Fundraising events were among those that had to shift online when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. It was a move that unexpectedly opened new opportunities for fundraising efforts. Not only does online fundraising expand your reach; it also makes donating an easier process for benefactors.
One reliable way to do an online fundraising event is to livestream it. Data supports this. By end of 2020, 82 percent of traffic on the Internet was seen to come from livestreams. Running events in real time online helps engage with audiences more fully. Imagine how effective livestreaming can be particularly in helping raise awareness for charities.
Below, we list five innovative ways to hold fundraising events online.
You can still hold that gala dinner to raise funds for your charity, even if no one is physically together. Deliver a dinner spread to each of your guests’ homes right before the event. Have them lay out their meal at their own table. Then, the audience can all log in and watch your program while enjoying dinner together virtually.
On June 2020, for example, Miry’s List, a nonprofit organisation helping refugees in America, offered curbside pick-ups of family lunch packages to accompany their virtual fundraising event.
Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, the “dance” part of these entertaining gala dinners will have to be temporarily replaced by live dance performances. Hire professional dancers to heat up the dance floor while their audience, for now, lives vicariously through them.
The pandemic gave rise to livestreamed concerts. Some were artists just wanting to share their music, such as John Legend and Katy Perry. Others were organised to benefit specific charities. Artists United for Amazonia raised funds to help indigenous communities fight COVID-19. There was also Rise Up New York, a telethon that featured performances by Sting, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, and Bon Jovi, to benefit New York’s COVID-19 response.
For your event, you could invite bands to play in their own homes. Sell tickets to the virtual performance, and solicit donations in between the bands’ sets.
Ever thought of having your benefactors play online games to raise funds? You could invite corporate sponsors to donate prizes for the contestants. Then ask guests to organise themselves into teams for the different challenges you will be putting up. If you do not have online games ready, rent them on Gamefly. Next, get someone on your team to commentate live as the players—your benefactors—battle it out online. Between games, run short videos about your nonprofit. Make sure to link a donation page to your game event’s homepage. Attendees will not just be able to help a nonprofit; they will also be able to enjoy themselves, guilt-free, playing (or watching) online games in real time.
Art and wine nights
Perhaps there are few activities more relaxing than making art while enjoying a glass of good wine. You can turn fundraising night into something fun and peaceful with this concept.
Ask sponsors to deliver art supplies, plus some cheese and a bottle of wine, to your benefactors’ homes. Then ask an artist to donate their time to lead an art class over a live chat over Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other platforms you are comfortable with. The attendees and your benefactors can even get professional real-time feedback on their creations.
Virtual open house
Your main objective in this livestreamed event is to let your audience get to know your nonprofit more. Take them on a live virtual tour around your headquarters. Share funny or touching anecdotes about the place and its people as you walk through. The audience watching will appreciate knowing who they are donating their money to. Showing them the books will not be as interesting as giving them visual confirmation in your tour. Perhaps their donations made it possible for you to refurbish the children’s rooms in the orphanage you run. Maybe you were able to buy medical equipment for the nursing home you work at. Regardless of the help you received, it is good to show your benefactors the good their money is doing.
Virtual fundraisers began long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2020, however, the unpredictable health and social conditions have made people realise the utter lucrativeness of livestreaming fundraising events.
Would you like to try mounting one for your own nonprofit? Unearthed Productions can help make it happen.