Just as we were all starting to feel more confident about planning face-to-face fundraisers, it looks like we might be sticking to the safer option of virtual fundraising campaigns for the moment. On the bright side, we’re fully prepared to go down this path. Nonprofits and organizations have been experimenting with and increasing their understanding of virtual charity events since 2020. People on a global scale have upped their tech game during the last couple of years, which means it’s onwards and upwards for virtual fundraisers in 2022.
Take a look at our simple 5 step-by-step guide on how to plan a successful and unforgettable virtual fundraiser that everyone will be jumping online to attend.
Step 1: Set Fundraising Goals and Determine a Budget
Before you start planning anything, it’s crucial to decide whether your fundraiser is suitable to be a virtual event. Ask yourself if your target audience has the accessibility to the technical requirements necessary to participate in your virtual campaign and if it’s something that would appeal to them. If the answer is yes to both of these questions, it’s time to set your fundraising goals.
- Gather a planning committee to start brainstorming ideas and defining a roadmap of how to achieve them. Don’t forget, for virtual fundraisers, it’s vital to get some tech-savvy people on board.
- Set clear goals of what you are raising money for and how it will make an impact. Events with fundraising targets raise on average 46% more than those without. So aim high and spread the word!
- Be clear with your goals from the start and set a fundraising event budget that includes tech support, organization and development costs, online event staffing if needed, and remote participant’s technology requests.
- If you’re organizing a fundraiser which includes a virtual auction or charity raffle, make sure to set a budget for your prizes and tickets. Try to get as many items donated to reduce costs and procure them with plenty of time before your fundraiser. Take a look at our best raffle fundraising prize ideas and learn how to get them donated.
- Do you intend to secure sponsorships from local businesses?
- Are you charging an online admission fee for your fundraising event? If so, estimate the number of event attendees and the amount you intend to raise from ticket sales.
- Will you be planning a corporate virtual fundraiser with a bigger budget or a crowdfunding campaign where friends and family will be making donations to your personalized fundraising page?
Step 2: Identify your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience is an essential part of pulling off a successful and memorable virtual fundraising campaign. You need to identify their needs and technical accessibility, as well as their financial availability. Here are a few pro tips to consider when targeting your potential donors.
Where Are Attendees Connecting From?
Once you manage to engage globally, you must think about what time to run your virtual event to suit everyone all over the world – choose a time that is convenient for all your worldwide attendees, preferably at the weekend, during daylight hours, such as 9 am in the UK and 5 pm in California. Don’t make your fundraiser too long so that it runs over into the night in one time zone when it’s only the late morning in another country.
Identify your target audience. Is it mainly Millennials and Gen Z’s, who are generally more tech-savvy and up-to-date with all the new tech trends? Or are you receiving more interest from the Boomer generation, who might be more concerned about basic tech needs and more focused on the mission and impact of your campaign? In a nutshell, don’t splash out on a super fancy platform if your attendees are not inclined to take advantage of it.
Step 3: Define Technical Requirements
Assessing your audience’s technical needs is a top priority when planning a virtual fundraiser. Naturally, everyone will be participating online so your tech has to be up-to-date and integrate seamlessly into all facets of your campaign. Consider the following factors:
It’s incredibly important to consider the differing levels of global connectivity. The fact is that some of your attendees will have faster and more stable internet connections than others. This is also a factor when offering your campaign globally, as certain countries will have better internet access than others. Audio and video connections may drop in and out during your campaign so make sure not to scrimp on tech support. This is essential when running a smooth virtual fundraiser. Solid tech support will come at a price but will be worth every penny in order not to lose valuable donors.
Understand that not all your participants will have access to technology or the internet. Make sure they will be included by suggesting tech meeting bubbles so that no one is excluded.
If you have an international audience, make sure that you understand what streaming channels exist in each country where you have registrants. At times you may use a channel in the US that needs a different link to that in India or certain parts of Asia. Again, it’s crucial to identify where your audience is participating from, in order to seamlessly integrate all attendees and pull off a successful and profitable virtual fundraiser.
Make your virtual fundraising campaign’s donation process as smooth, convenient, and accessible as possible. This can be achieved by offering DoJiggy’s state-of-the-art mobile giving options. The platform is optimized for mobile use at every level to help you stay in tune with a new generation of online donors. With our mobile-first platform, we have integrated the latest mobile giving features to make it easier for you to promote your fundraiser. These features include:
- Digital Wallets (Apple Pay and Google Pay)
- Mobile-responsive donation pages
Remember that technology can sometimes be expensive but if your organization knows what works best, it’ll be worth what you’re paying for. Make sure you meet your target audience’s virtual expectations when choosing the right platform.
