How to Plan & Host a Hybrid Fundraiser in 10 Steps

New Fundraising Reality

As we move past the pandemic, the world of fundraising continues to change and evolve. One thing is clear: having strategies to reach donors both virtually and in-person is a fundraising necessity.

Nonprofits need to find ways to engage dual audiences from both in the ballroom and at home, as we navigate past the pandemic and 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.

Why Hybrid Fundraising?

As the country, people, and world move at different speeds out of the pandemic, nonprofits are providing their donors with fundraising options. Having alternatives is key meeting donors where they are – and where they are most comfortable.

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 because of the pandemic, 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.

Hybrid Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

What is Hybrid Fundraising?

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.

Hybrid Fundraiser Definition

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.

Hybrid Fundraising FAQs

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:

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Types of Hybrid Events

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.

  • Small VIP Events: Small group of VIP supporters (e.g., major donors, VP ticketed guests, board members, etc) join the event in-person, while the virtual audience participates remotely in the fundraising (via mobile bidding software) and programming. Many nonprofits are designing premium ticket packages and experience for the VIP in-person attendees.
  • Viewing Parties: ‘Tables’ of 8 or 10 (or numbers within current social distancing regulations) can gather in a table sponsor’s home and view the live stream event together. Or individual families participate in virtual fundraising from their own homes and connected to the event online. ​Some are even partnering with a hotel to use empty rooms as a private dining / watch party space.
  • Drive-Ins: Groups in vehicles drive-in to an onsite or outdoor location, to attend an event. They do so all from the comfort of their cars, enjoying programming or entertainment, and participate in fundraising from their phones. Guests also have the ability to join from their homes. ​
  • Golf: In-person golf outing takes place while engaging an at-home audience for golf updates, live and silent auctions, and livestream programming. ​
  • Education Focused Events: Some nonprofits are using the hybrid format for donor cultivation, stewardship, and educational events. For these events, a small group can gather in-person for a presentation, speaker series, or seminar, and the content can be broadcast simultaneously to a wider online audience.
  • Broadcast Headquarters: Is where nonprofits use a set location like a studio, venue, or even a host home as a central location broadcasting to a virtual audience. When using a production headquarters, nonprofits are often partnering directly with a A/V, Event Planning or Event Production crew to help execute the event broadcast. ​

Feel free to get creative with your fundraising ideas during and beyond COVID-19, to engage donors and drive excitement for your event.

How to Plan & Host a Hybrid Fundraiser in 10 Steps

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:

How to Plan & Host a Hybrid Fundraiser in 10 Steps

Step 1: Weigh Your Hybrid Options

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:

  1. How long do you have before your event?
    • Note: we recommend having at least 120 days/4 months to plan before tackling a hybrid event.)
  2. What is your technical experience with streaming, fundraising technology, or mobile bidding? ​Are you planning to use a production company?​
  3. What’s the focus of the event (fundraising, cultivation, education or stewardship)?
  4. If fundraising, what fundraising activities will you have? Silent auction, live auction, raffles or games, donation appeal?
  5. Where is your primary audience (and biggest spenders)? Will they be virtual or in the room?
  6. Will you be selling tickets to your hybrid event?
    • Note: There are a variety of options being used, many nonprofits sell tickets to the in-person event and allow complimentary virtual participation; some groups  sell tickets to both, creating a VIP package for the in-person and a “party in place” package for remote supporters.
  7. If you are hosting an education, cultivation, or stewardship… what’s the programming (seminar, speaker series, panel, workshop)?
  8. What are your goals for the virtual and online experiences? Where are they the same? Where do they differ?

Evaluate Hybrid Pros & Cons

Allows for in-person and virtual attendanceA less personal touch than in-person events
High levels of flexibilityHarder 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 retentionRunning 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.

Step 2: Determine Budget & Tech Needs

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:

  • Set your budget. Work with your team to determine a workable budget for your hybrid event.
    • What are repeatable expense areas? Look at your previous fundraisers and determine what expenses will still be needed in your hybrid event.
    • What are new expense areas? Determine what expenses will be specific to your hybrid fundraiser.
  • What technology do you have? Do you have mobile bidding, online fundraising, or virtual fundraising software in place? You will need technology to engage your remote donors and facilitate fundraising for all attendees.
  • Set your goals. Determining specific revenue and engagement goals goes a long way to set your fundraiser up for success.

