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Virtual Fundraising: The Complete Guide for 2021 & Beyond

Virtual Fundraising: The Complete Guide for 2021 & Beyond

In the COVID era, we’ve had to sacrifice a number of events we looked forward to. This includes the vast majority of fundraising events. As we enter 2021, organizations continue to adapt to social distancing guidelines. This puts a damper on “normal” in-person events for an undetermined amount of time.

As a result, many organizations worry about the stability of incoming revenue necessary to fund their daily operations. Amid the current disruption of the social and economic climates, many nonprofits are having to shift to a virtual fundraising model to retain donations in these trying times.

Over the past several years, fundraising efforts have seen an increasing shift toward virtual fundraising practices—even before the rise of COVID-19. That means that the tools and resources are already available to help your nonprofit make the transition. Even though you can’t meet in-person, there’s no reason you can’t continue engaging your community and raising money for your cause!

As virtual events continue to take precedence, Snowball provides nonprofits with the tools they need to adapt and succeed. We understand the pertinence of remaining adaptable and strategic during changing times. Choosing the right software for your organization is an important base for your fundraisers to be as successful as possible.

We’ve compiled this guide to ease some of the uncertainty surrounding online fundraising and to help your nonprofit make the move to virtual nonprofit operations. Here, we’ll cover:

Why Virtual Fundraising Matters

Types of Virtual Fundraising

Building a Virtual Fundraising Infrastructure

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Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Virtual Fundraising Events

10 Tried-and-True Tips for Virtual Fundraising Ideas

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Why virtual fundraising matters.

Why Virtual Fundraising Matters

Virtual fundraising is one of the most important fundraising strategies a nonprofit can have. Organizations were beginning to turn to virtual events even before COVID, and will continue to shift their efforts online due to the array of benefits it offers.

A virtual fundraising campaign strategy boosts convenience on both the giving and the receiving end to maximize the use of the valuable time for everyone involved. Virtual or online fundraising can allow your nonprofit to significantly increase your fundraising revenue. Even better, it only takes a few simple steps and a strengthened toolkit to get started.

But why is it so important? Virtual fundraising:

  • Offers a simplified donation process for donors. By offering a quick and easy donation process, funds can take the simplest route from a donor’s wallet to your bank account. Additionally, the easier the donation process, the more donations are likely to come through. Donors enjoy a streamlined process when giving online.
  • Can be completed from the comfort and safety of one’s home. With the rise of social distancing, paired with sheer convenience, this is a huge benefit for donors— and, as a result, for nonprofits. When you make your virtual fundraising campaigns mobile-friendly, you can further increase the accessibility and spread of your fundraisers.
  • Makes use of common tools in the digital age. It’s 2021 and people have moved online for school, work, and everything in-between to ensure safety. For your organization, this means that to fundraise most effectively you should meet your audience where they are: online. Organizations without a strong online presence can even be seen as out-dated or out-of-touch, and potentially fail to reach supporters. Make your fundraising available to all by making use of common digital tools like smartphones and other mobile devices.
  • Allows for more flexible payment options. Instead of being limited to written checks or cash payments, virtual fundraisers expand payment opportunities to include debit and credit cards, electronic checks, and Apple or Google Pay. Again, the easier it is to give, the more people will do it!

These are some of the main benefits of virtual fundraising.

This year, effective virtual fundraising strategies can carry your nonprofit through the pandemic and beyond. Without them, you risk being left behind the times and eventually losing your network of support. 2021 is the time to start moving your fundraising efforts online! And luckily, getting your organization up and running with virtual fundraising practices is not as difficult as it might sound.

Here are some types of virtual fundraisers.

Types of Virtual Fundraising

Virtual fundraising can come in many shapes and sizes, and no two campaigns are exactly alike. Each type presents a unique set of benefits and opportunities for your organization. These online fundraisers can vary by methods of promotion, donation process, and overall objectives, but most will fall into one of the following categories:

There are many types of virtual fundraising, including online giving, text-to-give, and crowdfunding.

Online Giving

Online giving pertains to any fundraising campaign that makes use of an online donations platform. This type of virtual campaign is simple to run, so long as you have the right tools.

