Virtual Event Fundraising During a Pandemic. You Can Do It! We Can Help.

Misty Marquam

Fundraising During a Pandemic.

You can do it! We can help.

Social distancing is changing EVERYTHING – including the landscape of live event fundraising. But just because we’ve been handed sour lemons doesn’t mean our lemonade ain’t delish! Let’s save your org’s operating budget, preserve your service offerings, PIVOT and Go VIRTUAL!

In light of recent government mandates and health concerns, a virtual fundraising event in lieu of rescheduling or canceling your traditional benefit auction, gala or fundraising event is a viable option. How? Soldier on with us, raise the critical dollars you require for your mission and pivot to a VIRTUAL FUNDRAISING EVENT.

It IS new, but it’s not complicated. You’ll need four main things: A fundraising event partner with an all-star team of pros ready to pivot, a trusted tech ally, bidding software and great strategy.

NO EVENT = NO REVENUE. Right?!? #PivotWithUs We learned a lot – and RAISED a lot (over goal, in fact!) – at virtual auction and we’re ready to walk you through the process.

Virtual Live Fundraising Event

THIS is the answer to today’s dilemma of being unable to gather in large groups and enjoy a traditional fundraiser. Master the art of the pivot and host a virtual fundraiser, to recoup lost revenue WHILE engaging your donor base to demonstrate their loyal support of your mission. It can and has been done with great success! We’re thrilled to be among the pioneers of the wild new frontier of virtual fundraising, as we recently helped our friends at Catlin Gabel go virtual for the first time. We learned a ton and want to share the lessons with you. (We’d also like to show the love for PDX’s other virtual pioneers – Raise Agent and Johnna Wells who also went virtual this past weekend. We’re so proud of our fabulous female fellow disruptors and innovators from our hometown!)

In this unprecedented time of social distancing, a virtual event allows your donors to log in, engage, learn more about you, support your mission and best of all, DONATE to your cause! Virtual events also allow you to keep sponsor dollars, as you’ll be able to fulfill the obligations promised to them in fresh, innovative, new ways. Position yourself and your org as a disruptor, an innovator and a persister. You got this!

In all honesty, there’s no substitute for the power of group energy harnessed in the same room at a live event – but tough times call for innovative solutions. Let’s juice those lemons!

What’s Required to Go VIRTUAL!??

  • Online Mobile Event Software Capabilities
  • Ironclad tech strategy & team
  • Simulcast hardware, sound + equipment
  • A filming space or studio equipped with everything you need, FANTASTIC internet connection speeds, lighting options, and one that translates visually on camera
  • A savvy, engaging and SUCCINCT Run-of-Show
  • Great mission-driven, pithy and cohesive scripting
  • Serious Visuals – Videos, PowerPoint slides, photos, graphics…the works!
  • A strong emcee to host and keep the program moving
  • Speakers (optional and can be pre-recorded)
  • A Fundraising Pro at the helm to lead the virtual fundraising, execute revenue directives and offer sage consultation and strategy along the way
  • Onsite Bid Assistants to monitor bids as they come in, relay info to and from your program leads and post real-time responses to social media
  • A live studio audience to help keep energy up and provide organic responses and background crowd noise
  • Sound and innovative fundraising strategies
  • Spectacular donor development strategy and pre-committed gifts

PRO TIPS!

Keep it Short!

There is a steady decline in viewership the longer the simulcast runs. Take advantage of peak traffic and craft your program to maximize donations. We’re not talking telethon here, nor do we want to look like public access (shudder!). Not sure how long or what to include? Reach out!

Script

Your goal is a seamless, succinct, mission-driven script chock full of relevant and moving content. We can help!

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Run through all tech cues, live speaking parts, videos, corresponding visuals, stage cues, lighting, transitions, everything. Your entire production will be better because of it.

Lean On Video + Visuals

Use short videos, photos, PPTs, graphics and anything else that will visually engage your audience, while reinforcing messaging.

Savvy Social Media

Do run a smart simultaneous social campaign tied to your marketing efforts! Social media were MADE for events like this. Use them!

Studio Audience = Must Have

Energy is key when going virtual to keep viewers engaged. Secure a small but lively crowd for your simulcast. It’ll feel so much more real and authentic for everyone! Trust us.

Dynamic Duo

The captains of your virtual vessel will set the tone and bring the ENERGY for the broadcast, act as mission ambassadors and dictate how well your fundraising strategies are executed. Do NOT trust these vital roles to volunteers or lay people. You need PROS who can masterfully roll with simulcast delays, technical glitches, sudden changes and be masters of improvisation. Their back and forth banter, off-the-cuff remarks and chemistry will keep viewers engaged. Humor will go a long way toward keeping your show fun and upbeat, and folks at home interested and giving.

Technology On + Off the Proverbial Stage

Adequate technology is key to successfully pivoting to a virtual event. Provide iPads, monitors or similar to keep everyone, including emcee and auctioneer, in the know. They must see what your viewers see, the fundraising in real time as well as their intended scripts – all at the SAME time!

Reduce Lag Time

Lag time between when folks place their bids and when we RECEIVE them is a HUGE pain point, so look for ways to decrease this. A bit of virtual tap-dancing will be needed, so keep any Live Auction offerings MINIMAL (or opt for a special appeal only format).

These are challenging times for everyone. We KNOW we can continue to fundraise successfully in this climate. People want to help. Give them a platform to do so! Going virtual can be done and we can’t wait to partner with you to make it happen. So take a few deep cleansing breaths, discuss your new direction with your fellow event planner, then contact us so we can get started planning your virtual event strategies today!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Cheers!!!

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