and allow other viewers to answer. Incentivize participation with fun gifts and prizes. What other fun games can you brainstorm for integration into the chat? Drop us a line. We love hearing from you and learning of how creative you can be!
Incentive Drawings & Giveaways
Your chat feature is the perfect place for an incentive drawing or a giveaway. Your chat cheerleader can let viewers know they can join a special incentive drawing or giveaway exclusively through the chat for cool gifts and giveaways. Anyone can participate and everyone should since there’s no buy-in cost! Select the lucky winning donor at random while you’re still streaming, to act as the dangling carrot – enticing folks to remain with you. This is a real crowd-pleaser for the types of donors we like to call The Gamblers – so leverage what you know about them in this way. It’s best to do this near the end of the live virtual event – people are less likely to turn away if they know they have a chance at receiving a gift. In an incentive drawing, gifts are awarded based on participation – not purchase. Like a raffle, folks are entered into a drawing and drawn at random, but UNLIKE a raffle, there’s no purchase necessary to be considered. The winner of the incentive drawing winner receives a gift, which can be anything you want it to be – special recognition, org swag, gift certificates, even booze. The rules for raffles are quite different but the chat is also a great place for them as well.
First things first: Educate yourself about the legalities of raffles – especially online, whether you’re planning to offer one through the chat, your mobile bidding software or elsewhere. Raffles are governed by the Department of Justice in most states and state law, so make sure you don’t run afoul! In Oregon, for example, you must have written permission from the DOJ to offer an online raffle of any kind. Be certain to also keep revenue earned from raffle sales under your state’s legal limit and research licensure. Participants must be 18 or older and they must have their feet planted IN our state at the time of purchase. And do omit all types of alcohol as prizes. The major difference between incentive drawings and raffles? Incentives are AWARDED, whereas raffle tickets are PURCHASED. But like incentives, raffle winners should be drawn near the end of the live stream to keep people watching. The most important part of a raffle is to know your local laws, so check with your DOJ to be certain you’re in compliance.
Chat Cheerleading Conclusion
When used strategically, the chat feature is more than just a place to discuss how much you love your favorite org, what you’re excited to bid on, or how ready you are for a vacation. The chat feature can serve as an extension of your script – a valuable mission-based tool perfect for the virtual format. It’s a great place for fun, games, AND jokes – people fondly remember things that make them laugh! Reach out – let’s have some fun together!