Everyone is forced online for fundraising and events for at least the rest of the year. So what are some ideas that will actually keep donors sitting in front of their computers long enough to send you $1,000?
Erase your memory. To start with, you have to completely remove everything you have always done from memory. Start with a clean whiteboard and list how your donors use their online time. STOP planning a 20-minute online video presentation and speeches from X, Y and Z telling donors to click a link to an online auction. STOP thinking about last year’s gala. Get it out of your head.
Small bites. Online relationships are completely different. How your donors use their computer is they come and they go. They read work emails for a couple of hours and are looking for a break. YOU can be that break. So online events and fundraisers need to be divided up into short, fun, educational and special experiences. Bite sized so that you don’t lose people because the dog needs to go outside for a break. This means you are probably talking about days of planned experiences, not one night.
Get serious about social. You need a team leader who is recruiting a social media army who can post and share and network like crazy. Recruit people who have lots of followers and really know how to tag. This team enlists other team members to share all of your information, games, testimony videos and so on all over the internet in every way they can imagine. They will need a calendar and to be posting constantly during your event to get their networks interested.
Because it is online, be ready. Enlist someone who is the master of your website to make sure donate tools are ready, the website is posting rapidly during the event, and social media pages get updated throughout the events and can track and monitor everything.
Stretch it out. You are not limited to two hours you rented from a venue. Take advantage of being able to talk to them in short moments throughout a few days. Plan activities that meets their needs – like lesson plans for kids who are stuck at home. And for the Happy Hour, host an online program about Mixology with a great bar tender.
What do you need to pay for? This is all online, so you need to spend on digital advertising, what you spent on tables and flowers. This is where you hire or enlist a really good firm to provide this for you as a title sponsor. Your fundraising success is in the quality of content, and the ability to reach a LOT of people during your event. Be sure you invest in your reach and not just content.
How do you raise corporate money? Exposure online and in your promotional information is how you bring value to corporate sponsors. Each video can have a sponsor, each day of the event can have a title sponsor. Sponsors must be recognized in all of the daily emails announcing what new content is available. Their contribution to you may be smaller than the traditional gala, but your data guru running the website can report how many impressions, clicks and engagement numbers that gives them good return on their investment.
I’m working with one of my favorite nonprofits on something like this. I shouldn’t be giving away all my secrets here. Watch for it on your social coming soon!