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8 Fresh Ways to Upgrade Your Fall Fundraising Event


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Published September 14, 2022 Reading Time: 6 minutes

From Halloween pumpkin carvings to Thanksgiving turkey trots, nonprofits have no shortage of creative fall fundraising ideas to choose from that will bring communities together to raise money for good. A big part of that autumn magic is getting to gather in person. As live events are back in full swing, nonprofits can consider how to host a standout fall fundraising event that wows new and existing donors.

We’ll dive into several ways that a digital platform, like Classy Live, can power your in-person fall event, so you can provide a remarkable attendee experience that keeps donors excited throughout the holiday season.

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How Classy Live Brings Fundraising Events to Life

Classy Live enables you to host a virtual, live, or hybrid fundraising event that stands out from the crowd, no matter where your donors are. With a slew of dynamic features that encourage fundraising activity, this robust virtual event venue empowers you to drive meaningful attendee engagement and more revenue for your mission.

Read Next: Digitally Transform Your Event With Classy Live

While Classy Live has all the thoughtful features to host an exceptional virtual or hybrid event, it can really transform your in-person event into a phenomenal attendee experience. By streamlining your event registration, management, and day-of logistics, your staff and attendees can zero in on event festivities while raising money for your cause.

Take advantage of the following features to make your fall fundraising event one to remember.

8 Tips to Upgrade Your In-Person Fall Fundraising Event

Tip #1: Simplify Your Check-In Process

The simpler your check-in process, the better impression you make on supporters attending your fall event. With Classy Live, you can quickly check attendees in at the door (or outside for those turkey trots) via their name, email, or QR code you send them ahead of time. Our check-in modal also allows you to quickly see the attendee’s table number, check if they have a payment method on file, and text them a link to your auction page.

Tip #2: Streamline Table and Seating Management

As the weather gets colder, indoor events like galas or dinners can be a great way to pull supporters out for a night of dining and fundraising. Your thoughtful table and seating arrangement then become an important part of their event experience.

Classy Live enables you to easily create table and seating assignments ahead of your fall fundraising event. Using a visual display, you can quickly:

  • Drag and drop attendees to tables
  • Assign or reorder table numbers
  • Highlight sponsors or table captains
  • Export your final attendee list before the event
  • Use automated seating to fill the floor plan
  • Shift guests around as needed


Tip #3: Showcase a Digital Display of Fundraising Progress

A display of your fundraising progress at your fall event is a great touch that can motivate your attendees to give, especially during moments you speak about your work, express gratitude, and share what you want to achieve. If you’re hosting a Giving Tuesday or holiday fundraising event, throw this up on a screen behind you as you talk about how the proceeds will impact the people you serve now and into the new year.

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Then, you can highlight your overall progress to your goal as a thermometer view or a total fundraising view. You could also hone in on specific fundraising drivers, like text-to-donate, or a specific auction item. In doing so, you show your attendees how much they’ve helped you raise before and throughout the event, coupled with compelling storytelling around the impact of these funds, and encourage more giving throughout the event.

Tip #4: Promote Your Auction Ahead of the Event

Create a beautifully branded, mobile-responsive auction page that empowers your attendees to:

  • Bid on silent auction items through their mobile device
  • Participate in a digital paddle raise
  • Buy fixed-priced items
  • See what you plan to auction off live

By sending this page out ahead of the event, you can get your attendees excited to attend.

It’s also a good idea to open your auction a week or two ahead of your event day and encourage attendees to start bidding or watching items. This is a great way to get them to add their credit cards on file ahead of the event, creating a smoother checkout experience.

Tip #5: Manage a Paddle Raise or Direct Appeal With Ease

If you’re directing donations to a fund-a-need initiative at your fall gala or hosting an on-site paddle raise at your harvest house party, don’t break a sweat. Admins can use the “quick add mode” to rapidly record paddle numbers tied to specific commitment amounts. This adds that commitment amount into the respective attendee’s cart, so they can easily pay for that item. Your digital fundraising display will also capture the commitment if you use one to display your progress at your in-person event.

There’s also the option to leave it open-ended, especially if you’re promoting a specific initiative. So instead of asking, “Who can bid $100?” you can ask, “How much would you want to give?” Once an attendee names an amount, you can punch in that custom number, find the bidder, and assign that total to them.

While the in-person paddle raises are very popular to drive direct donations, you can also have a digital paddle-raise item on your auction page where your virtual attendees can add their commitments. Equally great, a hybrid approach can capture commitments from your in-person and digital attendees, maximizing your fundraising opportunity.

Tip #6: Use Text-to-Donate Throughout the Event

No matter the nature of your fall fundraising event, choose several moments throughout your event agenda to call for donations and give attendees the opportunity to text-to-donate. Through Classy Live, you can create a keyword specific to your event and promote it through event materials. Then, while at the event, attendees can text your keyword to the phone number provided and receive a URL to your donation form to quickly make a gift.


Tip #7: Incorporate More Fundraising Opportunities

Raise more for your mission when you make your fall event a Registration with Fundraising campaign. In fact, The State of Modern Philanthropy 2022 report found that events with peer-to-peer fundraising converted* at 47 percent, the highest rate of all campaign types.

*Conversion refers to registrations and donations. 

Consider how you can leverage an event with peer-to-peer fundraising to engage attendees and sponsors. African Community Education (ACE), a Classy customer, did it by partnering with corporations and schools to raise money for its cause and using registration with fundraising to have the schools fundraise on its behalf leading up to the event. Think about how you can engage corporate partners or sponsors to raise money for your organization ahead of your fall event.

Read the Entire ACE Event Success Story

Tip #8: Consider Going Hybrid

As nonprofits go back to in-person events, it’s important not to forget about your virtual audiences and extend your geographical reach. With Classy Live, you can always make your fall fundraising event a hybrid one.

Check out some of the ways that you can engage virtual audiences with your in-person event:

  • Livestream parts of your in-person event, such as the opening message at your fall gala or final leg of your Thanksgiving 5K, so virtual attendees can share the experience and celebrate alongside you.
  • Promote chat and networking functionalities that enable in-person attendees to communicate with virtual attendees. Think virtual friends and family cheering on others during your fall race, participating alongside in-person attendees in your pumpkin carving contest, or teaming up with in-person attendees at your fall trivia night.
  • Host virtual breakout rooms during your harvest dinner to encourage more intimate conversations. You can even structure these as virtual tables for your virtual attendees while allowing them to engage with in-person attendees.

Encourage virtual attendees to bid on silent auction items, purchase fixed-price items, and participate in virtual fund-a-need initiatives.

Elevate Your Live Fall Fundraising Event With Classy Live

Kick off the holiday season on the right foot when you make your fall fundraising event one to remember. With these Classy Live features, you can streamline your event logistics, manage your event with ease, and delight your attendees with a memorable experience—all while driving more fundraising revenue for your mission.

To learn more about how Classy Live can enhance your fundraising events, chat with an expert today.

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