To get started, a platform like the Snowball suite of donation tools can help your organization get up and running with online fundraising tools quickly. The suite includes:

  • Online donation pages
  • Recurring gift options
  • Full access to your fundraising data
  • Unlimited accounts

Once you’ve seamlessly transitioned to an online presence, start promoting your donation page to your followers and expanding your network whenever you can. The most important aspect of an online giving campaign is your streamlined donation page. This way, you can encourage donors to complete the form and confirm their gift as quickly as possible, before losing interest.

Text-to-Give

A text-to-give campaign, also known as mobile giving, is a method of virtual fundraising that involves a text message from a smartphone. This method is streamlined and simple because it can be completed in mere seconds. As an organization, you must first select a mobile giving provider who will assign your nonprofit to a unique phone number.

Then, start promoting that number along with a specified keyword, to potential donors and supporters. When donors text your keyword to that phone number, they’ll be directed to a simple donation form and can confirm the donation quickly and easily.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a particular type of online fundraiser that relies on a wide variety of donors making small- to midsize gifts to the same campaign. No matter the size of the donation, the combination of all working together adds up very quickly. This is a great low-pressure way for people to contribute what they can on their own terms.

These crowdfunding campaigns are often spread through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Supporters can share a single, centralized donation page to their own networks to encourage involvement.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, or social fundraisers, enlist your dedicated supporters to become fundraisers themselves. Each individual is given a customizable fundraising page that they can then personalize to fit their own style. Some of the most successful peer-to-peer campaigns tell a story and provide volunteer fundraisers the opportunity to share what your organization means to them.

Fundraisers then share their individual donation pages on social media with friends, family, colleagues, etc. to get the word out far and wide and ask loved ones to contribute to the campaign as well. Be sure to keep track of each fundraisers’ progress, and encourage friendly competition to boost revenue as well.

Merchandise Sales

Selling limited-time and branded t-shirts in addition to other merchandise for your nonprofit is a great way to earn money and engage your supporters. After all, the best kind of donation is when donors get something in return— namely, a nice t-shirt or a mug. If you want to turn lemons into lemons into lemonade, you can even sell branded face masks for your organization, allowing supporters to support your cause while also promoting health and safety.

As an added bonus, branded merchandise sales work not only as a source of revenue, but a marketing tool for your organization as well. Every time an individual sports your custom-designed t-shirt or face mask in public, they essentially become a walking billboard for your organization!

Virtual Events

Just because public gatherings have been canceled into the near future doesn’t mean events are over. It just means they take a different form, and are just as fun! Whether you’re starting from scratch or transitioning a previously planned event to an online environment, virtual events can be a great way to engage with your donors and earn money for your organization.

Either way, it’s important to maintain a focus on event management strategies as you implement virtual events into your fundraising plan. With high-quality tech tools that streamline the virtual attendance process and allow you to share your cause, you can maintain relationships with current donors as well as expand your network across geographical boundaries.

Virtual fundraising is a great way to maintain support during tough times, but it’s also a strategy to keep hold of once things start to settle down. With the right software and a solid foundation, virtual fundraising can bring your organization further than you might have thought possible.

How to build a virtual fundraising infrastructure.

Building a Virtual Fundraising Infrastructure

Having a strong infrastructure in place is an important prerequisite to effective virtual fundraising practices. After all, if you don’t have the right tools and resources, you’ll find it extremely difficult to maintain your online fundraising during this time— let alone do it efficiently.

Here are some of our top suggested tools to build out your virtual fundraising toolkit:

Establishing a solid infrastructure is an important prerequisite for effective virtual fundraising.

Online Giving Platform

An online giving platform provides the tools you need to accept charitable donations online without a hitch. There are two key elements of an effective online giving platform— the donation form and the payment processor.

The donation form is the part that the donor sees when they answer the questions and input their payment information. Once they hit submit, the payment processor works behind the scenes to transfer funds from the donor’s payment method of choice to your organization’s bank account.

Each aspect needs to be carefully optimized to create an effective giving platform. That means the donation form should be short and sweet and easy to complete, and the payment processor should be PCI compliant to ensure financial security.

