How to make the most of digital events to boost your fundraising and support your communities
With the recent introduction of restrictions on social contact and the expected ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s going to be increasingly important for nonprofits to find ways to engage with their supporters and to continue to raise funds.
Digital and virtual fundraising events have been becoming more prevalent in the nonprofit sector in recent years. In a busy world, they are a flexible and convenient way for people to get involved, as well as encouraging a broader sense of community in a world that we hear is increasingly disconnected.
On top of this, they are a cost-effective way for nonprofits to encourage fundraising and engage with their supporters without, the traditional restraints or costs of organizing and facilitating in-person events.
Virtual sporting challenges
With events and large gatherings postponed for the foreseeable future, many nonprofits are facing a massive loss in sponsorship.
But although the loss of significant fundraising event is a huge blow to nonprofits, that doesn’t mean that you can’t tap into your communities to raise funds for your organization.
Many nonprofits have started setting up virtual walks and challenges that allow participants to take part in their own time and space. These range from walking and running events to live-streamed workouts, dance-a-thons, or really any other activity you can think of.
Events such as these are particularly beneficial in the current climate and can encourage numerous benefits not only for the charity but for the participant too. Many people will see their usual activity routine disrupted in the coming weeks. Giving participants a challenge or goal that they can aim for within current guidelines can encourage them to continue physical activity even when large scale events aren’t there to motivate them. Exercise, even gentle exercise like walking, is proven to reduce stress, improve mood, strengthen the body and heart─ all things that are particularly important in these trying times.
Online Quizzes and Games
The good old-fashioned pub quiz is another classic of the fundraising world. But just because pubs are off-limits right now doesn’t mean pub quizzes are. The premise of an online quiz is basically the same as the one you’re used to seeing. Participants pay an entry fee then compete against each other to get the most amount of correct answers. Quiz participants with the highest score can be entered into a prize draw to make the event even more enticing. There’s also a bonus that you can run the quiz over several days, meaning that anyone can play along, regardless of work or home life commitments.
If coming up with questions isn’t your thing, why don’t you set up an online game tournament? This can include everything from words with friends, to angry birds, to online scrabble. Get people to make a donation to enter the competition then post their high-scores or compete against each other to move up your league table, with prizes for the top achievers.
One of the more modern iterations of charity gaming you could also tap into is a live-stream charity gaming event. Events like these feature gamers live-streaming their game-playing for a period of time while fans and donors then donate money to watch. This method has increased in popularity recently due to the growth in the video game market and the increasing popularity of professional and amateur live-stream gaming influencers. There are many online resources that can help you set up an event like this.
Video Call Coffee Mornings
Now more than ever, isolation and loneliness are a significant challenge to our communities. People are advised to avoid restaurants, community centers, and other social settings at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that the traditional coffee morning can’t continue to help organizations raise funds while encouraging socialization and community spirit at a time it’s really needed.
Utilizing the many different video call and chat technologies in the market, why not set up a virtual meet-up? Alternatively, set up a hashtag to allow people to join in via social media. One of the best free tools out there is Google Hangouts, allowing you to instantly set up a free channel to communicate with people
You could even encourage people to make a small donation in exchange for access to virtual space to chat over a cup of coffee or tea.
Online recipe or skills swaps
The absence of fundraisers doesn’t mean your community doesn’t have a wealth of talents you can draw on to encourage donations.
With supermarket shelves bare and shopping becoming a challenge for many who are self-isolating, why not ask your community to share tasty and easy recipes that utilize basic, everyday ingredients?
Or with many people finding themselves with more time on their hands than usual, perhaps you could facilitate skill-sharing? Many skills lend themselves to virtual learning from languages to website design to art criticism; the possibilities are vast. Put a call out to your fundraisers to see what skills they could share with your community of donors.
You can then ask people to make a donation per recipe or to access a bank of recipes or for each topic they learn about from one of your fundraisers.
All in all, it’s important to focus on the positives that can come from dealing with a difficult situation, for example you could stumble upon a digital fundraising idea that quickly becomes the new normal for you… long after worries about Covid-19 have dissipated.
You might not know it, but you likely already have an actively engaged audience whose daily life involves endless interactions across digital channels. So, get online, get creative, and carry on fundraising for your amazing causes.
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