Five Options for Your Fall Fundraising Plans
WRITTEN BY Denise Dunbar
With summer winding down, fall fundraisers are right around the corner. MobileCause recently hosted a webinar where we discussed the pros and cons of three different types of fundraising events: virtual, in-person, and hybrid. The survey question we posed to nonprofits during our webinar, “What are your fall fundraising event plans?” yielded some interesting responses.
- 9% responded they are having a virtual event
- 28% are going back to in-person events
- 16% are hosting a hybrid event
- 34% are still figuring it out
- 13% don’t have fall fundraising event plans yet
Let’s take a look at each of these five solutions to your fall fundraising plans and how you can maximize your success no matter which option you choose.
Hosting a Virtual Event
Nonprofits adapted quickly over the past months transitioning their galas, luncheons and 5K runs into virtual events with livestream or pre-recorded options, and with much success. The percentage of nonprofits continuing to host a virtual event this fall may rise depending on how each state handles restrictions with the new COVID-19 variant. There a few things you can do to increase the reach and engagement of your virtual while driving giving.
You can start by using an Event Page as a one-stop-shop for participants to donate, sponsor, register for the event, and learn more about your organization and programming. You can use one convenient link to share through social media, include in an e-blast, and embed on your organization’s website to help simplify all your promotional efforts.
Livestreaming in real time is not your only option with hosting a virtual event. Your nonprofit can pre-recorded your fundraiser, schedule it to begin at a certain time, and then leave the video on your Event Page for future viewing and to encourage additional donations. The bonus of virtual events is that participants can join from wherever they are and tune in when their schedule permits. Additionally, your nonprofit can engage with donors and attendees in a more personal way through the MobileCause comments feature, which is available in the live theme. You can try posting a welcome comment, send a “shout-out” to event sponsors, and the participants can leave positive messages, all to interact with your virtual program.
Going Back to In-Person Events
Nonprofits have been working remotely, disconnected from staff and their supporters for over a year. They may want to start building face-to-face connections with donors again, thank corporate sponsors, and engage with their community. Outdoor events such as a drive-in movie event, or fall festival are fun solutions to hosting an in-person fundraiser. They offer a great opportunity to increase community engagement and to connect with the new donors who’ve contributed to your organization during these challenging times.
An indoor event can work as well, keeping in mind social distancing rules and mask mandates for your area. A smaller group of attendees can work to the organization’s advantage by keeping expenses down and providing opportunities for your Executive Director to connect one-on-one with corporate sponsors, individual donors and board members.
Hosting a Hybrid Event
With a hybrid event, your organization can reach a wider audience and create a high-quality experience for viewers in-person and at home. Nonprofits can recreate the in-person experience for at-home viewers by sending attendees a party-in-a-box, which can include a cocktail kit, branded swag from sponsors or the host organization, bingo cards for a fun interactive component to the evening or provide local restaurant gift cards or meal delivery the night of the event. Having an emcee or Executive Director address virtual attendees during their opening remarks will make the event even more inclusive.
To successfully run a hybrid event, more resources will be needed to produce a seamless experience for those watching at home. In addition to the in-person production team, you’ll need some technical expertise to configure the virtual experience and time the virtual elements with the in-person event. But don’t worry, with a little forethought and preparation, your hybrid elements can easily go off without a hitch. Determining what you want to achieve for your hybrid event, your budget and the resources available will help you decide if going hybrid is the right option for you.
If you’d like to learn more about some of the easy ways you can host a hybrid event or add virtual elements to your fundraiser, check out our ebook, Adding Some Virtual to Your Fundraising: How and Why to Continue This Key Strategy.
Would you like to learn more about how MobileCause can help you fundraise at your next event?
Still Figuring it Out
With the new COVID-19 variant, and mask mandates being reinstated, it’s understandable that many organizations are still in limbo, trying to determine their fall fundraising plans. It’s important to take into consideration your revenue goals, budget constraints, resources available, and staffing needs. Maybe hosting a smaller virtual community engagement event in the fall and then a bigger fundraising event in the spring is right for you.
Perhaps you skip the fall fundraiser and create a virtual Day of Giving. You can create digital marketing materials to be shared on your Event Page and through social media. Your organization can also take this time to create video testimonials from board members, donors, constituents and alumni.
Don’t Have Fall Fundraising Event Plans Yet
Don’t fret! If a full-scale fundraising event isn’t in the cards, you can still meet your fundraising goals by focusing on donor stewardship, online giving and text-to-donate. Creating an SMS subscription keyword will allow you to connect with your donors and constituents where they are the most, on their mobile device. You can send out a link to a survey asking for ideas on what type of event they’d like to see your organization host, keep them updated on year-end giving plans, start a contest for some fun engagement or send out the latest newsletter. By creating a text-to-donate keyword, you can customize your donation form with three suggested amounts to help you reach your fundraising goal, add a tribute section for donors to donate in someone’s honor or even add a corporate matching option. The donation form and text to donate keyword can also be shared broadly in social media, in an email signature or scheduled e-blasts.
Whether you choose virtual, in-person, or hybrid we hope these strategies and solutions will help you determine the best option to set your organization up for success this coming fall season!
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