Pro Fundraising Tip

  • Work backwards to determine fundraising specifics.
    • For a silent auction, use our guide to pricing auction items to learn more about pricing and revenue generation.
    • For donation appeals, how many donations of different sizes will you need to reach your revenue goal? What percentage from your in-person vs. virtual donors?
    • For live auction, how many items? How much typically do you generate for each?
  • Timeline for the event. What’s the timing of your hybrid event? Will the in-person and virtual events have the same timeline.

hybrid fundraiser goals

Step 3: Assemble Your Hybrid Team

Don’t try to handle everything on your own!

Form a hybrid fundraising team to handle tasks like:

  • Technology
  • Promotions
  • Item procurement
  • Sponsorships
  • Fundraising software
  • Day of logistics
  • Supporter engagement

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.

Typical hybrid fundraiser roles include:

Event Co-ChairsOften volunteer based, these roles oversee the entire event and help lead the teams to success.
Fundraising Site MasterA staff member or volunteer in charge of setting up and managing your fundraising site.
Social Media & Communications LeadA person in charge of promoting the fundraiser via email, print, social media, including recruiting Ambassadors to help increase reach.
Item Procurement TeamA team of staff/volunteers in charge of soliciting items & donations.
SponsorshipsA team dedicated to securing event sponsors and event advertising opportunities.
Supporter Engagement TeamThis 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 LeadIf 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 SupportYou’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 CoordinatorFind someone who is ultra-organized, and leverage their talents to help build timelines, oversee volunteers, managed the day of details.

Step 4: Build Hybrid Fundraising Site

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:

  1. CLOUD-BASED. Being able to access all of your tools and data from anywhere at any time is crucial. Cloud-based software also makes it much easier for your team to stay organized remotely.
  2. FLEXIBLE DESIGN. Choose a platform that lets you customize your fundraising site and individual participant fundraising pages to fit your brand and needs.
  3. MOBILE OPTIMIZED. The number of nonprofit transactions made through mobile devices increased by 41% over the past year. It’s essential that your software is optimized to meet donors where they are – their smartphones.
  4. ITEM MANAGEMENT. Make sure your software enables you to track and manage your auction items. Even better if it has functionality to easily group related items into packages to maximize revenue.
  5. MOBILE BIDDING. Of course, this is a must have. Your mobile bidding software should have features that let you raise funds anytime, anywhere, on any device.
  6. PAYMENT AND REGISTRATION. Your online fundraising site should serve as a central hub to register guests online for bidding/donating and processing payments. Make sure your software is PCI compliant with built-in security functionality.
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATIONS. Link your social channels directly from your fundraising software to maximize your reach and communicate your cause.
  8. BUILT-IN COMMUNICATIONS. Online notifications make it easy to remind participants before, during, and after your fundraiser. Find a technology that has built in texting to make communication easy.
  9. CUSTOM PAGES. Your fundraising software should let you create unlimited custom fundraising and informational pages
  10. REPORTING AND ANALYTICS. This is absolutely essential. Any tool you use should make it easy to gather and analyze your fundraising data. Virtual and online fundraising software should have built-in analytics tools, reporting, and/or integrations with top CRMs.

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:

  1. ENGAGEMENT: The key to hybrid is creating engagement. Make it simple by launching your Giving Center on OneCause. This will be your main hybrid hub for tickets, event information, registration, fundraising, donations, auction items and bidding, sponsor promotion – everything in one place!
  2. PROMOTION: Through your promotion plans (see more on that in next section), drive interested people to the Giving Center to purchase tickets, enter their credit card, and engage (and hopefully donate) early.
  3. MISSION FOCUS: Have mission messaging/humanize brand with images on your fundraising site. Share impact statements, and host videos about your mission to bring your event and cause to life.

