As virtual events are completely digital, they can be executed quickly and opened up to a wide group of supporters, increasing your nonprofit’s reach.
Virtual fundraisers come in many shapes and sizes – so the sky’s the limit in what your nonprofit can spin-up and execute. Find the virtual mold that fits your mission and donor landscape!
For OneCause customers, turning your Giving Center into your central online auction, donation, fixed price catalog, and sales portal is as simple as a few clicks in your OneCause Planner Site. (If you’re not currently a OneCause customer, we can get you up and running in no time. Feel free to take a tour and see for yourself.)
This blog gives your organizations a cheat sheet (and examples!) on the best way to approach a virtual fundraising event, as well as the best way to use OneCause fundraising technology when going virtual.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
Let’s get started!
There’s good news—creating a program for an online fundraising event can be very similar to an in-person event. It’s likely your virtual event will still include speakers, sponsors, entertainment, and fundraising.
Above all, the two most important things to consider with your virtual program is:
The next step is to arrange those elements along with what makes sense with your organization, mission, and community.
We realize it may be helpful to see an example, so here is an example of a 41-minute run-of-show for a virtual auction event using OneCause mobile bidding features:
Thinking a longer show might fit your organization better? Here is an example of a 2-hour run-of-show for a virtual event:
The key to a livestreamed program is to treat it like a TV episode you would want to watch—offer engagement, suspense, and the triumph for your audience. Before you know it, your fundraising event will be on the same level as Game of Thrones.
Once you’ve selected an online auction software or mobile bidding platform, it’s time to start building your auction site so you can get bidders registered.
But remember, when building your OneCause Giving Center, don’t be afraid to publish before perfection.
Your Giving Center doesn’t need to be “complete” when it’s published—prioritize donor communication and event promotion, and you can perfect your site as you go.
From event details to auction items, upload what you can. As long as the site is functional (published with key event details), you can start promoting it and boosting engagement. Think about these aspects of your giving center before going live:
Now is the time to take a sigh of relief because the hassle of traditional registration (and checkout!) is no longer a worry with a virtual event.
For your supporters to join your virtual event, they will have to register online—and the key to reaching your supporters, old and new, is great messaging and promotion.
It’s essential to share the registration link a few weeks in advance to generate excitement and maximum bidding!
Here are a few best practices to help spread the word to donors:
Once you get your guests registered, you have all the features of your fundraising technology at your fingertips to engage and motivate giving.
Once the start date of the virtual auction rolls around, open the bidding to your donors.
The great thing about an online auction is that you can extend the bidding time far beyond what you can with an onsite event. We are seeing nonprofits keep their online auctions open anywhere between 1-3 weeks.
Even though you won’t be in the same room as your guests, there are ways fundraising technology can bridge that gap and boost engagement.
Engage your supporters throughout your online auction by:
Check out these #FearlessFundraisers that used OneCause fundraising technology when making the virtual pivot and see how it paid off!
Online auctions can help nonprofits raise a lot of money in the virtual world. It doesn’t matter if you are online, the chance to walk away with amazing items and support a great cause will still spur giving!
Because they’re completely digital, online auctions are cost-effective to plan and can be opened up to remote supporters, increasing fundraising potential and ROI. Let’s dive into the ways to optimize silent and live auctions for the virtual world.
Your virtual event guests and bidders are already registered online by inputting their name and payment information on your online giving center, so they will automatically have access to all those fabulous silent auction items.
Evaluate what streaming service might be good for you: Zoom, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Vimeo, etc. and structure your silent auction in a way that makes sense for your community and cause.
During the event, use your OneCause fundraising solution to:
The final step in any silent auction is getting the items to your guests. Because you won’t have a checkout line, you’ll have to notify the winning bidders and plan a pick-up time or ship their items/packages to them individually.
Live auction items are usually your most high-profile, high-priced items that generate the most excitement during your event.
Keys to Virtual Live Auction Success:
Live auctions and donation appeals are perfect for organizations that want to raise funds while engaging supporters in a fun way. Their fast-paced nature provides instant results, creating a sense of urgency and friendly competition that keeps donors’ attention.
Virtual appeals are a must! If you have always done them in the past with raised paddles, donors will embrace the simple and logical change to confirm their bid via smartphone/desktop.
Your basic live appeal should be a direct donation request to your supporters for a specific reason with a specific financial goal.
Appeals work best when they include:
When it’s time, close the appeal – and punctuate the entire evening on a positive note – with an announcement of the winner’s name and a round of applause for all participation. Emphasize the funds raised, the generosity of the supporters and, most importantly, the mission.
Pull all these tips and tricks together and you have yourself an incredibly virtually optimized auction event with fundraising technology!
Whether it’s part of a planned attempt to grow online, or in reaction to an unforeseen change affecting your event (e.g., COVID-19, local emergency, weather, disaster, public emergency etc.) – nonprofits need a plan to continue the fundraising.
If you’re ready to dive into the world of fundraising, we’ve got your back. Check out these resources to dive even deeper!