4 Steps to Take Your Nonprofit Livestreaming Events to the Next Level
Event livestreaming has gained substantial momentum as a fundraising tactic in recent years. It’s gained even more popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic nudged organizations to connect with audiences in new, nontraditional ways.
Like many others, Classy customer the HEADstrong Foundation had to quickly shift from an in-person fundraising event to a virtual one in response to the pandemic. The result: their livestreamed event raised $350,000, the same amount as the previous year but with 60% less overhead.
We chatted with the HEADstrong Foundation team to find out how they were able to successfully transition their in-person event to a virtual celebration without sacrificing donor engagement in the process.
Below are four steps to take when preparing to go live for your next virtual event, with a few specific examples of how the HEADstrong Foundation team hosted such an impactful evening at their virtual gala.
1. Leverage Prerecorded Videos
Finding a steady flow during a real-time event can be challenging when you’re at the mercy of your internet connection. When they had to go virtual, the team at the HEADstrong Foundation wanted to avoid any last-minute video streaming hiccups and make it as convenient as possible for all event performers participating.
Since the date changed from the originally scheduled gala, the team decided to accommodate the schedules of their performers by requesting prerecorded video content of their speeches or live music, with a brief introduction explaining their connection to the HEADstrong Foundation.
The team then pieced the content together to create a polished two-hour set of streamed performances with speakers and awards incorporated throughout the event.
Use prerecorded videos to eliminate the stress of any unforeseen technical issues with your wifi or livestreaming service and ensure a smooth experience. This strategy also gives the host, speakers, and performing artists more flexibility and time to record themselves and send their videos, instead of blocking out the designated time of the event.
2. Deliver a Consistent Experience in Quality
Chances are your supporters have purchased tickets or fundraised on behalf of your previous in-person events because of a deep connection to your nonprofit and excitement for the different event activities and perks.
To keep your audience engaged with your next virtual event, reemphasize your commitment to uphold that brand standard of a quality event experience in a virtual landscape. Extend the invitation to all supporters to participate in another exciting, meaningful event from the comfort of their homes.
The HEADstrong Foundation wanted to incorporate a shared experience at its livestream gala to replicate the communal atmosphere of its traditional in-person event.
Their team sent a Grubhub gift card to each ticket holder prior to the event to purchase a dinner of their choice and eat with their fellow supporters while watching the show.
Consider incorporating a similar element into your livestream event or replace the gift card with something more tailored to your fundraising campaign that guests can enjoy together at a designated time.
When strategizing your messaging, focus on community-centric language that strikes a chord with your supporters. Consider highlighting the ways your organization continues to foster a sense of community despite the shift to Zoom, Twitch, or an alternative livestreaming platform.
Then, encourage your attendees to get dressed up for the event—whether in formal attire or casual garb—and share photos on their favorite social media platforms during the event to strengthen that feeling of connection.
Above all else, emphasize the benefits of bringing your supporters together in innovative ways and how these events can help fuel your mission.
Stream your event on multiple channels to maximize your visibility. Rather than just streaming it through Facebook Live, start streaming it through YouTube Live too. Consider leveraging Instagram Live as well to cater to younger audiences.
The HEADstrong Foundation even extended its efforts one step further by offering a live after-party with a 30-minute DJ set on Instagram TV following the gala.
Drive supporters to your page in multiple ways to raise more donations and boost attendance. Leverage multiple platforms to get the word out and ensure an optimized donation process for conversion on desktop and mobile devices.
The team at HEADstrong Foundation leveraged a Classy donation form for their virtual gala, which included preferred payment methods like Venmo. Their team raised $349,875 in total revenue as a result.
Another tip for appealing to larger audiences is a silent auction component in your event to encourage participation among all community members. This grants every donor the opportunity to participate and show support, especially if purchasing a ticket to your event was a large financial lift.
4. Invest in Quality Production
Dedicate the time and resources to ensure your organization has quality audio and video for your livestream event. Although seemingly small, these production details can make the difference between missing your fundraising goal and hitting it out of the park.
This is part of maintaining and delivering your brand standards, especially when shifting to a virtual landscape. Your supporters know what you’re capable of and expect that same experience whether sitting in the crowd at an event venue or tuning in through streaming software in their living room.
Seek an external production team if your budget allows, or simply consider upscaling your audio and video quality in these simple ways:
- Upgrade to a professional microphone
- Invest in a high-quality webcam
- Enhance your lighting
Check out our blog post on video conferencing tips for more ideas on how you can upgrade your setup.
Raise More to Do More With Today’s Streaming Solutions
Livestreaming is here to stay. As organizations strategize how to uplevel virtual and hybrid events to engage larger audiences, it’s crucial to consider how live video can play a role in your event strategy.
Your Nonprofit's Hybrid Events Toolkit
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