Pro Fundraising Tip: Two audiences

Step 5: Promote Your Hybrid Fundraiser

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:

  1. INFORM SUPPORTERS. Let supporters know you’re going hybrid. Give them the dates of your event or campaign and tell them about the goals you hope to achieve. Don’t forget to tell them how you plan to use the proceeds. Sharing impact is important in the fundraising world!
  2. EXPLAIN HOW TO PARTICIPATE. Some of your supporters might not have done online fundraising before, so you’ll need to explain how to participate. If you are simply taking your mobile bidding online, let people know it’s the same site and software they would use for you onsite auction. Reassure them that the only thing different is that they can bid from their couches, or wherever they want! Virtual attendees can even organize virtual tables or viewing parties.
  3. SHARE THE LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISING SITE. Your online fundraising site (Giving Center for OneCause customers) will serve as your fundraising headquarters for in-person donors and online donors. Share the link with supporters so they can start bidding and donating! Put your auction catalog, donation appeal, fixed priced items (raffles, parties, merchandise) on your site. If you are running a peer-to-peer hybrid campaign, ask your participants to spin up their personal fundraising pages and share the links on social media.
  4. LEVERAGE AMBASSADORS. Think about your most loyal supporters, volunteers, donors and staff and make them Ambassadors. Tap them to help you spread the word far and wide about your hybrid fundraiser. You can set them up for success with social media toolkits and templates. Motivate them with contests for who can get the newest bidders, donors, or social reach. Make it fun for them to raise funds for your online efforts.
  5. BLAST ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Social is the hybrid fundraisers’ best friend! It’s free and has unlimited reach. Create a social media plan to promote, engage, and excite supporters. Let your social media army loose. Be sure to embed mission messaging, impact statements, and the “why it’s important” in your populated posts on your fundraising software to connect with supporters.
  6. REACH OUT TO PARTNERS. Be sure to make full use of your nonprofit’s network of partners and sponsors. Businesses and other organizations can help broadcast your event to their audiences, and sponsors can provide reach to strengthen your hybrid promotional strategies.

Multi-Channel Promotion - Communication - hybrid

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.


Step 6: Tips for Planning Your Hybrid Event

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:

  • AUDIENCE FOCUS: First start by determining if the main part of your audience is going to be in-person or virtual. This will help you shape and define your program and supporter experience. You can define ‘main audience’ as either:
    1. Majority of attendees, or
    2. Where your VIPs/Major Donors are
  • DUAL ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY: You also need a 2-prong strategy to maximize engagement (and giving) for both in-person and virtual attendees. Some experiences will be shared (main program, auction, donation), but some may be different, for example:

Dual Experience Differences - Virtual vs Hybrid

  • REGISTRATION & TICKETING: Be sure to setup and create differentiated Ticket Types as the primary way to know who is virtual vs in-person.
    • Many nonprofits are not charging virtual attendees to participate, unless there is some perk or package involved in the virtual experience (e.g., party in place, Home VIP packages). They see free online participation as a way to bring in new supporters and grow reach. It’s up to you to determine what makes sense for your nonprofit and your supporters – the great thing about hybrid is its versatility!
    • It’s okay to charge for virtual attendees (you could even have Virtual VIPs who get dinner); but in the ticket process make it clear what you get for attending in-person vs virtual experience.
    • Use the Giving Center to setup and showcase customer pages to explain in-person and virtual expectations and attendee experience (e.g., FAQs, maps, programming timeline, login information, viewing from home instructions, etc.).
    • Consider eliminating in-person registration since your attendees have already registered online. Have a greeter concierge checking people in; place any paddles or items at tables. This will reduce volunteers and equipment needed and help maintain social distancing.
    • Guests can put their own CC on file, plan ahead to help those who need assistance, with a chat line or volunteer in charge of support.
  • PROGRAM: To generate momentum and energy for both audiences, during your hybrid event by having a full flushed out program and timeline is very important.
    • Keep your program short – 30-60 mins – to keep both onsite & virtual attendees focused and engaged.
    • Create and publish a program timeline on your fundraising site (Giving Center for OneCause customers). Also post it on social media, your website, and other communication platforms you are using.
    • Be clear to both audiences about how they will interact and participate in the program.
  • LIVESTREAM: Be sure to map out how you will livestream your hybrid event to your virtual audience. With mobile bidding, your remote supporters can connect into your fundraising, auctions, and donations from anywhere.
    • Be sure to provide clear instructions on how to log into your program and what live streaming service you are using.
    • We highly recommend testing and performing dry runs of your event program and livestream technology, with your team and any vendors, to work out any issues prior to your hybrid fundraiser.
  • COMMUNICATION: Emphasize communication before and during your event. Communication is key to keeping both audiences up to date on your hybrid fundraising event.
    • If you or your supporters are new to technologymake sure your donors understand how the event will work before launch day.
    • Before event: Build momentum (for everyone) by communicating often, and having activities leading up to the program. This includes, social media contests, hashtags, emails, texts – and other forms of pre-event communication.
    • During event: use live announcements and text message communication to keep attendees in the loop during your event.
    • After event: After your event ends, be sure to quickly follow-up with donors to thank them for their support and offer more ways to stay engaged. You might even take the opportunity to invite them to your next virtual event! Consider sending event surveys, as well, to generate more insights on your event’s strengths and areas for improvement.

