[Guest Post] 6 Classes Realized by Attending Digital Fundraising Occasions

On a current name, I heard an idea that basically impressed me. Amanda Herlihy is the Director of Growth
South Carolina Governor’s College for the Arts & Humanities Basis. She knew that she was going to need to shift her fundraising occasions to a digital format. So along with studying about digital occasions and taking course, she really attended digital occasions! Lot of them. I requested her if she’d share her observations. Thankfully for us, she did!

Amanda Herlihy, SC Governer's School for Arts and Humanities Foundation

6 Issues I’ve Realized from Attending A number of Digital Fundraising Occasions

by Amanda Herlihy

Director of Growth, South Carolina Governor’s College for the Arts & Humanities Basis

I’ve labored for a lot of arts nonprofits through the years and the one factor all of them have in widespread is a love for fundraising occasions. It’s a pure promoting level for donors to attend an occasion that includes a efficiency, a film screening, or a dinner with a star. It’s glitz, it’s glamour, it’s enjoyable, and it helps trigger. However let me inform you, fundraising occasions are arduous! They have been arduous for any group earlier than this pandemic, and they’re much more tough now.

In preparation for planning fundraising occasions for subsequent 12 months, I’ve attended upwards of 10 digital fundraising occasions all throughout the nation. From New York; to Minnesota, Pennsylvania to Missouri. I’ve additionally listened to podcasts, watched movies of digital gala critiques, learn security and reopening tips, learn blogs and discussion board threads, interviewed colleagues, and have spoken to donors on the nonprofit the place I work.

I’m positive you suppose I’ve gone overboard- and possibly I’ve- however our world is quickly altering and with the intention to thrive, we should adapt. If nonprofits can’t discover new, progressive methods to boost cash and host occasions, the individuals we serve would be the ones who lose. To me, that’s not an possibility.

In no explicit order, listed here are some takeaways from my digital occasion analysis.

  • Speak about what you do!

    Significantly, make this the very first thing you do at your digital occasion. You’ll not consider what number of organizations didn’t point out what their mission is or who they assist throughout the first couple of minutes of their occasion. How will you tug at a donor’s heartstrings in the event that they don’t even know what you do? Inform them about your mission and people you serve, not as soon as, not twice, however all through your entire occasion.

    In addition to describing your mission (in a couple of SHORT sentences) present me the impression of the work that has been achieved by means of beneficiant donations. Make me wish to donate.

  • Host or MC

    The host or the MC units the tone for your entire occasion. Don’t simply decide somebody randomly! Select a dynamic speaker that may characterize your group effectively and can make your occasion enjoyable!

  • The Ask(s)

    Make asks all through this system, and don’t wait till the tip of your occasion to do that. Since that is digital, individuals can be tuning in in any respect completely different instances throughout your occasion. Don’t make it tough for them to learn how they will donate. The MC, your government director, visitor audio system, and constituents can and will inform individuals the place to donate. Put a ticker on the backside of the display screen that directs individuals to your web site. You’ll be able to nonetheless be very tactful whereas making these asks, however please, be sure you ask!

    Make it simple on your donor to share information about their donation. It can encourage others to donate too.

    It’s an ideal concept to indicate the progress you’ve made in direction of your purpose throughout the night. Donors need you to achieve your targets. Make it simple for them that can assist you get there.

  • Know-how

    Select your platform correctly. The perfect occasions I’ve seen have streamed on Fb Reside or YouTube the place you possibly can chat with visitors by means of the chat function. This is likely one of the finest methods to interact your viewers. One colleague I spoke with instructed me that they planted their workers members within the chat to interact the viewers and make them really feel extra concerned. So, when that board member joins the occasion, take the chance to say whats up. Or shout out to that donor who made a giant reward. It’s additionally acceptable (and good) to proceed telling individuals the place they will donate. (See the Ask(s) above.)

    Watch out with Zoom or video conferencing. They don’t produce high quality sound. You probably have the chance to file particular person movies from dwelling, make the most of it. Don’t simply function all speaking head movies. Get artistic and overlay graphics throughout the speaker’s video, or have a static image with voiceovers. Present an image of the gala chairs as an alternative of that includes them in a separate video. You need your transitions to be clean and seamless although, so use a high quality video manufacturing firm to assist with this component.

  • The Plan

    Please don’t wing it. Be ready and provide you with a plan (and a backup or two) for the night.

    Don’t underestimate the ability of scripts. Many individuals are usually not comfy in entrance of a digicam and you don’t want them going rogue, or to neglect the purpose and begin to ramble. You additionally wish to give your audio system tips for the place to face (in entrance of one thing plain- not a messy bookshelf!), the way to get the perfect lighting, what colours work finest on digicam, and the place to look.

  • It’s All within the Timing

    Don’t make your occasion too lengthy. Seize your viewers’s consideration from the start. I’ve seen galas that ran 20 minutes (yay!), 45 minutes, and effectively over an hour. My favourite are these which are brief, candy, and to the purpose. I understood their mission, I used to be entertained, and I made a donation!

Digital fundraising occasions can work effectively. General, you wish to:

  • Be mission centered
  • Make a number of asks
  • Present the impression of your work
  • Be clear, and concise
  • Have nice manufacturing high quality
  • And make your group cash!

For extra on changing your canceled fundraising occasion to a digital fundraising occasion, try the Swaim Methods session in The Nonprofit Academy: https://thenonprofitacademy.com/trainings/canceled-fundraising-event-solutions/

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