Righteous Registration + Virtual Galas + Online Fundraising Events
Virtual galas and fundraising events are very different from traditional in-person fundraising events – that’s nothing you don’t already know. But one element that can be fairly consistent – registration! And like so many other aspects of virtual fundraising, communication is KEY. Here are some of the decisions you’ll need to make with regard to registration for your virtual event.
Truth – you’ll need a strong software system, no matter what kind of event you’re planning. It’s hard to wrap our minds around in the current climate, but it wasn’t that long ago that tools such as online and mobile bidding not only weren’t commonplace, they simply did not exist. And yet now, more than ever, we’re all recognizing – and REAPING – the benefits. For mobile bidding, you’ll NEED a solid software system with mobile capabilities. What’s more, you can allow software to take care of tedious tasks you’d be well-served NOT to burden a human with – marketing, bid sheets, even selling tickets. And on the topic of tickets…
Tickets: to Sell or Not to Sell?
Will you sell tickets to your virtual event? So far, many orgs are opting not to, but you can. Naturally, you shouldn’t charge what you would for a traditional gala. Virtual events do still incur costs, however, and asking folks for a nominal donation – $10-$20 per ticket for example – is an option that’s probably not too off-putting for most loyal supporters. It would also help offset the cost of your investment, much the same as table and individual ticket sales would. And if you do choose to ask for a small donation, there’s a huge benefit – donors’ names and personal info will already be in your backend system. And you can invite them to start bidding before your virtual event even starts. It’s a great way to drum up more competitive bidding!
If you’re not comfortable selling tickets or asking for donations, don’t worry! You have many other options. You can upload supporters into the system manually. You can also simply send out a link to join the virtual event, just like you would for an traditional online auction. Other possibilities? You can use what we like to call a “magic” link.
We call them magic links because they do indeed require a robust mobile bidding software system. Let’s say you don’t want to use a public registration link. Your mobile bidding software system can send out invitations for guests to bid, using a link that’s unique to each donor. With a simple click of a button, the software knows who your guests are and can glean you some amazing data on how your donors operate in a virtual environment. You can communicate with donors through the system, too. Pretty slick, no? The one downside – (and it all comes back to communication, doesn’t it?) make sure your guests know NOT TO SHARE THEIR UNIQUE LINK, as they could end up with a staggering credit card statement if multiple people were to place bids with it. And you can pretty much forget about any future support from them if that were to happen!
We’ll be honest – we’re fundraising experts – not software specialists. But not to worry, we can definitely put you in touch with the experts you need! And keep in mind, in this new world of virtual fundraising, THEY’RE quickly pivoting as well. They’re busy developing exciting new systems tailored to the unique needs of virtual galas which we will outline in a future blog.
Credit Card Numbers – Prior or Post Virtual Event?
In the virtual world, it’s a best practice to secure credit card information from guests before they place their bids. (When we’re NOT in the midst of a pandemic, you’d want to take into account the org you’re working with before making that decision, as demographics and opinions on this can vary wildly.) If your organization has a wide geographic spread, or if you think you might attract strangers and people who aren’t in your circle of support, you’ll want to be able to find them in order to collect payment. We recommend this as a best practice in the virtual world.
Ready to make some decisions about registering for your virtual event? Have questions? Ready to go VIRTUAL or discuss Fusion Fundraising event options? Reach out – we’re here to help! And we have lots of data and a wealth of information to share with you. Let’s make lemonade out of these lemons – together.