DoJiggy’s user-friendly platform has the live stream studio and mobile features you need to make your virtual campaign a success.
Step 4: Promote Like Crazy and Engage your Audience
Once you have set your virtual fundraising goals, defined your target audience, budget, and tech requirements it’s time to get promoting your charity event. Creating hype for your virtual fundraiser will generate exposure and excitement for your cause, which in turn will lead to valuable donations and awareness. There are so many engaging and fun ways of doing this, so let’s dive in and take a look at a few of our favorites.
- Social media promotion is a key ingredient to engaging your participants and potential supporters. There’s no limit to the exposure you can gain by promoting and sharing your virtual fundraiser on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Check out our Top Social Media Fundraising Tips and Trends here.
- Incorporate gamification tools such as fundraising thermometers, Leaderboards, trophy widgets, online polls, quizzes, and games
- Pre-record videos and content to show your online participants. By offering these videos and content pieces on demand, you add a high level of flexibility, allowing your supporters to stream them in their own time, reach a wider audience and obtain more donations.
Step 5: Execute an Unforgettable Event and Build Long Lasting Relationships
After all the planning and promotion, now’s the time to execute an incredible virtual fundraiser. People want to take part in a fundraiser that makes a big impact on the lives and communities of the cause they’re supporting. Make your virtual charity event fun, exciting and engaging and create lasting memories in the process. The idea is to have your supporters talking about your virtual event long after it’s finished and bringing in new donors for your next fundraiser. Here are a few tips on how to make your virtual fundraiser unforgettable and profitable.
- Create an event theme to help get everyone in the mood with relevant costumes and attire, decorations, and food and drink. Add virtual backgrounds to your online video platforms to fit with the theme you decide on.
- Set up an event chatroom on your most active social media channel. This will give your supporters an opportunity to start conversing and getting excited about your virtual fundraiser before it’s even started. Keep this chatroom open after the virtual charity event has finished so that your donors can swap post-fundraiser notes with each other.
- Create hype by setting up a pre-event challenge. Hashtag challenges can be hugely successful at generating awareness and exposure for your virtual fundraiser. It’s also a great opportunity to spread the word about your fundraiser and attract more valuable donors.
- Offer crowdfunding rewards to get your supporters to be more generous with their donations. This is a great way to boost fundraising profitability and engage your supporters.
- Goodie bags delivered to your supporters’ front doors or offering online gift vouchers can also be great incentives to motivate your donors and take your virtual fundraiser to another level in the minds of your attendees. Procure these gifts from your sponsors so that they also receive invaluable exposure for their businesses and services.
- Add a silent auction or charity raffle to amp up the fun and giving opportunities.
- Show a short meaningful video during your fundraising to tell the story behind your cause. Make it personal and touching, so your audience really gets a feel for why you are raising money and awareness. If you have the possibility to bring in a VIP or celebrity speaker, do it! A performance or speech by an A-lister can pull in a big crowd and this is great news for your virtual fundraiser.
- Create personalized merchandise to sell in your eCommerce store. By doing this your supporters will have something to take away with them and remind them of the event, long after it’s finished.
Making a lasting impression in the minds of your supporters is crucial to getting the most out of your fundraiser. Successful fundraising events can turn into signature fundraising campaigns that are looked to year after year by your supporter base. So get creative and make it unforgettable!
Keep Your Donors Coming Back For More
Remember that your virtual fundraiser isn’t only about the day of the event. Relationship building and maintaining loyal donors after the event is a crucial part of your campaign. A few ways to ensure that your supporters are satisfied and keep coming back for more are:
- During the online campaign, check in with your supporters with fundraising updates and progress posts and don’t forget to collect all contact details so that you can personally thank them for their donations and participation.
- Thank them through personalized letters and emails, tag their names on thank you posts on social media and send short thank you videos showing them the impact they’ve made with their donations.
Recognition and validation are priceless in maintaining a fruitful relationship with your donors and sponsors. Remember that if your followers have had a great fundraising experience once they are sure to return for your future events so be certain to stay in touch.
Conclusions On Returning To Virtual Fundraisers
Now’s the time to build on the successes of virtual fundraising over the last couple of years. Don’t look at an online charity campaign as a plan B but instead, as your first and best option to hold an unforgettable event that creates maximum exposure for your cause and exceeds your fundraising goals. Virtual fundraisers are here to stay and they appear to only be getting better and better over time which is great news for nonprofits and organizations.