With an intuitive online giving platform like the one offered here at Snowball, donors can quickly and easily submit their gifts— in under a minute!

Mobile Giving Software

Mobile giving software provides the foundation for a text-to-give campaign.

With these tools, you can establish your own unique mobile giving phone number and set unlimited text-to-give keywords. Then, when donors text in their charitable gifts, your mobile giving software processes those requests. The donations then end up in your nonprofit’s bank account, similarly to an online giving platform.

Social media is one of the best free resources for nonprofits everywhere. When used effectively, you can leverage your own social media pages to promote your organization, raise awareness surrounding your overall mission, and solicit donations from your followers.

The three most popular social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—are a good place to start, but your nonprofit’s social media strategy will be dependent upon your particular audience. For example, you can leverage a Facebook fundraising campaign where your donor’s friends will automatically see the donor’s contribution in their feeds and look into your cause. However, you don’t want to rule out more niche platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest for spreading the word.

CRM

A CRM, or constituent relationship management system, is essential for collecting and organizing your donor data. Each time an individual submits a donation, their information is extracted and stored in a database for future reference Essentially, a CRM creates a donor profile for everyone that contributes to your organization so you can easily review their contact information, giving history, and more.

There are many options when it comes to choosing a CRM, ranging from fairly basic to quite intricate. One of the most important factors in selecting your software provider is that your tool can accurately contain your data and grow with you as your organization expands.

If a dedicated CRM is out of reach right now, be sure to use fundraising tools that give you full access to your donor data in dashboards and reports. You can also look into free and low-cost CRMs like the one offered by Snowball.

Marketing Software

During this time, your digital marketing efforts will be more important than ever. That means, if you haven’t already, now is the time to invest in a strong suite of marketing software. These tools can assist you in everything from segmenting and targeting your audience, to tracking and measuring your progress, and determining the ROI of your marketing practices.

Marketing software is essential for raising awareness of your nonprofit, as well as extending your network farther than ever before. To get started, look into a platform that can create email campaigns or manage your social media posts. After all, the only way you’ll see substantial revenue from your virtual fundraising campaigns and events is if a wide-reaching audience knows how and when to get involved.

Nonprofit Website

Your nonprofit’s website is arguably the most important tool you have, so it’s crucial that you put the right work into it to ensure a well-designed website. Your site should be the end result that you drive traffic to from your other digital marketing and social media efforts to effectively inform and connect with users.

A solid nonprofit website should include a brief history, an overview of your mission, opportunities to get involved, and ways to give. This way, a user clicking through can explore and learn more about the organization before, hopefully, deciding to make a donation.

Matching Gift Software

In addition to these foundational pieces of software, you also need to think about how you can make every donation more valuable for your nonprofit, without asking your donors to give more of their own money. Enter matching gift software.

With a database like Double the Donation, you can provide your supporters an easy way to look up their employer’s matching gift program and complete their own matches. You can embed the widget anywhere your supporters are, like anywhere on your website or your donation forms!

Live-Streaming Tools

With the rise of COVID-19, we have also seen the rise of digital streaming tools. For example, platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts allow users to host conference calls and maintain interpersonal relationships from a distance. Many social media platforms include streaming tools, as well.

Although it will be important for your nonprofit to have access to all of these tools, you don’t have to select many different platforms (such as Facebook and Instagram) to get the job done. Many nonprofit fundraising solutions combine a number of giving tools to create a suite of fully integrated resources.

Consider seeking a single platform (or two) that can help you manage all of the above fundraising tools. This way, you can reduce inconsistencies between various resources and rest easy knowing your data is as accurate as possible.

Virtual fundraising ideas.

Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Are you ready to begin planning your first virtual fundraiser, but you’re not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite virtual fundraising ideas! These unique fundraisers are designed to be planned and hosted completely online, so they’re perfect for the current social climate.

Virtual pledge campaign

A pledge campaign is a fundraiser that collects promises of donations to be collected at a later time, rather than right on the spot. Oftentimes, the donation is offered as a response to an event or an activity to be completed by the fundraiser.

For example, you can encourage your supporters to solicit donations for every lap they do around a track, or any other agreed upon challenge. This idea can be as funny and original as you want it to be!

Sell limited-time t-shirts

Everybody loves getting a new t-shirt, especially if it’s a unique and visually appealing one. Raise money easily online by designing and selling custom t-shirts for your organization. Be sure to incorporate your nonprofit’s logo, color scheme, and branding style, but make it stand out among other merchandise you may already have. Then, start promoting your t-shirt online as a limited-edition item and encourage supporters to flock to your online store before you sell out!

24-hour fundraiser

A 24-hour campaign functions by creating an air of urgency surrounding your fundraiser. Whether you’re raising money for a current event like COVID-19 relief or another relevant need, limiting the campaign to a single day is an effective way to boost donations during a short period of time. People are likely to promote and support your campaign, especially when it’s a one-day commitment.

Popular campaigns include #GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesdayNow, which encourage donors all over the world to make generous contributions during a predetermined 24-hour window.

Viral video challenge

A viral video contest, similarly to a pledge campaign, involves some sort of outrageous or humorous stunt performed on camera— but this time it’s the participant who gives. After taking part in the challenge, the participant posts their video to social media, makes a donation to your nonprofit, and tags the next person in line to form a chain!

For example, consider the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that successfully overtook social media and raised a ton of money!

Cutest pet photo

Everyone loves to show off their pets, whether on social media or on video calls. Collect some money for your organization by turning it into a contest to find out who is the crowd’s favorite.

You can charge a small entrance fee for each photo, and encourage the rest of your audience to vote by the dollar to the picture they think should win. Have the participants tag your organization in their posts, and develop a hashtag for individuals to use to collect all of the entry photos in one place. Consider offering a small prize for first, second, and third places— or just stick with bragging rights.

Design contest

Encourage your creative followers to submit their own designs for t-shirts and merchandise, or even a new logo. Then, have the rest of your followers vote on the fan-favorite. This is a great campaign to run prior to a t-shirt sale because then you’ll have a unique design ready to go. At the conclusion of the contest, be sure to send the winner a free copy of the t-shirt or merchandise with their design.

50/50 raffle

A 50/50 raffle is one of the simplest fundraisers you can host, and you don’t even have to come up with a grand prize. Start by selling tickets as you would for a normal raffle. In the end, the individual with the winning ticket gets the jackpot— which is 50% of the raffle entrance fund. The remaining 50% stays with your organization! This is usually a great campaign to run with an event, but it can be easily adapted to an online raffle with the right software.

Give-it-up challenge

Usually a “give it up challenge” encourages donors to go without a favorite snack or drink for a certain time. However, with the on-and-off closing of businesses during COVID-19, many individuals have adapted to going without their favorite beverages and restaurant meals. For this fundraiser, you simply challenge donors to give the money they would have spent on these foods and drinks to your fundraiser instead!

Calendar photo contest

Host a photography contest with the intent of turning the winning photos into a high-quality calendar. Encourage your followers to send in their favorite photographs for each month to your website. Then, have a panel of judges or your supporters vote on the 12 best to make it in the final calendar. You can even start selling your custom-designed calendar for a donation to your organization!

Matching gifts drive

A matching gifts drive is a great way to boost any virtual fundraiser. Many of your donors are eligible to have their charitable gifts matched by their employers but don’t even know it. That means it’s time to start educating your audience on the power of matching gifts. Then you not only get the initial donation, but also a bonus donation from the donor’s employer.

Social media fundraiser

Social media fundraisers are extremely pertinent as people are home and browsing their favorite social media platforms more often than ever. Make sure to give your participants an easy way to donate through your social media page. Direct them to a link in your bio, or hyperlink the donation page in the post, depending on the platform’s best practices for inserting links.

For example, you might want to consider a Facebook fundraiser. This type of virtual fundraiser has gained traction in the nonprofit community because donors can readily contribute to their favorite charities. They’re seen as a hands-off way for nonprofits to increase donations, as the contributions show up on individuals’ follower’s pages as activity on the feed. This can expand your giving base, and encourage people to support the causes their friends are supporting.

Email campaign

An email campaign is another avenue you can take in your multichannel marketing strategy. For best results, implement best practices in sending out your donation request. Tips that apply to physical mail often apply to digital mail, too!

You’ll want to look at your CRM for contacts that have previously interacted with your organization. Be sure to take time to personalize your requests. Your organization can use a tool that allows you to import names as well as engagement history into the text of emails so that your recipients feel personally acknowledged. Be sure to include the following content in your request emails:

  • Emotional appeal – Be sure to explain why your cause matters with a passionate story outlining your cause and what you’ve accomplished. Donors want to know how your mission has been helping your surrounding community already.
  • How the donor can help solve the problem – Help potential donors understand how their donation will contribute to your cause. Provide examples of the impact their donation will have.
  • Donation information and details – The most important part of your request is information on how to contribute, as well as details for further questions or feedback.

With these items in mind, you’ll have an effective email campaign ready to go!

Face mask fundraiser

This type of fundraiser is pertinent in the COVID era. Personalize a mask with your company’s logo in order to help spread awareness about your cause. For an extra special touch, you might even decide to hold a mask designing contest and use the winner’s submission to craft your custom masks. Then, just as you would for a t-shirt fundraiser, start promoting your masks online as a limited-edition item that can sell out quickly.

Amazon Wish List

If your organization is in need of supplies to donate to a specific cause, look into creating a wishlist on Amazon. From the safety of their homes, supporters can order an item to help your mission. After successfully promoting this method of giving to your supporters, your organization can begin to watch the items roll in as the campaign goes on. 

Virtual food drive

Food drives are a great way to give funding and supplies to your local community in need, and now they can take place virtually as well. To begin, your organization should partner with another nonprofit that’s already working to fight hunger in your local area. If you’re stuck on finding a partnership, use Feeding America as a reference to a national network of food banks and pantries.

Then, set expectations in your partnership to determine what sort of resources are needed most. Besides nonperishables, money can be useful to buy food to distribute to families. In order to adhere to the virtual aspect, donors can contribute money online for cans, or give via a socially distant drop-off location.

Virtual fundraising events

Virtual Fundraising Events

Fundraising events are one of the most effective ways to increase audience engagement and drive fundraising revenue. From the donor standpoint, these events can also be an exciting event they can look forward to on their calendar.

Just because you can’t host an in-person gathering doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fundraising goals. By shifting to an online event, you can continue to empower your supporters while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Virtual talent show

Encourage supporters to submit their virtual talent show performances in the form of pre-recorded video, so that you can then compile them for the public to choose a winner. Consider offering several prizes, including best overall, most humorous, most talented child, etc. to boost participation. You can either charge an entrance fee or encourage your audience to vote on a winner with their wallets.

Virtual gaming tournament

To host a virtual gaming fundraiser, offer the most popular online games and charge a small entrance fee. Then, organize a multi-stage virtual tournament to determine the ultimate champion. Video game lovers will jump at the chance to play games for a good cause, as well as fight for bragging rights or a small prize.

Virtual gala

After being inside for so long, perhaps your supporters are looking for a reason to get all dressed up, even if it’s just for a virtual event! Invite your followers to an elegant online gala, put on with high-tech video equipment and streaming right to their living rooms. But of course, participants are welcome to join in their pajamas as well— which is the ultimate perk of video conferencing.

Virtual live auction

Virtual auctions are great ways to engage donors in a fundraising event that they can also get something meaningful out of it. By transforming traditional live auctions into virtual events accessible from anywhere in the world, you can widen your reach and bring in new attendees to bid and support your organization. Start procuring items and setting up an online catalog to get your followers excited. Then, your auctioneer will auction off items using live-streaming software while attendees can bid on them in real-time.

Silent Auction

A virtual silent auction

is an opportunity for supporters to browse items that are up for auction. More specifically, guests bid “silently” by virtually submitting their offers with mobile bidding software, rather than aloud to an auctioneer in a typical live auction fashion.

Your auction raises funds when the supporter with the highest bid “wins” their item, and pays the agreed-upon amount. Charity auctions tend to generate a lot of revenue when done correctly and are great for offering engaging opportunities for participants as well.

Virtual fun run

Just because you can’t host a community fun run doesn’t mean your supporters can’t exercise on their own for a good cause. Simply determine the goal distance (typically 5 or 10K), and challenge participants to run or walk their own route. Just make sure runners can track their distance with a smart-watch or tracking app so you can crown the winner virtually.

Virtual cooking class

With the majority of the world under shelter-in-place guidelines, it’s a great time to start improving home cooking skills. Offer a virtual cooking class with a professional chef who is willing to teach attendees as they walk through the steps of a nice, home-cooked meal.

Virtual art class

Similarly, many home-bound individuals are looking to pick up a new skill or hobby. That means it’s the perfect time to host a virtual art class. Between painting, sculpting, and drawing, there’s so much to learn!

Best of all, your nonprofit may even be able to save on some of the upfront costs associated with event planning such as renting a venue and catering fees. Instead, you can use some of that extra funding to invest in the right digital resources you need to host an exquisite online event.

Virtual benefit concert

This exciting event showcases an effective method for the community to learn about your organization and local musicians. Your benefit concert can feature those who sign up to submit a video of a song or two. Then, be sure to develop and share a link for supporters to watch the concert video from the comfort of their own homes.

To raise money, sell tickets to spectators watching from home, or implement a small fee to play in your show. Be sure to market this well in advance to get enough acts as well as an eager audience.

Virtual movie night

Who doesn’t love a good movie night? To kick off planning this fundraising event, decide what movie to show and which platform you’ll use to host the event. Consider offering a poll on your website or social media pages to give your supporters a voice in choosing a movie. Then, raise money by charging a small admission fee to view.

Virtual trivia night

Trivia night fundraisers can easily translate in a virtual setting. This trivia game could be general knowledge, holiday-related, mission-driven, or anything that piques your audience’s interest. Announce the event well in advance to gain an audience, and be sure to raise money by charging a small participation fee. Come up with a list of questions and categories, and publicize the link to join the game.

Virtual book club

While at home, people have more time to devote to their hobbies. Facilitating a virtual book club that meets at regular intervals provides a new way for your organization’s supporters to connect with each other. You can even create a poll on your social media or website to decide what you’ll read next!

You’ll be able to raise funds by offering easy and effective ways to give through your educational session. Be sure to have your online giving links ready for people to follow as they feel empowered to contribute after learning more.

Webinar

Nonprofit webinars are in high demand as the world remains at home. These are either live-streamed or are pre-recorded and posted online. Use this opportunity as a community engagement tactic. Be there to answer questions your community may have about your cause, announce further events, and provide giving opportunities. 

You’ll be able to raise funds by offering easy and effective ways to give through your educational session. Be sure to have links at the ready for people to follow, as they will feel empowered to contribute after learning more.

Virtual happy hour

During COVID, people are cooped up inside and looking for ways to meet people safely. Hosting a happy hour on a video conferencing platform provides new ways for your organization and its supporters to connect. You can even create breakout rooms to provide a smaller crowd for people to mingle with throughout the night.

You’ll raise funds by charging an admission fee, or offering a non-alcoholic mixer kit at a small price that participants can safely pick up. The opportunities are endless for forming new relationships with others who also care about your cause!

Virtual bingo


Virtual bingo is a twist on the classic fundraiser event! Locate an online bingo platform in order to best organize your game with those who sign up to play. To raise funds online, offer an option to donate to play each game. Don’t forget to decide on a few cheap prizes to incentivize participants, like a small virtual gift card!

Tried-and-True Virtual Fundraising Tips.

10 Tried-and-True Virtual Fundraising Tips

If you’re new to virtual fundraising, it may seem a little overwhelming at first. However, by following these tried-and-true tips for online campaigns and events, you’ll be a virtual fundraising pro in no time.

These are our best practices for virtual fundraising campaigns and events.

Best Practices for Virtual Fundraising Campaigns

By taking the right steps, your campaign will be as effective and immersive as possible! Here’s how you can accomplish this:

  • Make sure all virtual campaigns are optimized for mobile. Fun fact: 50% of total internet traffic comes from mobile devices. With people on their phones more often for work and school, it’s crucial that you ensure the mobile-friendliness of any virtual fundraising campaign you run, as it can account for a significant chunk of potential revenue.
  • Invest in the right virtual fundraising software. Though you might be wary of the upfront costs associated with fundraising software, it’s important to have a solid foundation to build your campaign. Consider Snowball’s free and low-cost fundraising solutions to get you started without breaking the bank.
  • Allow for streamlined recurring donation setup. Encouraging recurring donations is the easiest way to boost your donor retention rates and maintain a stable stream of revenue throughout the year. This way, you can save the time and resources you may have spent on constantly soliciting new donors. You might be surprised at how many donors will opt for a recurring gift when it’s as easy as clicking a button.
  • Have a well-designed donation page as your foundation. There’s a lot of thought that goes into crafting the perfect donation page and maximizing donations. While a positive user experience, design, and content are essential, the main purpose behind a donation page is to boost conversions —which, in this case, is donations.
  • Encourage supporters to share your campaign. This is how you can reach new supporters and get the word out. When your current network interacts with and spreads your campaign materials, they help you reach new donors with similar interests and values. It can be as simple as hitting the “share” button on Facebook!

Keeping these in mind, your event will attract new and mainstay supporters.

Best Practices for Virtual Fundraising Events

Here are a few key things to keep in mind when hosting your virtual fundraiser:

  • If possible, keep the event open for a longer timespan. While most typical live events take place in a single evening, the flexibility of virtual events allows you to adjust that timeline a bit. You want to keep the timespan short enough to encourage urgency, but long enough to accommodate for various schedules and timezones.
  • Encourage supporters and attendees to invite others. Make sure to encourage past supporters to both partake in your new virtual event and to invite others. This is a great way to extend your reach because attendees will tend to invite others with similar interests. Perhaps, consider an incentive for the participant who invites the most friends to spark some friendly competition.
  • Target planned events to your specific audience. You know better than anyone what your nonprofit’s specific audience appreciates, and it’s good practice to take that into consideration when planning your new event. For example, a majority-Millennial audience tends to gravitate towards different events than a predominantly older audience. The income, location, and lifestyles of your supporters are good characteristics to look at as well.
  • Start promoting events long beforehand. Depending on the size and scope of your event, it’s a good idea to start promoting several weeks— or even months— ahead of time. This way you can pique community interest and maintain continuous updates as the date approaches.
  • Allow for extra donations on top of ticket sales. Just because you sell tickets to your virtual fundraising event, doesn’t mean you can’t ask for a donation too. Budgets might be tight at the moment, so some attendees may not be able to give any extra. However, it’s still a good idea to make it quick and easy for those who do have the means to make a bonus donation on top.

When you implement these simple tips into your new virtual fundraising campaigns and events, you can start to see success right away. Check out our complete guide to online fundraising for additional information and resources to get started.


Wrapping Up

Virtual fundraising is a strategy that will significantly improve your nonprofit’s operations not only during the COVID era but going far into the future as well. If your organization has yet to adopt virtual fundraising as a practice, now is the best time to do so.

With the right tools, you’ll be able to ensure sustainability, and maybe even growth, in the midst of a pandemic as well as when COVID-19 is over. After all, the world is struggling and your constituents may need you now more than ever!

To learn more about virtual fundraising and other modern donation practices, check out the resources below:

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See how smart software can improve fundraising

Features Overview

Learn how Snowball’s effective and customizable fundraising tools make raising money easier.

Campaigns

Create custom campaigns with custom donations

Auctions

Host virtual or in-person auctions with Text-to-Bid

Supporter Management

Control your donor data and curate supporter lists.

Ticketing & Events

Register event attendees or sell tickets in advance

Thermometers

Track success and build supporter momentum

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Coming Soon! Empower supporters to raise for you

Reporting

Donation and campaign data at your fingertips

Outbound SMS

Send customized text messages blasts to groups

Text-to-Give

Let supporters to give to you anytime, anywhere