Fusion Fundraisers: In the Flesh
What will the general public think about gathering en masse in public spaces come July? September? 2021? Some folks may never again be comfortable in large groups – or at least not for a long while. Others will jump at the chance to mingle with friends. What strange times we live in; the words “wait and see” on everyone’s minds and lips. In terms of fundraising, here’s your alternative to “wait and see.” Fusion Fundraisers. Dream up what YOU envision for your event. We’ll blend your traditional, in-person gala with a VG (virtual gala), creating a hybrid event that will satisfy every type of donor. Here we’ll focus on a group we’re calling the Gatherers.
Gatherers are Giving (when in person)
The donors who fall into the Gatherers category often have BIG personalities – the “live auction” personality, if you will. They love the “see and be seen” culture of in-person events. They’re motivated by social interaction and are living for the day when big gatherings are allowed again! FOMO – fear of missing out – is perhaps another motivator at play, heightened by the fact that it’s been so long since we’ve been able to go to an event – any event! Plus, statistics suggest many donors much prefer to give AT events, as opposed to clicking “bid” from their at-home computer. For some, events aren’t just events – it’s a lifestyle! Philanthropists love to support your mission, particularly among like-minded philanthropists – and they’re often the impetus behind major corporate sponsorships, matches and challenges. Meantime, competitive bidders are much more likely to donate at an event. The spirit of competition that we all love to watch – you know what we’re talking about; bidders across the room (or even at the same table!) trading raised cards like prizefighters exchanging punches. That competition and the charged atmosphere it creates can be lost in translation with a virtual event, at least for these bidders. But it’s still great fun for folks watching at home – more on that in another blog!
Gatherers’ Donor Experience
So what to do, what to do with the folks who are SO excited to be out and about, they’d be thrilled enjoying a beverage in a Solo cup on a picnic bench, just as long as other people are doing it with them?! Well, frankly, this is the time to let your creative juices flow! Let’s say you’re able to curate an event for 25 people. You can do so much more than your typical formal dinner and live program. What about a river cruise, featuring hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a live auction? River cruises are great fun and will eventually be readily available again – soon, we hope! Ever done a murder mystery with a couple dozen people? We can help you thread fundraising opportunities throughout that experience. Maybe a themed dinner, hosted by one of your major supporters (who has a spacious and gorgeous outdoor entertaining area, perhaps)? What can YOU come up with? WE can help you make it happen!
It’s ALL about Donor Experience
At a Fusion Fundraiser, since you likely won’t have as many people present as you would at a traditional gala, donors can experience a more beautiful and memorable event. Think of it as a pre-event VIP reception. With fewer people, you can upgrade their experience in so many ways. You could opt to serve better food and wine without breaking your budget. You could go all-out with decorations or centerpieces, since you won’t have as many tables. Think themes. You could offer valet parking. What else can YOU come up with that would make your donors feel appreciated? How can you show them the best time ever? What would they go wild for?
Behind the Scenes
Your supporters who are ready to dust off and don their formal attire (or costume of choice, should there be a theme) and mingle in groups truly are in for an unforgettable night (or afternoon, or late-morning brunch – any time you think works best for YOUR unique crowd). That’s the beauty of this format – you can do whatever, whenever, wherever! Not only will your guests be imbued in any VIP experience you can dream up – carefully curated without breaking the bank – they’ll get to see the magic happen – the magic that is a live virtual program. Want to see what goes on behind the scenes? Sure you do, and so do your guests. It’s pure entertainment. They can watch the show folks at home are watching – from a different perspective – but thanks to their smartphones, they’ll have the chance to engage with the guests who aren’t there. Live commenting is fun, even if you’re discussing the weather! How fun would it be to live chat with your friends and fellow supporters at home, who are also watching the show that’s unfolding in front of you?
It truly is the great divide of 2020. Some are vehemently in favor of stay-at-home orders. Some want to see an immediate end to social distancing and business closures. It is not our role to pick a side. It IS our role to keep fundraising and supporting our beloved nonprofits. So let’s do this! Tell us how you want to foray into the virtual world of fundraising. You probably have great ideas we haven’t even thought of! Contact us.