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Answers to 9 New 2022 Fundraising Event Questions

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By Robert Carnes

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Published March 31, 2022 Reading Time: 6 minutes

There are a lot of logistics involved with any fundraising event, especially an online or hybrid one. Nonprofits naturally have many questions on how to make the most of them. For that reason, nonprofits should ask their fundraising platforms and service providers about the ways their event capabilities will evolve.

Here are some of the most common fundraising event questions we’ve received from nonprofit leaders like you, along with some insights to help with your decision-making process.

1. How Can I Create Interactive and Targeted Networking Among Attendees?

Networking is a huge benefit of in-person events that just wasn’t the same when the events were 100% virtual. Thankfully, we’ve learned some alternative ways to maximize engagement and create networking opportunities when a virtual component is paired with a live event.

4 Steps to Encourage Networking

  1. Allow attendees to see who else is attending and reach out and chat with them (similar to an in-person event).
  2. Track what interests and questions attendees share when they arrive, and provide them with recommendations of other like-minded attendees they may want to network with.
  3. Create a fun, serendipitous online speed networking lounge that allows attendees to meet and build relationships. In a platform like Classy Live, you can set the number of meetings and the online meeting duration so everyone’s conversation stays fresh and new.
  4. Allow attendees to create their own roundtables within your online venue to have face-to-face discussions with a small group of people.

2. How Can I Stream My Content to More Viewers?

An event platform like Classy Live is equipped with native live streaming, but also allows you to stream from your preferred technology. You can poll your audience during the live stream, ask live questions, and encourage attendees to chat amongst themselves or directly with you. Attendees can view the activity tracker to view live donations, and they can see live leaderboards of fundraising activity to encourage more giving.

There are also a lot of simulcast platform options for nonprofits to use when it comes to streaming a virtual or hybrid event. Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube Live are just some of the most popular options. 

Ideally, your streaming platform should allow you to broadcast speakers, host breakout rooms, and track attendees as they enter your virtual venue. These platforms use similar rules to a video conference like Zoom. Most offer the option to share your screen or play a pre-recorded video in between the live content.

If you want to toggle between live and pre-recorded content, we recommend using a tool like Restream or Streamyard as your “control p​​anel” for switching between videos and live. This option gives you more flexibility to add in video overlays and schedule out your program content.

Livestreaming Fully Virtual vs. Hybrid Events

Livestreaming a fully virtual event is typically when you invite speakers from anywhere around the world to join via a livestreamed broadcast. In Classy Live, speakers can join in the digital backstage to practice before going “live”. 

Livestreaming a hybrid event is typically when you stream portions of your physical event like a performance so that the virtual attendees can participate without physically having to be there.

3. What Equipment Will I Need to Use?

The goal of these events is to raise money for your cause, not spend the entire budget on expensive equipment. Luckily, hosting a hybrid event doesn’t automatically require a ton of special gear.

4 Pieces of Equipment You’ll Need

  • Headphones: It’s best if all your speakers use basic headphones to limit the chance of distracting background noise or audio feedback.
  • Camera: An HD camera gets you nicer video quality, especially if you’re broadcasting from a live event. Even if you don’t purchase one, they can often be rented for a day or week.
  • Microphone: Consider purchasing a podcast-caliber microphone for better quality audio.
  • Software. The livestream software can be one of the largest differentiators. Classy Live will cover most of the basics, but you can also integrate a third-party system like StreamYard to get more creative with video overlays and embeds during the broadcast.

4. How Can I Encourage Donations At My Event?

Minimizing your expenses is one thing, but how do you also maximize the funds you’re able to generate from these events? Here are some of the best practices for drawing more donations during your next online event.

5 Tips for Getting More Virtual Event Donations

  1. Remind everyone what they’re giving to. This message should be reinforced through the content being shared, including the speakers or pre-recorded videos.
  2. Allow for attendees to give in a variety of ways—either through a direct appeal like a paddle raise or fund-a-need, or via a live or silent auction, or by selling merchandise during your event. This requires you to capture their payment information upfront, much like you would do at an in-person event. Make these experiences available to supporters via their mobile device and text-to-donate.
  3. Share a leaderboard of how much money has been raised and who has donated directly within your virtual venue, or create digital displays to show fundraising progress totals or a thermometer view during your physical event. .
  4. If you include a silent auction in your online event, choose a platform that will update users on their bid status. Most importantly, a bidder is notified when they’ve been outbid on an item and given the opportunity to add a higher bid.
  5. Generate automatic receipts as donations are given, or auction items are won or lost. This serves as a notification to the attendees, as well as a record of their gifts. In addition, attendees can go through the self check-out process to complete their gift or pay for the auction item. 

