Raise 2020: Our Top Takeaways for Fearless Fundraisers

That’s a wrap on Raise 2020, our very first all-virtual conference! The whole OneCause team is so proud that we could connect nonprofits of all shapes and sizes with the insights and innovative tips they need to keep fearlessly fundraising in today’s changing landscape. Thank you to our amazing speakers who lent their expertise!

We want to share a few final takeaways by highlighting three of the top-attended sessions from Raise 2020.

If you couldn’t make it this year or want to revisit any of this year’s sessions, the entire Raise library is available on demand.

Virtual galas and events are a huge buzzword from this year's Raise conference.

7 Key Elements of a Successful Virtual Gala

Explore virtual gala tips from The Gala Team at Raise 2020.

This knockout session was hosted by fundraising expert Reggie Rivers, president of The Gala Team. Reggie walked us through the essentials for planning and hosting a successful virtual gala, a brand new challenge for most nonprofits.

Here are a few pro tips from Reggie’s presentation:

  • Don’t make your virtual gala too long. 30 to 45 minutes is an ideal length. Remember, you’re not squeezing a traditional event into a shorter timeframe, but creating a completely different type of experience for donors.
  • Interview your speakers. Interviews create a much more engaging and dynamic experience for viewers. Instead of offering a schedule of just speeches or presentations, mix it up with different formats to maintain donors’ interest.
  • Recruit a “credible leader” for your gala. This individual will serve as your nonprofit’s cheerleader to highlight your mission and impact. Due to the shorter program, they’ll need to have instant credibility. A nonprofit’s director or a school’s principal are great examples.
  • Feature a mix of multimedia content. A balance of livestreamed and recorded video content will keep viewers engaged for longer. A good range to aim for would be 20-40% recorded content, with the rest of the program hosted and streamed live.

Most importantly, remember that your donors attend your events because they love your organization and your mission! A perfectly flawless virtual gala can be tough to pull off, but donors will be forgiving if you remind them of why your work matters, who it helps, and how their support makes a difference.

Key Takeaway from this Session

Zoom fatigue is a real problem! Your donors and attendees want more from your virtual gala than just another long video call. By mixing up your gala with live and recorded multimedia, mobile bidding, paddle raises, and real-time communication and updates, you’ll maximize engagement and revenue.

We were proud to show off the Virtual Event Center at Raise 2020.

Introducing the Virtual Event Center from OneCause

This session from Raise 2020 gives viewers a complete tour of the new Virtual Event Center.
This session, hosted by Kelly Velasquez-Hague and Stephanie Raggozino of the OneCause team, gave viewers a behind-the-scenes tour of our newest offering, the Virtual Event Center.

After nonprofits of all sizes scrambled to pivot in-person events to virtual in the spring of 2020, it was clear that a comprehensive solution was necessary. We designed our virtual event platform to streamline your attendees’ and your team’s experience from start to finish. In this session, the OneCause team walked us through the Virtual Event Center’s core features and a few success stories from nonprofits that have used it.

They also highlighted the three guiding elements of the Virtual Event Center:

  1. Your site. Your event’s website is essential for centralizing the virtual event experience. Plus, the right software features will unlock new ways to boost pre-event engagement!
  2. Your story. Highlighting your mission and your organization’s impact are critical. The Virtual Event Center makes it easy to center your story and drive more engagement.
  3. Your show. Create a dynamic and intuitive viewing experience. Bring everything together in one seamless virtual program that combines multimedia, interactive elements, and built-in fundraising tools that won’t distract viewers during your event.

Key Takeaway from this Session

Donors have largely been patient and forgiving amid the shift to virtual events, but never forget that you have to actively compete for their attention!

A seamless virtual event experience will be your best bet to stand out and make powerful impressions. With a virtual event platform that offers a coherent, intuitive viewer experience and an easy management process for your team, you’ll be able to make the most of your (and your donors’) time.

Virtual peer-to-peer fundraising was a popular topic of discussion at Raise 2020.

The Roadmap to a Successful Peer-to-Peer Campaign

This session from Raise 2020 walked through the essential of P2P fundraising in the virtual era.

This extremely informative session came courtesy of Chris Hammond and Brittany LaGanke of Corporate Giving Connection. In it, they walked through all of the essentials of peer-to-peer fundraising in the virtual era.

Peer-to-peer fundraising has been a popular tactic for nonprofits for a while now, but challenges around scalability have kept many organizations from fully developing concrete P2P strategies. However, the high flexibility of these campaigns and their virtual-friendly nature have made them more impactful than ever for nonprofits fundraising online.

Here are a few highlights from the session:

  • There are many benefits of P2P fundraising. These campaigns are invaluable for meeting tons of new donors. Plus, you won’t have to over-rely on your existing donors to reach our goals, allowing you to focus more on acquisition and relationship-building.
  • Diversify your campaign’s strategy. Maximize engagement with multiple touch points, including small outreach events, email, social media, direct mail, and (if applicable) your main virtual event. Just be sure to unify all of your messages with a cohesive story!
  • Develop expectations with your fundraisers. Actively communicate with your fundraisers to set the right expectations. Ask about their comfort soliciting donations, the generosity of their networks, and if they’ll be able to give your campaign a personal touch.

Another key point to consider: Recruiting the right fundraisers is a major gap in many nonprofits’ peer-to-peer strategies. With support and the right resources, even smaller teams of 1 to 25 fundraisers is a fantastic starting point for your campaign. This session walked through a few key supporter segments where you’re most likely to find your superstar fundraisers to help kickstart the recruitment process.

Key Takeaway from this Session

Taking all of the guesswork off your volunteer fundraisers’ plates will dramatically boost your results with P2P fundraising. As Chris Hammond put it in his presentation, “Let your fundraisers know it won’t be a heavy lift.”

Personal support, a library of graphics and testimonials, and easy-to-use email and social media templates will make your fundraisers’ jobs much easier. It also shows them that you’re invested in their success. Plus, with ready-made resources, it’s much easier to scale the number of fundraisers you can effectively engage over time.

2020 Raise Award Winners

Finally, we want to take one more opportunity to congratulate our 2020 Raise Award winners. These fearless fundraisers display the vision, passion, and dedication it takes to drive their missions forward, even during a year of unprecedented challenges.

We're proud to announce and congratulate the 2020 Raise Award winners!

We’re so proud to honor this year’s winners for their drive, perseverance, and creativity in tackling 2020’s challenges head-on. Driving nonprofit fundraising, storytelling, and innovation forward will be more critical than ever for the social good sector, so we can all learn a lesson or two from these amazing leaders.

Thanks to everyone who made Raise 2020 a success!

Bringing fundraising professionals and industry experts together to share tips and celebrate successes is a major highlight of our year here at OneCause especially this year as we all continue adapting to the new normal of virtual fundraising.

If you were unable to join us this year or check out a session you missed, remember that the entire Raise 2020 library of content is available on demand. For year-round tips and industry insights, stay on the lookout for new webinar announcements, too!

Happy fundraising!

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