As a new year comes into focus, one thing is clear: having strategies to reach donors both virtually and eventually in-person will be a fundraising necessity.
Nonprofits need to find ways to engage dual audiences from both in the ballroom and at home, as we continue to navigate through the pandemic and get back to a “new normal”.
Hybrid fundraising has gained momentum as a way to bring fundraising events to both live and virtual audiences. Think of it as the “best of both worlds,” blending fundraising best practices and technology to create seamless giving experiences – anytime, anywhere.
We’re here to help guide you through the world of hybrid fundraising. This guide covers everything you need to know to execute hybrid events. From mobile bidding software to fundraising strategies, we’ve got what you need to raise more and reach more.
As the uncertainty continues, nonprofits are preparing themselves and their donors with fundraising options. Having alternatives is key in a changed fundraising landscape.
The beauty of hybrid is its flexibility. You can reach those who want to engage in-person and include those who cannot or do not wish to gather in groups, by connecting them to your events through fundraising technology.
Best part – hybrid isn’t new. We’ve been seeing more and more donors engaging remotely over the last five years.
These remote donors used to make up a smaller percentage of attendees, but during the pandemic there is now a reversal. The majority of your attendees may actually be remote! Until it is safe and comfortable for everyone to be back in the ballroom – every nonprofit needs hybrid strategies.
We’ve put together this go-to resource to not just survive but thrive in the hybrid world! This guide covers:
You’ll be engaging wider audiences and generating more support for your mission in no time.
A hybrid fundraiser is an event that takes place online and in-person. Two audiences engage in your fundraising, at the same time, just from different locations.
Because the fundraising takes place simultaneously, nonprofits leverage technology to engage and execute their fundraising activities. Delivering a “dual experience” is key – so you need to make fundraising easy and engaging for both audiences.
Let’s start with the essentials. These are a few questions that nonprofits need to answer as they explore whether or not hybrid fundraising is right for you:
|What is hybrid fundraising?||Hybrid fundraising is a fundraising event that takes place both online and in-person, allowing supporters to engage with your cause from anywhere.|
|What are the benefits of hybrid fundraising?||The ability to engage in-person and online donors simultaneously is a major benefit for nonprofits, especially amid social distancing guidelines. Hybrid fundraising also allows you to offer fundraising choices to your donors, allowing them to support your mission in ways that are comfortable to them. It also allows you to expand your reach, engaging remote donors regardless of geographical location.|
|What do you need to host a hybrid fundraising campaign?||You'll need mobile bidding software, a clear communication plan for connecting donors to your fundraising activities before, during, and after your event, and a broadcast solution. You may decide to use livestreaming tools to broadcast your programming in real-time.|
|Who can conduct hybrid fundraising?||Any nonprofit can host a hybrid event! The extent to which you engage your remote audience in live programming, may be dependent on your budget. However, there are many strategies to make hybrid fundraising accessible to all, with a wide range of workarounds available for organizations of all sizes.|
Below are a few examples of common hybrid events. Feel free to get creative. Hybrid fundraisers come in many shapes and sizes – so the sky’s the limit in what your nonprofit can spin-up and execute. The hybrid format is highly flexible and can be used to adapt events of all shapes, sizes, and budgets.
Feel free to get creative with your fundraising ideas during and beyond COVID-19, to engage donors and drive excitement for your event.
When planning your hybrid fundraiser, follow these steps to ensure fundraising success.
As you adapt your event into a “dual experience” format, it’s important to think through the size, goals, and fundraising processes for your virtual fundraiser, ensuring both your in-person and remote attendees receive a seamless experience.
Here’s our ten recommended steps for hybrid event success:
Before jumping in, take some time to evaluate your options, outline your assumptions, and work through the pros and cons of taking your fundraising hybrid.
Ask yourself these questions when making your hybrid decision:
|Allows for in-person and virtual attendance||A less personal touch than in-person events|
|High levels of flexibility||Harder to keep remote supporters actively engaged|
|Safety and convenience for guests (virtual)||Possible increased expenses for AV and programming|
|Personal connection (in-person)||Complexity of planning for dual audiences|
|Increased donor reach and possible retention||Running a live auction / donation appeal more complex for dual audiences|
Your nonprofit’s exact circumstances will determine whether or not a hybrid fundraiser is the right move for your fundraising.
Once you’ve decided to undertake a hybrid fundraiser, it’s time to set a budget and determine your technical needs.
As with any fundraising event, it’s helpful to set clear goals and guidelines in advance:
Don’t try to handle everything on your own!
Form a hybrid fundraising team to handle tasks like:
Splitting up tasks simplifies entire process from planning to follow-up and ensures your team can divide and conquer for fundraising success.