5. Should My Hybrid Event Have a Moderator?

We encourage all hybrid events to have a moderator, or multiple moderators—just like how in-person events have a host (or hosts). A moderator gives your event a single face both online and in-person, keeps the event on track, and helps segue from one segment to the next.

Within Classy Live, moderators can share a backstage link with any speaker that is going on-stage. This allows the speaker, any guests, and the moderator to prepare prior to going live. The moderator is usually then the one who takes them into the live room and introduces everyone.

Organizations can also consider having someone to manage the Q&A during each session, as well as someone to facilitate the livestreaming technology. It’s a good idea to map out the run-of-show before the event and make sure there are resources to support attendees during the whole program.

6. How Can I Ensure My Event Is Accessible To All Guests?

Accessibility is an important component of an online event, but it’s often overlooked. An estimated 15% of the world’s population suffers from a disability that could impact how they browse online. Forgetting about online accessibility would be like neglecting to include handicap ramps entering your in-person event. Neglecting this can prevent certain people from participating.

Ask your event platform if they use something like accessiBe to ensure the platform is ADA and WCAG compliant. This way, you can enable the accessibility widget to be available to attendees. 

Better website accessibility includes things like:

  • Ensuring that the screen contrast helps those with visual impairments
  • Checking alt text for all online images and photos
  • Making it easier to navigate menus for those who can’t use a mouse

7. What Level of Customization Should I Include in My Online Event Venue?

There’s no shortage of fundraising solicitations or online events. The best way for your nonprofit to standout and create a memorable experience for supporters is personalization. Digital platforms give you the chance to automate some elements, but it also takes time and thought.

Brainstorm with your team some ways that you could make each event a unique experience. Put your organization’s touch on the event. Let your brand shine through and make it your own. That’s been easier to do at in-person events, but it’s also possible with virtual and hybrid fundraisers.

Examples of virtual venue customization that your event provider may offer include:

  • Customize logos and banners across the virtual experience
  • Upload custom background on the stage
  • Specify an accent color to go throughout the event 
  • Rename specific labels and areas within the product 
  • Save commonly used email templates for re-use within the event 

8. How Should I Handle Follow Up Communication After My Event?

Virtual events come and go—so don’t let your donors forget about you once the event is over. Use a few of these communication methods to continue nurturing them into loyal supporters. Meet attendees where they are at and you want/need communication tools that drive conversion.

Emails are the most direct and effective way to communicate with attendees after a hybrid fundraising event. Use email templates within your event platform to pull in relevant information from the event like how much money they donated. Leverage merge tags in your email copy to simply click and send personalized, relevant emails.

We recommend designing email templates for different touch points prior to, during, and post-event. This way, no matter what stage you and your team are at in the process, the event comes with a fully-baked communication plan.

Text messages are another effective method for following up with attendees post-event. You can filter and group by different types of attendees and/or groups and send SMS to those individuals who have opted in during registration to receive these notifications.

9. What Metrics Should I Track To Gauge The Success Of My Event?

Basic event analytics provide you access to fundamental stats around your attendees, sessions, booths, and break-out rooms. You can see who attended vs. did not attend, which sessions were most attended and how different booths or breakout rooms were performed.

There are also different dashboard views for bidders, transactions and auction items. These can all be filtered, sorted, and exported to produce any reports you need. 

The Future of Fundraising Events

Two years ago, nonprofit professionals and organizations were brand new to virtual and hybrid events. Now, nearly all of us have experience with these new technology-driven methods of fundraising. However, that doesn’t mean we still have a lot to learn.

There are plenty more questions to be answered when it comes to the future of fundraising events. In the meantime, these tips and insights should help your nonprofit take its next virtual experience to the next level.

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