Virtual Events & Livestream Fundraising for Nonprofits: An Overview

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This post was written by Vish Vass, Senior VP and Managing Director at GiveCentral, a giving and livestreaming platform specialized in supporting religious organizations.

By this time, nonprofit organizations have become well versed with handling crises and managing issues. The industry has consistently found reasons to continue with their fundraising efforts.

The pandemic has taken a lot from us, but it has taught us a lot as well. The survival instinct of nonprofits have gotten a lot better; strategies are being re-evaluated and plans are being altered to change the path of fundraising campaigns, the goal however remains the same. Galas and fundraising events have been cancelled, but virtual events and livestream fundraising for nonprofits are being adopted as alternatives. In the United States, people spend roughly 6 hours a day watching video content. Therefore, it is a good idea to go online with your fundraising plans.

In the process, there are several choices that you will have to make before you begin your execution.

  • Decide on the format
  • Choose your platform
  • Brief your team thoroughly
  • Plan and strategize
  • Promote your online event
  • Execute
  • Follow up communication

Choosing the right format

Let’s begin this with an example. Before you take up a certain course or career path, you decide what exactly you want to do in life. If you do not know what you wish to do, you will not know how to do it. Similarly, you need to pick the kind of online event that you wish to go for, in order to pave the way for the rest of the process. Virtual fundraising can be broadly divided into two types:

  • Livestreaming
    • This is the most common method of raising funds virtually. Like any other physical event, live streaming is a digital event that can include registration, ticketing and donation options or buttons anytime before, during, and after the event. Use a platform that offers a prominent donate button all through the event. If you had to cancel a fundraising gala or dinner due to the crisis, then this format is your best pick.
  • Fundraising page
    • This refers to a time-limited online fundraising campaign that will be hosted on a landing page. Depending on the activity you’re running, This format can be an ideal choice for birthday fundraisers and peer-to-peer fundraising, it all depends on the activity that you’re running. You can explore your options for fundraising activity here.

Choosing the ideal platform

Even as you raise funds through online platforms, you always require your donors and attendees to be managed. That is the reason why donor management software is important.

  • Research about different software
  • Identify your campaign’s goal
  • Decide accordingly

When it comes to the donation process, you can be rest assured about remote giving by opting for methods and tools such as online giving and text-to-give. In many cases, it is advisable to make your online event free of cost, the donation can be requested during and after the event. That way, you will also get an opportunity to interact first and take the initial step towards creating a bond.

Teamwork

Nonprofit organizations survive majorly on donors and funds. At the same time, your employees are equally important, you wouldn’t have made it this far without your team and your board members. Therefore, focus on being on the same page with your entire team regarding the whole idea of your online fundraising event.

Hold a meeting (most likely a video conference) and let them know what your goals are and how you would like each of your team members to contribute. Ask for their opinion and discuss how you can really push this event forward to achieve good results.

Planning your event

As you begin working on your event, draft a plan for each aspect of the project especially the event logistics. Make an outline of your goals, timeline, budget, landing page or platform, tools, registration, and so on. One benefit of online fundraising for nonprofits is that you can ignore the planning on expenses for food, flowers and decoration. Keep in mind that you will have to engage your audience throughout the event. Follow these general tips:

  • Have a pre-drafted script for reference
  • Bring vibes of excitement and positivity
  • Stream videos of speakers in between
  • Make use of the engagement tools on the platform
  • Downtime can be made musical
  • Run tests on your event before the actual date

Promoting your event

Your nonprofit now has a plan in place and the foundation has been laid. The next step is to go big on promotions. Promotions don’t necessarily have to be paid; create promotional creatives talking about your event and put it up on all digital spaces where your organization is present. Make sure that your website and social media handles are conveying the message to your audience.

If possible, get nonprofit influencers to promote your online event on their social media handles as well. These individuals can be people that you already know, you can make the request as a favor. Use engaging images and videos, the text on your posts should be simple and precise. Another great idea is to create tutorial videos for your attendees and put it out here. You can train your attendees beforehand so that they will face no trouble during the time of the event.

Execute your event

On the day of your virtual event, make sure that you make your audience feel comfortable and own the show. You have prepared so much for this event, so make it worth the while. There may be some inevitable mistakes because this is a live event, but your attendees are human too, so there is nothing to worry about.

Initiate and drive engagement by popping up certain questions and asking them to use their chat boxes and raise hand options. Thank them at the beginning and end of your event.

Following up

Reaching out to your supporters after your event is very important. Everybody loves being appreciated, therefore write them personalized emails addressing them by their names. If they haven’t donated or there wasn’t any donate button on the screen during the event, ask them for their support and tell them how much your organization appreciates the support.

Online fundraising for nonprofits requires the same attitude of gratitude, so say your thank you and if possible, keep them updated on what your nonprofit intends to do next. Retain your donors by constantly reminding them about their importance and how they are contributing to a larger good. You can further keep your donors engaged via social media by posting meaningful content, here is a social communications toolkit that will come in handy.


Virtual fundraising events can be made fun and interesting, you can even ask your audience what they would like to see in your next online event. Be willing to take good advice from different people and figure out how that can actually benefit your organization and the causes you support. Take it one day at a time and keep believing in your mission.

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