How OneCause Created a Virtual Event and Built Community Online
With stay-at-home orders and social distancing, the OneCause Team hadn’t been able to gather as a community for months. We were missing each other, and wanted to put ‘Our Why’ (Building A Better Tomorrow) into action.
We decided to do something to help our local community during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also shaping the future of virtual fundraising.
We hosted our very own virtual event using OneCause Virtual and Live Stream Event Software to raise money for our hometown nonprofit, Second Helpings.
By using the Virtual and Live Stream Event Software, we created a memorable online fundraising experience, curated our own content, livestreamed our event, and raised funds together in a virtual world.
At OneCause, we felt a real need to get in and help. We are busy working on new solutions to help nonprofits keep fundraising in a virtual world, but as a team, we wanted to also be able to give back to our own community and help those in need during this time. So, we decided to host our own virtual fundraiser, using our new Virtual and Live Stream Event Software,” Stephanie Ragozzino, Chief Product Officer at OneCause.
With shelter-in-place still in effect, and limits to in-person gatherings, we had to have an easy way to launch an event and raise funds for our community. Enter the Virtual and Live Stream Event Software. We wanted to explore innovative ways to:
- Maximize engagement in a virtual world
- Increase awareness for a good cause
- Gather as a community and celebrate
- Engage donors virtually to maximize fundraising revenue
The goal was to build the OneCause community online and create a strong connection to the cause we were raising money for (Second Helpings), so that people understood them impact of giving, and were inspired to donate.
Now that we had this software solution, it was time to plan our virtual fundraiser FAST. We had only 2 weeks to plan, create and execute a seamless online event. We quickly mobilized our Virtual Event Committee and started to:
- Set-up our Virtual Event Site
- Secure prizes, raffle items and sponsors
- Launch Raffle, Online Donation, and Challenge Campaigns
- Create compelling multi-media content
- Leverage existing videos and images, where possible
- Define impact levels, messaging, and mission stories
- Send invitations from the event site
- Track registrations, fundraising progress, and real-time event stats
- Build a program timeline of video, livestream, fundraising and entertainment
- Bring to life our event theme “A Night In…”
Like the rest of the country, we’ve been stuck at home for three months. We wanted to have something to celebrate, to connect to, so we gathered online. Our theme “A Night In…” was a fun play on shelter in place. Everyone picked a places they wished they could go to. People had virtual backgrounds, shared pictures and memories. It was our way to have fun and fundraise.” Steve Johns, CEO at OneCause
The virtual event was a huge success: we built community, had fun and surpassed fundraising goals. So what tips do we have for virtual event success?
Create Multiple Fundraising Streams
Our virtual event had three main fundraising streams:
#1 – Pre-event Donations
All supporters were invited to the virtual event before event night to participate in the fundraising challenges and raffle. The excitement fueled from the challenges and the awesome raffle package set the event up for success and high anticipation for the livestream event.
#2 – Raffle
The ‘Dreamin Big Raffle’ had three ticket options for a 3-night stay in Lexington to tour the Bourbon Trail and other luxury accommodations. Big thanks to our friends at HGA Fundraising for providing this awesome package!
OneCause Nation thought it was awesome too. Raffle tickets were flying into their pockets (we had to increase the amount of tickets twice), selling over 1200 tickets and creating a competitive giving moment that was fun!
#3 – Live Donation Appeal
On the night of “A Night In,” our host and emcee called for live donations after we showed an appeal video and communicated the impact of donations.
The virtual event made it easy to donate with the donation button overlaid right on the livestream video. Participants simply had to click the Donation button and complete their transaction all from the same page as the livestream.
Incorporate Impact Messaging
We wanted to keep Second Helpings’ mission at the center of everything we did. From building the site to event night, Second Helpings was our ‘why’ for our virtual event.
Naturally, it made sense to feature their mission on the ‘Story’ of our site. We included their mission statement, their logo, and the COVID-19 relief campaign they were pushing at that time. On event night, we played a pre-recorded video with Second Helpings CEO, Jennifer Viagran, to help bring the mission and need to life.
To align the cause with donations, impact statements with donation amounts were included to make clear the tangible impact their money would have in their community.
Engage Supporters with a Multi-Media Experience
Virtual capabilities is now a necessity. The Virtual and Live Stream Event Software created a multi-media experience easily streamed from anywhere, all executed in one place, and the mix of live plus pre-recorded video elements, made the event engaging.
We used a few new best practices to engage remote supporters:
- Livestreaming & Embedded Content. OneCause’s virtual event programming included pre-recorded videos for the fundraising challenges and nonprofit highlight as well as livestreamed moments with key people involved in the virtual event planning committee.
- Looping Slideshow. The first thing you would notice when you visited the OneCause “A Night In…” site was the slideshow full of fundraising information, destination pictures, sponsor highlights, and featured OneCause challenges. The slideshow was easy to create with Google slides and then embedded in the virtual site while being updated automatically.
- Real-time Thermometer. As the donations came in, our thermometer reflected it. We even reached our goal before the event started. OneCausers were chasing that thermometer!
Put the ‘Fun’ in Fundraising
Building virtual community on event night meant fun was a necessity. We wanted to feel the emotions of being in the same room with all of us together again.
To do so, the OneCause Virtual Event Planning Committee came up with creative and fun ways to connect participants to the event and each other:
Theme. The theme, “A Night In…” allowed OneCause Nation to choose their favorite place in the world and be there (virtually) for one night only. Virtual backgrounds, memories, and pictures were shared as each person was teleported to their favorite place!
Click through to see how Team OneCause participated in the theme!
5 lucky volunteers from the OneCause team donated their time, dance moves, crazy outfits, talents, and even their face, for a good cause.
We set a fundraising goal or challenge level for each. Once the donation amount was attained for the challenges, the participant either recorded their video or did it live on the night of the event.
Laughter, fun, and excitement were built around these challenges—not to mention the increase in donations from all supporters that wanted to make sure these challenges happened!
Click through to see each fundraising challenge!
“The OC Cocktail” was created and perfected just for our OneCause Team! We put together an ingredient list, recipe steps, and several tips to make it perfect just for each person. Just another way to bring fun and celebration into the virtual world.
Sponsors are always very important to the success of any fundraising event. In a virtual world, you need to find digital ways to showcase sponsors and give them online visibility.
The good news is: the event site allowed space on the home page to highlight sponsors.
We displayed rotating sponsors’ logos on our virtual event site, included a slide for them in the slideshow, and gave a sponsor shout out in our livestream programming.
The virtual event was a night full of fun and impact. At the end of the evening, we exceeded our fundraising goals:
- 400% to fundraising goal
- 125+ Participants
- 1,213 raffle tickets sold
- 5 Challenges, 100% of goal
We had a tiny team of five, and literally two weeks to create our first virtual event. The software made it easy to get the team up and running, build out our fundraiser, and engage supporters. We went from event concept to sending invitations in 5 days,” said Ragozzino.
Connect with a Cause
To learn more about Second Helpings, that nonprofit that OneCause raised funds for, check out their mission here.
More fundraising resources are just a click away.
- Virtual Fundraising Resource Center: Whether you’re undertaking an online pivot or looking for new virtual fundraising strategies, we’ve compiled resources to help.
- How to Host a Hybrid Fundraiser in 10 Steps: Ready to combine the power of in-person and virtual fundraising? Our guide to hybrid fundraising has you covered!
- Ultimate Virtual Fundraising Guide: Ideas, tools, and resource to help you plan a successful virtual fundraiser and raise more for your cause.