Pro Fundraising Tip: Communication Strategies

  • CREATE OFF-SCREEN ENGAGEMENT: To make sure you are driving engagement for those not in the room, be sure to feature off-screen activities for your virtual attendees.
    • Look for breaks in the program, and how you can keep remote supporters’ attention. The pull is high in the virtual world for people to hop off or get distracted. You will need to find ways to keep them engaged and tuning in.
    • This could be done through built-in video breaks, social challenges, trivia, live shoutouts, and more.
  • SPONSORS: Plan out how you are going to highlight sponsors before and during your hybrid event.
    • Add logos to your fundraising site (Giving Center for OneCause customers). These will appear and scroll on attendees’ phones and devices, providing digital visibility to your sponsors.
    • Create social media promotion plan to share sponsor love online.
    • Share sponsor videos or graphics highlight their brands, and thanks them for their support.
    • Announce sponsors live during your hybrid event welcome, and throughout your program.
    • Add logos to fundraising scoreboards during your event.


Step 7: Execute Your Hybrid Event

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:

  • Turn off ticketing options. If you are selling tickets online, be sure to have a cut off date/time, and clearly communicate when ticket sales will close for all attendees.
  • Start the bidding. We recommend opening up bidding at least one week before your event. But if you did not do pre-bidding, be sure to open your auction early on event day.
  • Turn on your online donations, fixed price items, and any other online fundraising activities.
  • Clearly explain the bidding and donation process to your attendees. Provide instructions on a custom page, have an FAQ page, or supply a quick training video on your site.
  • Send frequent communications and updates to your supporters to keep the momentum going and sustain bidding leading up to your event.

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:

  • Keep supporters fully engaged throughout your hybrid event. Make sure your attendees, especially virtual attendees, stay engaged by incorporating plenty of interactive elements, using compelling multimedia, and fostering plenty of communication in your event program. It’s all too easy to tune out of a live-streamed event or multi-day virtual activities.
  • Stick to Your Timeline: Try to stick to your timeframes and program. You have a certain amount of “patience equity” with your attendees, and when you let your program meander and run over, you squander trust and erode their patience. This concept is especially important in virtual events. The more you manage your timeline, the happy your donors and more apt they are the stay engaged in your fundraising!
  • Use gamification tools. Speaking of boosting engagement, gamification is an extremely effective way to ensure donors stay excited throughout the event. Fundraising thermometers, auction leaderboards, ambassador contests, matching gifts, themes, and award ceremonies can all boost your event’s energy and drive stronger fundraising results.
  • Send updates and share progress. No matter which type of hybrid fundraiser you are running, actively engage supporters throughout. Give them updates on high value items, progress towards your goals, and reminders about when the fundraising will close. Use live-streamed and text message communication to keep them in the loop during your event.


Step 8: End Your Hybrid Fundraiser

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.

Pro Fundraising Tip: Online Platforms

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.


Step 9: Thank & Deepen Donor Engagement

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.

  • Learn firsthand what your supporters want from your organization.
  • Show through openness to feedback that your organization appreciates them and their input.

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.

