With COVID-19 rightfully shutting down mass gatherings, or even small ones for that matter, in-person fundraising events are yet another casualty in this ugly war. Outright cancellations of these events will leave a devastating hole in the revenue streams for most NPOs, but some are turning to online events or doubling down on online fundraising efforts. Thanks to a Funraise-hosted webinar, here are some tips on how charities can execute successful digital fundraising campaigns in these challenging times:
1. Tie Your Cause to COVID-19
World Water Day is a United Nations initiative intended to drive awareness about the relationship between water and climate change. In the time of COVID-19, climate change may not sound like a top of mind subject matter, but World Water Day found a way. They tied the necessity of clean water for washing hands as a way to legitimately enter the COVID-19 discussions. Further, they asked their mailing list to complete a quiz and in doing so unlocking donations from a long-standing supporter. This helped engage supporters event if it was done online. Regardless of your cause, make sure your campaign is authentic (meaning, a genuine connection to COVID-19), compelling, and engaging.
2. Engage Online Through Challenges and Influencers
Similar to what happened with the successful Ice Bucket Challenge, it's recommended that charities challenge followers to do something fun, for example, dance, and for them to donate if they don't want to do it. This creates fun moments that anyone can do and are shareable, which can lend to virality (sorry, too soon?). If you're looking for an additional boost to driving awareness, consider partnering with an influencer. Influencers on the social platform Twitch are particularly popular these days. These influencers are paid by audiences to watch their streams and you can partner with the influencers to have them donate some live stream time. California-based Rise Above the Disorder raises over $1 million on Twitch as a testament to its potential as a fundraising channel. Regardless of your strategy or channels, you don't want to be asking all the time. Build content of around five to seven posts (e.g. communicating impact, announcing new programs, etc.) and have it lead into a great ask point.
3. Make Events Run Smoothly Through Planning and Tools
For those considering running virtual events, be sure to manage expectations and communicate to stakeholders on what it's going to be like versus a live event. This will ensure stakeholders aren't disappointed or frustrated on what's going on once the virtual event is running. Further, even though many people are working from home, they're still holding regular work hours, so be mindful of when you run your virtual event. Just like a live event, having a virtual event on a weekend or weekday evening is still ideal.
Some may be concerned that older non-tech savvy people may not buy in to a virtual event. The webinar panelists advise that most everyone these days at least has a smart phone and that they are adapting. Just in case, however, consider how people without technology can still participate through a regular phone (Zoom can be accessed through regular dial in, for example) and calling in to at least hear what's going on during the virtual event.
Check out the recording of the Funraise webinar HERE. Have any other suggestions for fundraising online or running virtual events? Let us know or if you have any questions, reach out to us any time. Thank you for reading and stay safe and healthy.