The current COVID-19 quarantine has brought traditional fundraising events to a screeching halt. Many organizations have either pushed their events to the fall, in hopes that the world will regain some level of normalcy, or cancelled them altogether, looking for other ways to make up the growing gap in their financial budgets. The problem is, there is no way of knowing how quickly people will feel comfortable in large settings again, even if you are allowed to host an event in the fall.
While, unfortunately, nothing can really replace being in a room with several hundred people all rallying around a cause that is changing lives, there are tools out there which will allow you to still hold that cocktail event, trade show, YouTube-a-thon, or walk-a-thon in a virtual, and even live streaming, way. We have outlined some of those tools here so you can get started.
Exhibitors can create virtual booths, compete for leaderboard positions, livestream, and chat with this virtual trade show platform. 6connex provides for virtual summits, which are akin to physical events (keynote speakers, seminars, networking, etc.) held in virtual environments, accessible from anywhere in the world with a WiFi connection.
This is a virtual networking software that utilizes artificial intelligence to connect people with common interests. Almost like a networking matchmaker, Brella allows you to coordinate virtual conferences/seminars with speakers, multi-track agendas, sponsors, individual streams, and more.
Build a landing page, onboard speakers, register attendees, and more. Note that this solution helps package virtual events, but you will need to integrate with tools for livestreaming.
This all-in-one live events platform covers everything from networking events, meetings, trade shows, webinars, live broadcasts, and more. The platform allows attendees to learn, interact, and connect with other attendees.
Run the World:
Everything from cocktail parties to fireside chats are an option with this remote conference platform. Built-in templates are available for different use-cases to minimize event planning hassles.
A virtual expo platform with everything from booths to webinars and conversation starter tools. This can be used for trade shows, job fairs, online conferences, and more.
Most importantly, have fun with it and get creative to make your fundraiser stand out. For example, prior to a networking event, host a digital cocktail hour with several rooms and different staff members teaching people how to make a drink and give them the opportunity to network in smaller groups.
Platforms like Zoom, BlueJeans, YouTube and more allow you to livestream events to thousands of people. These are also great for handling fitness challenges, telethons, introducing walk-a-thons, or any other challenge you would like to set up. For instance, the CrossFit community created a seven-day workout challenge called United in Movement that raised approximately $240,000 for three charities across 13,000 registrants. This was accomplished using a series of CrossFit coaches that provided workouts and offered the opportunity for registration fees and donations.
If you’re leaning towards a “something-a-thon,” check out applications like Rallyup.com, atlasgo, RunSignup, Racery, and Charity Footprints. Participants can set up their page, generate sponsors, complete their a-thon, and collect the funds on your behalf. You can add a community feature through some kind of livestreaming with some of your participants, with back stories, and additional opportunities for donations.
Also, similar to a live event, you can add a silent auction component to your event. There are many programs that you can utilize to create a virtual auction such as OneCause, Double the Donation, Snowball, ClickBid, Silent Auction Pro, WebMaestro, Winspire, Bidding for Good, 360MatchPro, and BenefitEvents. Evaluate them and find the one that works best for you.
While virtual fundraising is somewhat new to us, the lead time required to create a virtual event is much shorter, there are fewer planning factors, and is much cheaper to run. They also allow for greater accessibility, as people do not need to travel anywhere for a virtual event and you are not limited to space or time limitations. Organizations should look at adding virtual events to their annual fundraising activities, not only during the quarantine, but for long after the pandemic has subsided.
Crystal is a member of Cerini & Associates’ audit staff where she focuses on serving organizations across a wide spectrum of industries, including nonprofit, technology, and contractor clients. She has experience performing assurance work and outsourced accounting work, as well as preparing tax returns. Crystal has extensive knowledge surrounding the operations, controls, and environment of the sectors she focuses on. She brings her expertise, diversified background, and helpful approach to all of her engagements.
Kelli-Anne is a Manager for Cerini & Associates’ marketing staff. She oversees all marketing and communications efforts for the firm. Kelli-Anne is heavily involved in firm operations, recruitment, and development. She work’s with the firm’s various services areas and management team to define and meet growth goals, as well as working to help organize and promote the Long Island and New York City Imagine Awards.