Is your organization looking for new ways to engage and re-engage donors at hybrid and virtual fundraising events? In this episode of the Strategic Nonprofit Podcast, host Trista sits down with Rebecca Alfred, Charity Relationships Lead of Trellis Social Enterprise Inc to discuss what’s working for hybrid and virtual fundraising events. Including several creative components that all nonprofits should be looking to employ in the coming months.
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What is a hybrid & virtual fundraising event?
A hybrid fundraising event occurs both in-person and online by merging two audiences from different locations. To help these two audiences converge simultaneously, nonprofit organizations have been exploring different techniques and tactics to engage and execute their fundraising activities through the use of technology.
Popular components of Hybrid & Virtual Fundraising Events
Do you need some help getting the wheels of your hybrid fundraising event turning? Rebecca Alfred shares three popular components of hybrid and virtual fundraising events that all nonprofit organizations should make a note of:
1. Dinner with a twist
That kind of VIP or exclusive feeling that you can create for your donors is massive.Rebecca Alfred
A simple fact about fundraising events is that people, whether they’re loyal donors or not – love going to galas and events in person because it is simply a night out where they receive a free meal! That’s why savvy nonprofit organizations have transitioned to doing just that at home and have seen it become a huge success. Highly engaging examples include everything from having a meal sent to donors (or to pick up from a local restaurant) to sending an ingredient box straight to the donor’s door so that they can “cook along” or “mix along” with a virtual chef or bartender in the virtual event.
2. Intrigue with enganging audience dynamics
Maybe it’s a virtual photo booth that everybody participates in, regardless of if they’re watching at home or in person; you’re just trying to bring those two audiences together.Rebecca Alfred
Before the pandemic, nonprofits mostly held in-person events where everybody was there and didn’t even consider having a virtual audience. Now, with new restrictions and different requirements, nonprofits have almost been forced to split their audiences- meaning that they now have to consider how to merge one another’s dynamics.
That’s why Rebecca suggests thinking about ways to tie the two groups together by making them feel like they’re a part of something bigger than the people next to them. Whether that’s achieved by a virtual photo booth or singing content that everybody participates in – you must connect the two.
3. Determine how to differentiate
The last challenge of hybrid fundraising events that Rebecca addresses is the simple problem of donors being invited to similar events on the same day in the same impact space. That’s why organizations need to differentiate themselves to gain the most attention and engagement from donors. But how can organizations do this? Well, as Rebecca suggests, it all comes back down to how well you know your donor base and what engages them the most – because it’s not just other NPOs you’re competing against; with a virtual audience, you’re also competing against things like Netflix.
Final word: Are hybrid & virtual fundraising events here to stay?
As Rebecca suggests, now is the time to pivot how you approach fundraising -if you haven’t already done so. Because there are still too many nonprofit organizations on the fence, who hope to hold off until “after the pandemic.”
What’s more, the organizations that have moved to virtual and hybrid fundraising events have been successful and are still raising money and beating their fundraising goals. So as Rebecca suggests, don’t “miss the opportunity” to do something new and engage donors in exciting ways.
More about Rebecca Alfred
Rebecca Alfred is part of the team at Trellis Social Enterprise, Inc. who specialize in supporting charitable organizations, hospital foundations, nonprofits, and other organizations to find new, online approaches, to raising funds for their causes coming from a diverse background, including tech companies, marketing agencies, and accounting firms.
You can also download the Four Types of Hybrid Fundraising Events guide from Trellis to understand more about how different hybrid events organizations are using to raise money and find the foolproof plan to get you started.
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