By Experience

Falling confetti

7 Practical Tips for Raising Money with a Virtual Fundraiser

After many years of experience with their established annual fundraiser, most nonprofits have a solid idea of the amount of donations they can realistically expect.

However, when pivoting to a virtual event, we often hear executive directors and directors of development ask if they can still expect to raise that same amount of money... or less, when it comes to a virtual fundraiser.

Based on our experiences with Happily fundraiser events for Equality Now, 826 Valencia and LEAP, the answer is; ‘you can expect the same amount of money - if not more!

826 Valencia Confetti GIF

GIF: From 826 Valencia's Bookeaters' Bash

Here are some pro tips on how to optimize donations for a virtual fundraiser

1. Start asking for funding commitments before the event

Think of the virtual fundraiser as a place where you can visibly recognize and celebrate those who give donations, and having a few pledges already helps others feel comfortable to donate online during the event, too

2. Silent auctions should start before the event

This will allow people to start bidding on them and raising money, and then you can close the silent auction right before the start of the event, encouraging people to show up for the live virtual fundraiser

3. Engage your donors with a live chat

Make sure to have a few staff on hand to bring the chat to life, to share comments to encourage others to do so, and, of course, thank people for coming. Also, if you have an audience larger than a few hundred, spring for even more engagement and consider dedicated viewing rooms where people can watch together.

4. Make sure the method of donating does not take away your audience's attention

Text to donate and opening donation windows in a new browser really helps keep attendees watching the screen while donations are happening. You do not want to move people completely from the platform of your virtual event, and lose the energy and momentum of the experience.

5. It is all about watching, donating, or joining

The user experience design of the website needs to be simple and draw attention to only one of three calls to action at a time; watch, donate, or join. Use a main stage broadcast for live auctions and give the live MC cues for what to do next, eg; donate or join an interactive networking space.

6. The secret sauce is storytelling

For the content of the virtual fundraiser experience, work with our Happily specialists to tell the story of your program. A good mixture of emotive stories, a few words from any notable guests, celebs, employees, and the constituents of your nonprofit, is a winning recipe.

7. Show all those donations

A rolling ticker at the bottom of the broadcast can help keep the focus of the event on your story, on the all important mission of your nonprofit, and connect the money given with what it is going towards. Plus, it will build excitement as donations flow in throughout the event, and the numbers tick closer and closer to your goal.

826 Valencia Donations GIF

GIF: From 826 Valencia's Bookeaters' Bash

Now we’d love to hear about your nonprofit

Get in touch with us and let’s chat about your virtual gala, virtual fundraising event or any virtual fundraising ideas you may have. Together we can produce a Happily virtual event customized for your nonprofit.

May 4, 2021

5 benefits of raising money through virtual events SEO Image

5 Benefits of Raising Money Through Virtual Events

For many nonprofits, fundraisers have usually taken a more traditional approach with an in-person activity or annual gala event with cheque books and solid cash used to collect generous and much needed donations.

However, the pandemic abruptly caused many nonprofits with long standing fundraising formats to pivot and seek new avenues. That is where virtual fundraisers were given the chance to shine. A virtual fundraising event is so much more than an ‘alternative’ to an in-person event and their benefits reach long after the passing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Happily, you can use virtual events and livestream services to:

1. Activate any of your social media channels as a fundraising platform

Social media is a great tool to optimize donations by connecting with your established followers in a format they are already familiar with.

2. Expand support for your programs by attracting new audiences

You can spread the word about your cause to more people in your community and across the country, and then make it so easy for them to donate as they wish. This is a huge win for fundraising goals as you would not be excluding anyone who, for whatever reason, would not have been able to easily attend an in-person event.

3. Seamlessly receive and celebrate donations made by text or web

A customized user experience and giving people options are always important, and both those things can be fully optimized with virtual events.

4. Increase the frequency of sharing program updates

Staying connected with your community of donors and engage supporters, making them feel involved and in the loop, is a great way to build trust and inspire them to make a donation.

5. Create urgency and instant gratification for online donations

Seeing donations made in real time, watching that pledge counter go up and up, having a donors name pop up on the screen; it all generates a sense of collective excitement that makes participants feel instantaneously fulfilled when making a donation.

Discover how Happily helped this nonprofit raise $30k with a virtual live auction

Team Happily recently worked with LEAP, a nonprofit based around mentorship programs for youth in low income communities. We were able to successfully transform an annual fundraising event that they had been hosting for 25 years into their first virtual gala.

You can read all about the challenges, solutions and results in this LEAP Case Study, as well as a video summary of the event.

Leap Case Study

Now we’d love to hear about your nonprofit

Get in touch with us and let’s chat about your virtual gala, virtual fundraising event or any virtual fundraising ideas you may have. Together we can produce a Happily virtual event customized for your nonprofit.

April 6, 2021

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

Client Testimonial with the AKR Foundation

Happily teamed up with the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation to produce its first annual benefit party on October 17, 2019, at the Park West in Chicago, IL.

It was a full evening of entertainment, food, drink, and community while fundraising for ovarian cancer research and childhood literacy.

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

In attendance were Jennifer Garner, John Green, Tom Lichtenheld, and Luke Sital-Singh who entertained the party, and helped fundraise for the AKR Foundation mission. Our team worked closely with Executive Director, Betsy Katten to make the Yellow Umbrella Party a night to remember and honor Amy Krouse Rosenthal in the best way!

Like all nonprofit organizations, this benefit meant a lot to the foundation and those who were there to support it. So it was crucial that we found the right person to work side-by-side with Betsy and her team.

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

The AKR Foundation utilized our All-In services, which allowed our team to handpick event specialists and set-up the interviews for them. In a matter of a couple of days, Betsy was able to find the right person for the gig and was so grateful for our help she wanted to share her experience!

December 10, 2019