Virtual Fundraising Event Procurement
There’s a lot to love about virtual events. Woo hoo – no parking woes or wondering what to wear. Net revenue earnings are shockingly good! But seriously. If you’re planning one, you need to rethink pretty much everything – including the procurement and the sale process of live auction offerings. We took a look at the data we’ve collected from our virtual galas this spring and have some tips for you on where to direct your procurement efforts.
Let’s think positive for a moment. (Or longer than a moment, ideally!) We WILL be able to travel again. But when, we don’t yet know. And after all this craziness, we’ll need vacations more than ever. Destinations rich with natural beauty are selling well in a virtual gala, since their visual appeal DOES translate through the screen. Better yet, highlight the beauty with video. Fetching locations fetch higher sale prices.
There IS hope – for a trip to the Oregon coast this summer! More local packages for coastal destinations including Manzanita, Lincoln City, Gearhart – all sold better than anticipated. We’re not out of the pandemic woods yet, of course, but we ARE encouraged by the fact that the governors of Washington, Oregon and California are currently making plans to reopen the states’ economies. Summer travel is NOT out of the question, especially local travel – so keep the faith and see if you can procure a stay at a coastal property. Sweeten the deal (and show your support for local small business!) by including restaurant gift cards and/or certificates for excursions – that way, not only do folks have something to look forward to, they’re helping support struggling industries. Win win!
Nice Time for Niche Items
Before the pandemic turned our collective world upside down, there was a definite trend towards experiences over effects. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the fundraising world! At virtual fundraisers, focus on personal items. “Lunch with the ED/Board Member” or “Principal for a Day” for a school fundraiser are hot right now. Contrarily, two things that have changed dramatically in the fundraising event world since early spring – the need for new and improved technology, AND an urgency to improve our personal spaces. We challenge you to capitalize on these new priorities!
Technology-focused companies aren’t the only industries having to pivot and use even more tech to stay alive these days. Everyone has tech on the brain! Why not laser-focus this moment in time and offer a creatively-curated “Tech Solution” package for donors. For the tech-challenged, how great would it be to painlessly learn how to use the stuff that’ll make their meetings from home easier, more efficient or higher quality? Reach out to companies and see if they’re willing to offer a virtual education package. Anything to boost internet speed and reliability is going to appeal to your supporters who suddenly find themselves working from home, but not really knowing the best and most efficient way to go about it. It’s so frustrating – not to mention a time-suck – to deal with spotty wifi during important meetings. Hardwire ethernet cables can help. Maybe you can secure a donation for a new or better-equipped laptop, loaded with software they’ll need to get their digital jobs done. Think great video capabilities, outstanding lighting solutions, perhaps even a green screen? (Do you know how to change your Zoom background to place yourself in the Grand Canyon??)
Home Improvement Services
People are home a lot more right now and have more time to consider those projects they’ve been thinking about for years (yet are so easy to put off under “normal” circumstances). It’s a great time to focus on what needs to be done around the house and how we can update, change and improve our personal spaces. Put yourself in that mindset while focusing on virtual procurement. Home services such as landscaping, arborist services, and housecleaning are selling well. Maybe you can reach out to house painting companies and secure a package for their indoor or outdoor services. What about outdoor space reimagining? Great decks, arbors, outdoor kitchens and furnishings will be a huge hit given how much time we’re all spending in our humble outdoor abodes. Keep in mind, contractors are still considered essential most everywhere! Remodeling, redecorating, virtual design, better technology for smart TVs and smart homes…what else can YOU come up with? Think of what would improve your own home and its livability and see if you can procure services that would appeal to the (temporary or long-term) homebodies in your crowd. What sounds good to your supporters? Ask THEM.
What Do Your Donors Want?
Donor development is a major part of what we do around here, whether it’s for a traditional live event or a virtual one. Now is an OUTSTANDING time for you to double down on your relationships with major donors. Schedule phone calls with top supporters, check in and deepen communication. For those who are still able to lend their financial support to you and your org, ASK THEM how they’d prefer to support you now and what they’d like to bid on. Let them point you in the right direction!
How Else Can They Help?
The global pandemic has hit so many industries very, very hard. Some of your donors may not be able to contribute financially the way they did before all this. And some may increase their support knowing you need it now more than ever! The one thing that hasn’t changed is their love and support for you, so consider asking for in-kind contributions. Perhaps you have a tech-savvy donor who can help you run a social media campaign, telling some powerful stories about the people who are being negatively impacted by your nonprofit’s struggles. Maybe a donor works in the media and can shine a spotlight on the work that you’re struggling to do in this climate. Your donors might have some other ideas on how they can help, when financial support isn’t an option.
We know nonprofits are struggling and it hurts. But we have something to offer besides hope! We’re proud to be pioneers of this new virtual fundraising frontier. We’re learning more with each and every single one we do and consult on – and we want to help YOUR nonprofit succeed too.
Reach out today and let us help you plan your successful virtual fundraising event – then you can be a pioneer, too!