Social Donor - Donor Gratitude Statistic

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:

  • Send out personal thank-you notes for large donors.
  • Send personalized emails that recognize donors for their support; share about impact.
  • Utilize social media, email campaign, 1 text message (don’t overdo texts) to update on event success.
  • Keep donation package open post-event, 1-2 days. Direct non-donors back to the site, consider a “we are $xx away from our goal” message.
  • Blast results on all social channels.
  • Take net new donor names and build an awareness email cadence (educate and engage online).
  • Thank Ambassadors with a virtual goal-reached zoom call.


Step 10: Evaluate Performance & Analyze Data

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:

  1. How well did we do at reaching our goals?
  2. What can we change next time to make our hybrid fundraiser more successful?
  3. What areas over-performed? What areas under-performed?
  4. What was the participation % (percentage of registered attendees who donated or purchased items)?
  5. Where was the fundraising performance? In the room or virtual/online?

Pro Tip: OneCause Customers

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.

Bonus Content: Best Practices by Fundraising Stream

Silent Auction

  • Silent Auction should definitely begin pre-event. We recommend opening your bidding at least one week before your event.
  • Silent Auction should end on event night – it’s when you have the most momentum and interest. Groups keeping bidding open longer, are not seeing substantive increases and it delays the payment reconciliation for you and your guests.
  • There is no need to close the Auction before the end of the program. With virtual attendees it’s easy for them to be distracted at home, so be sure to give them multiple ways to engage, watch, and bid.
  • For your in-person event, rethink the need for bringing all items to the venue. Because you have two audiences, you can save yourself time, work and space by showcasing all items online. Remember, if a lot of your winners will be remote, bringing everything on site means bringing a lot home at the end of the night.
  • Focus on procuring items that are easy to ship. Be sure to build in shipping costs/set up shipping charges within your mobile bidding system, so you can add the winner’s automatically at checkout.
  • Reimagine checkout:
    • Encourage supporters to process their own credit card and send themselves a receipt.
    • Consider a touchless item pick-up with items in a central location onsite and post-event. Have winners show their winning items list on their mobile device to a volunteer.
    • If you are hosting a post-event item pick-up, take the time to organize items by bidder to speed up the process even more.

Live Auction

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:

  • Are you doing an auction where people will raise their hands in the room?
  • Are you doing an auction where everyone (in-person or virtual) bids on their phone with a few large virtual bidders connected with an onsite proxy?
  • Where are your big buyers?  What method will make you the most money?
  • How will you train your auctioneer on your program and plan?
  • How will virtual people view the Live Auction?

Live Auction Tips:

  • Keep the live auction short, or scatter in program, to avoid virtual viewers just signing off.  Approach is different in a hybrid world.
  • If you are doing a live auction, everyone (in-person or virtual) should bid on their phones OR use onsite proxy bidders to place proxy bids from virtual viewers.
  • Regardless of where the main audience is, Auctioneers and MCs need to play to the camera so both in-person and virtual attendees can enjoy the show (think of the Oscars or SNL).​

Donation Appeal

Questions to think through:

  • Are you doing one large appeal? Or staggered ask for donations throughout the program? Or telethon style program and ask? Whatever you choose, keep the ask short and focused!
  • Will you do electronic donations or Paddle Raise?  Where are your big donors in-person or virtual?

Donation Appeal Tips:

  • Secure matching gifts to maximize impact and increase giving momentum.
  • Create competitions leading up to event.
  • We recommend a short program, with a single appeal moment to focus attention, energy, and giving of both audiences.
  • Donor recognition is important—make sure you recognize virtual and in-person donors.
  • If you are doing a traditional paddle raise for your in-person audience, use spotters or OneCause Spotter Tool for in-room donation. Have virtual supporters donate electronically.
  • Auctioneers/Emcees have been successful with having a scoreboard (or at least a computer screen) in front of them to call out names of mobile donors.
  • We recommend a talk track at end of paddle raise – “If I haven’t called a level you are comfortable with, or if you prefer to donate on your phone, please press the Donate Now button.”  This way you can continue to engage and collect smaller donations.

Get Started with OneCause

Successful auctions require powerful fundraising software! The OneCause Fundraising Platform makes giving modern, flexible, and seamless to drive deeper engagement and grow your fundraising. Take a look at this versatile all-in-one fundraising software that meets the expectations of today’s donor, supporting any event, in-person, virtual, or hybrid.
All New OneCause Fundraising Platform