When you want to donate to nonprofits, it’s tempting to go and volunteer in person. But the past year has taught us that there’s a lot of value in social distancing and virtual events. That’s led to a new possibility: using a virtual fundraiser and online fundraising to create the kind of impact you would otherwise have offline.
The only problem? Being sure that you do have an impact when you launch a virtual fundraiser. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for you to create a virtual fundraising event that draws interest, attention, and helps you direct that energy towards a donation page. Here’s how it all works.
What is a Virtual Fundraiser?
A virtual fundraiser is a way of raising charity money that doesn’t require in-person events. This can apply to a wide variety of potential fundraising possibilities: a virtual gala, holding calls over Zoom, creating a live stream, publishing a webinar, creating an online auction, or really any sort of online event in which you highlight the needs of the fundraiser.
For many companies, a fundraising campaign typically consists of asking for donations and possibly getting out of the office for volunteering events. They might host an in-person fundraiser as well. But an online event can work just as well. In fact, it can work better for many employees who are either working remotely or can’t otherwise attend the event to raise funds.
By live streaming an event somewhere, like on Facebook Live, you can turn just about anything into a virtual event. In fact, this can oftentimes be more convenient because you can direct donors to a landing page, a virtual auction, or link them to the nonprofit organizations that you’re looking to benefit.
What is the Benefit of Using a Virtual Fundraiser?
You’d be surprised. There isn’t just one benefit, but many. Consider:
Getting people close to the point of donating. When people are attending your virtual fundraiser, they may be close to a credit card at their desk. This makes it easy for them to fill out donation forms on a landing page. Think of a virtual fundraiser as catching your audience at the potential point of “sale.”
Raising more funds. Part of the appeal of creating an online fundraising event is that the organizers can funnel everything into one donation page. From silent auctions to on-demand donations, there’s less friction involved in making a donation for everyone who attends. Everyone from board members to employees can check out an event page and find all the necessary information—it’s that simple.
Uniting local businesses. One thing about virtual fundraisers: you can connect employees and local businesses as if you’re having a happy hour without needing to find a venue. That means not only is personal fundraising easier, but you can secure an easy sponsorship while allowing more of that money to go toward the fundraiser in question.
Price. Let’s say you’re hosting a live trivia event on your fundraising platform of choice. What’s the most immediate benefit? Simple. The price is lower. You can direct people to a fundraising page while using the simple infrastructure of a webcam, a computer, and the appropriate software. To connect, all your audience needs is a computer and a reliable internet connection. In the days of the coronavirus, this isn’t just price-conscious, but it’s socially conscious.
How Much Does a Virtual Fundraiser Cost?
Speaking of price, this may be one of the most appealing aspects of hosting a virtual fundraiser: the costs are much lower, meaning that you can put the focus of all of your fundraising tools toward creating more donations for the charity in question. Promoting it with a social media hashtag? That’s free. Having a virtual walk rather than a live one? Most people don’t have to pay to walk. Lining up new donors on a landing page? It can be as simple as creating one with your fundraising platform.
When you put together a fundraising plan, it can start to feel daunting if you’re not going virtual. You need a venue. You need the logistics. You need someone to plan it.
With a virtual fundraiser, you can bring the costs down to near zero—as long as you already have the platform in place. It’s something that can happen during your off time, requiring nothing more than the basic Internet infrastructure that most people already have.
In all, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to bring in donations.
How Do I Raise Money for a Fundraiser Online?
Once you know the benefits of using a virtual fundraiser, the next question is simple. How? Let’s look at the journey you can take to create a successful virtual fundraiser, step-by-step:
Make sure you use the right platform. A platform like Millie, for example, can provide you with the infrastructure you need to handle your fundraising efforts with ease. This includes building donation landing pages to forward the money to the appropriate non-profit organization.
Generate buzz. From local business shoutouts to social media hashtags, you’re going to have to get people to know that you’re hosting a virtual fundraising event in the first place! Let’s say you’re hosting a virtual run, for example. You’re not going to get people to participate without a little planning and forewarning. Start getting the word out early and let people know the exact time and date the virtual event is happening. For scheduling purposes, treat it as if it were a real, live fundraising event.
Tell people how to donate. People who haven’t done a virtual fundraiser before or simply don’t know where to go might want to make a donation, but it can be tricky. Make sure that you include and repeat the basic instructions for making a donation throughout your event. Even if people have heard these instructions before, you never know when someone is logging in and may need to hear them again.
With any luck, your virtual fundraising event can be a success—without the expensive costs associated with holding it in a private venue. The result? Better fundraising, less overhead, and more money toward the nonprofit you’re benefiting.