We recommend recruiting your team early and clearly defining roles.
|Event Co-Chairs||Often volunteer based, these roles oversee the entire event and help lead the teams to success.|
|Fundraising Site Master||A staff member or volunteer in charge of setting up and managing your fundraising site.|
|Social Media & Communications Lead||A person in charge of promoting the fundraiser via email, print, social media, including recruiting Ambassadors to help increase reach.|
|Item Procurement Team||A team of staff/volunteers in charge of soliciting items & donations.|
|Sponsorships||A team dedicated to securing event sponsors and event advertising opportunities.|
|Supporter Engagement Team||This team ensures your attendees are pumped up and engaged throughout the fundraisers. They monitor chat, post real-time to social, tag supporters to increase participation and keep the momentum going through gamification activities!|
|Technical & Product Lead||If you’re doing any type of video, broadcasting, or live streaming, craft a Tech Lead to troubleshoot issues and help ensure things go off without a hitch.|
|Day-of Event Support||You’ll need someone (even a couple if you can) to manage and support day-of event questions, provide assistance to in-person and virtual attendees.|
|Day-of Logistics Coordinator||Find someone who is ultra-organized, and leverage their talents to help build timelines, oversee volunteers, managed the day of details.|
Your virtual fundraising software will be the central location for your hybrid event, so choose wisely!
To get the most from your software and your fundraising, there are components to look for. Make sure your solutions has these top 10 fundraising features:
If you are already a OneCause mobile bidding customer, GREAT NEWS, you are already set!
You just need to set-up your Giving Center site. We recommend these best practices to get your site up and running:
As we’ve mentioned, a big plus of hosting a hybrid fundraiser is that people can participate in-person and remote. This becomes a great opportunity for nonprofits to open their fundraising to supporters across the country.
It’s also a way, thanks to social media and social networks, to easily connect current supporters to your need to keep on fundraising.
Follow these 6 best practices to promote your hybrid fundraiser:
For your hybrid event to succeed, it has to stand out online. Donors need to know about your event, how to sign up, and what to expect on the big day.
Since anyone can join a virtual fundraiser, from anywhere, broadcast your message to as wide an audience as possible.
The details for planning and communicating to two audiences can seem daunting. Don’t worry! We’ve assembled the must do steps for your dual fundraising strategy.
Follow these best practices to set your event up for success:
As the day of the hybrid fundraiser rolls around, it’s time to open the fundraising!
Make sure each team member’s day-of responsibilities are clearly outlined. Have a staff member (or volunteers) on hand to answer questions and troubleshoot tech challenges for virtual and in-person attendees.
Depending on your campaign and the fundraising technology you choose, execute your launch plan. Be sure to:
Most of all, remember you will be speaking to two audiences: in-person attendees and virtual attendees. Make sure to use talk tracks, instructions, and information to make it clear what each audience needs to do.
As we mentioned during the planning phase, it is important to clearly map out your program and timeline for both audiences, to help the day of event go smoothly. Once the live event kicks off, make sure you:
The clock is ticking, and the end of your hybrid fundraiser is almost here.
Conclude your hybrid fundraising event with a grand finale, and close out all fundraising activities.
When possible, set up your mobile bidding software to automatically the close bidding for you. We recommend waiting until after the event to batch and process payments.
Once your hybrid event draws to a close, make sure to thank every participant, at-home and in the room with you. Donors love hearing how their support translates into concrete impact for your mission.
Congrats on making it through your first hybrid fundraising event! After any fundraising event, following up is critical.
To drive long-term engagement, immediately follow-up with donors and express your gratitude to everyone who attended and donated. Thank them for their support, talk specifically about the impact of their gifts, and offer additional ways to stay engaged with your cause.
You might even take the opportunity to invite them to a virtual tour, educational session, or volunteer activity! Consider sending a post-event survey, to generate more insights on your event’s strengths and areas for improvement.
When you build relationships with supporters, outside of the ask and beyond the fundraiser, you foster deeper engagement that helps cultivate year-round participation and support.
Use social media blast posts to thank everyone who helped: donors, staff, volunteers, and peer-to-peer participants alike.
Most importantly, tie all donor communications to the results you achieved, the dollars raised, and how the funds will be used to support your mission.
If individuals went above and beyond to contribute to your success, publicly recognize them and personally follow-up to express your gratitude. Here’s a few simple follow-up suggestions:
Evaluate the success of your hybrid event by tracking your performance and using the reporting/analytics in your fundraising software. Tracking your results with mobile bidding software will save everything in a centralized location for your team to success and analyze.
The five main questions to consider are:
After analyzing your data and your post-event survey, you will be ready to rock your next hybrid event to drive greater fundraising results and cultivate better supporter relationships.
If you are doing a live auction, be sure to work through these questions for both your live and remote audiences. Keep in mind who your main audience is, as you decide and prioritize your live auction experience.
Questions to think through:
Live Auction Tips:
Questions to think through:
Donation Appeal Tips:
Want to dive deeper into the world of hybrid & virtual fundraising? We have your back. Check out these resources: