Virtual fundraising in 2022 & beyond: A crash course
There are several key elements that go into the planning, development, and execution of a virtual fundraising campaign. We’ve provided an outline of some ideas for virtual fundraising events, as well as the resources and tools you need to start your next fundraising campaign.
Virtual Fundraising Essentials
What is virtual fundraising?
Virtual fundraising involves any type of fundraising activity that occurs entirely online. This allows for supporters and donors to participate from any location.
Why has it become so popular for nonprofits?
With the ongoing pandemic and the drastic shift in the nature of interaction, the fundraising needs of nonprofit organizations did not change. Virtual resources and tools provided these organizations with the opportunity to continue their fundraising efforts, reach wider audiences, and maintain engagement with supporters.
Will virtual fundraising remain popular post-pandemic?
Many organizations and campaigns have seen the benefits of virtual engagement, from financial efficiency to increased audience sizes. Making use of virtual technology and resources has increased fundraising capabilities, which is something that organizations want to maintain.
What do you need to host a virtual fundraiser?
In order to host a virtual fundraiser, you need a variety of technological tools to support event planning and execution. In the last section of the article, we will address all the virtual tools that you will need to get started.
Types of Virtual Fundraising
1. Online Fundraising Campaigns
Online fundraising campaigns are often awareness-generating events geared towards bringing attention and funding to a specific cause. Using online platforms and tools, an organization can create, advertise, and execute a campaign, as well as engage with supporters from any location and receive donations.
An online fundraising campaign can take many forms, such as an organization promoting a day of giving in support of voting rights or the promotion of a viral challenge to source donations. With the variety of methods available, there is room for creativity when beginning your next online fundraising campaign.
2. Virtual Volunteer Drives
Volunteer drives increase public awareness around an organization for the purpose of increasing the volunteer base. This can be done by hosting a virtual event, using video conferencing technology, where prospective volunteers can be informed about the organization, its cause, and what volunteering entails.
3. Virtual Fundraising Events
A virtual fundraising event involves the same characteristics of in-person fundraising events, such as galas, community discussions, and auctions, but it is conducted entirely online. Live-streaming and event management platforms have made it possible for people to convene from all areas of the country and the world, thus, virtual events are great ways to support interaction, engagement, and fundraising!
4. Hybrid Fundraising Events
Hybrid fundraising events combine virtual and in-person elements. These kinds of fundraising events allow for an increased number of potential attendees, as those able to participate in-person, as well as those who are remote, can attend.
As the world begins to shift beyond the pandemic era, hybrid fundraising is a great way to reinstate in-person engagement, while retaining connections with virtual networks.
5. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is just one tactic that is rising in popularity when it comes to charitable giving. But what is it? Peer-to-peer fundraising is individual crowdfunding organized and executed by your supporters.
This method is effective because your supporters will execute fundraising campaigns on your organization’s behalf while tapping into their own networks and relationships. Nearly $400 was raised online per individual supporter who participated in peer-to-peer fundraising for organizations and causes.
6. Social Media Campaigns
Social media is one of the biggest platforms for communication around the world. On Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, billions of people use social media to share and consume information.
With the massive audience offered by social platforms, launching a social media campaign can be a simple and highly effective way to get your organization’s name out there. By posting creative content on social media that directs attention to the core mission of your organization and the support that it needs, viewers can be compelled to contribute to the cause and/or share the post with peers in order to reach even larger audiences.
How to Plan a Virtual Fundraising Campaign
1. Determine the type of virtual campaign or event you’ll host.
2. Review your nonprofit’s current toolkit.*
3. Develop a budget, including any new tools you’ll need.
4. Set some specific financial and engagement goals for your campaign.
5. Implement any new tools that you’ll need.
6. Assign team roles for your campaign.
7. Begin promoting your virtual campaign.
8. Double-check all of your tech and make sure you can easily track results.
9. Officially launch your campaign and host any related events.
* Nonprofits should check early if they’ll need to invest in any new tools or platforms, like virtual event software or volunteer engagement and recruitment platforms (feel free to mention and link to Mobilize here).
The Virtual Fundraising Tools You’ll Need
1. Online donation software
In order for donors to contribute virtually, online donation software is a necessary component of your next online fundraising campaign. Online donation platforms offer streamlined processes for supporters to donate to a particular cause of organization using virtual software.
There are various platforms that offer donation processing services, each with basic and additional features. It is important to consider the features that you will need for your event or campaign when selecting the software of your choice. Explore some donation software services here!
2. Volunteer management tools
As volunteers serve as crucial components of any organization, it is important to maintain appropriate degrees of engagement and accessibility. Volunteer management tools allow organizations, often nonprofits, to find and retain essential volunteers.
There is a range of volunteer management software platforms that are available online, each with various features. Mobilize’s platform was named a leader in volunteer management software by G2. For a list of the top performing software services, check out G2’s list here!
3. Peer-to-Peer communication tools
Communication amongst peers is a fundamental aspect of developing and expanding organizational support networks. Peer-to-peer communication can prompt increased participation, fundraising, or volunteering activity.
Various platforms have integrated peer-to-peer communication features that allow for actions such as event promotion and volunteer recruitment. For example, within Mobilize’s platform, event registrants have the ability to send bring-a-friend invites when signing up for an event, which broadens the range of potential participants.
4. Virtual event software or live-streaming platforms
Virtual event and live-streaming software is a crucial supporting element of virtual event execution. These systems are used to manage and host various kinds of virtual events, such as conferences, galas, and auctions.
By using this software, the technical elements of event execution, such as audio-visual communication, can be managed and supported. There are various platforms that are available, each offering different assortments of features, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. For additional information and platform suggestions, explore the list put together by Capterra.
5. Registration tools for events
Participants need a centralized online platform to register for events that they want to attend. Digital registration tools offer organized and simple processes that benefit attendees and event organizers.
When looking for a registration tool for your next event, consider the various platforms that offer exceptional services. Mobilize allows organizers to display events and participants to register, or sign-up, all on one integrated platform.
6. Various marketing tools and outlets
When spreading awareness around an event, utilizing marketing tools and outlets can result in increased levels of engagement and fundraising. Various methods of digital communication, such as social media and email, are readily available. These can be used for direct and indirect advertising, which can bring attention to an event.
Pinpoint the audience that you want to target, and design a communication plan that will address and promote your next event. For additional information and ideas for virtual event marketing, check out this list.
7. A database or CRM to collect data and study results
A database, or CRM, can be used to collect information about supporters and engagement, such as contact information and the status of marketing campaigns. Utilizing a CRM allows for important information to be stored in a centralized system that is easily accessible for members of your organization.
Find some of the best CRM software services that are available here, and get organized!