How to Attract Donors From Around the World With Your Virtual Event

7 min
how-to-attract-worldwide-donors-with-a-virtual-event
Jess Woloszyn

A virtual event for fundraising is your opportunity to introduce your cause directly to a worldwide audience of donors, as long as you have a solid plan to attract them.

Even as in-person activities return, the success of a virtual event speaks for itself. In 2020, 60% of donors gave online to nonprofits. We only expect that statistic to rise as organizations see their donation volume grow right alongside their geographic footprint.

We’ve put together the following list of creative ways to engage your existing donors and attract new global supporters through your virtual events. 

When you’re ready to start planning, our virtual event toolkit is here to help.

Download Now: Your Virtual Event Toolkit

These examples will show you new ways to engage participants in various locations through your virtual fundraising events.

1. Use Movement to Mobilize Donors Around the World

To Write Love On Her Arms took their dedication to present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide and shared it with supporters everywhere. The organization’s annual Run For It 5K brought participants together for a globally accessible activity with a close community feel.

Creative messaging and clear instructions helped the organization exceed their campaign goal and expand their donor base to engage for similar campaigns in the future. Their Classy campaign featured language that explicitly called out how someone could become a virtual runner regardless of where they were located.

As participants around the world geared up to support, To Write Love On Her Arms kept specific incentives front and center as motivation for the top fundraisers.

Consider this virtual event idea to build a sustainable donation strategy around more global donors for current campaigns, future fundraising efforts, and recurring monthly gifts.

CREATIVE IDEAS TO TAKE YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL:

  • Use strong call to action buttons to provide fundraising and direct donations
  • Include a straightforward virtual participant sign-up to welcome all guests
  • Feature team fundraising pages to tie participants’ stories to your cause
  • Build a broad event window to race in different time zones and terrains 
  • Use impact blocks to bring participants together around what donations support
  • Show a location-based leaderboard for healthy competition between supporters 
  • Offer a recurring monthly giving option to retain the worldwide reach 

2. Create a Feeling of Inclusivity in Every Location

Oasis for Orphans used their Global 5K for Orphans event to share their story with donors around the world. By simply placing the words “global” and “worldwide” right on the campaign header, the organization invited a wider audience of participants to drive 129% of their donation goal.

On their Classy campaign page, visitors saw clear calls to action. That helped the page resonate if a visitor was looking to run or interested in donating directly. Concise messaging effectively communicated the impact that each donation made on orphaned children worldwide and an interactive progress wheel demonstrated how many donations were fueling that impact in real time. 

To bring the element of togetherness to a virtual setting where runners participated from several countries, Oasis for Orphans provided all registrants with a branded shirt to wear during the event and keep as a reminder for the future.

See where you can incorporate clear and direct advertisements for your event to open the door to worldwide participants and the additional donors they will introduce to your cause.

CREATIVE IDEAS TO TAKE YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Use direct copy like “global’ or ‘worldwide” to welcome all participants
  • Build passion around a focus word like “resilient” that brings people together
  • Show a progress wheel to demonstrate the collective impact of worldwide donations
  • Build registration tiers with more incentives to promote higher gift amounts 
  • Give social media sharing options on individual participant fundraiser pages 
  • Unite participants with a personal touch like a physical shirt that everyone can wear

3. Eliminate Barriers to Your Virtual Event With a DIY Ride

World Bicycle Relief is committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence, and thrive in developing regions of the world. Naturally, the organization saw a perfect opportunity to bridge the distance between their worldwide donors through their Pedal to Empower event.

Pedal to Empower went from World Bicycle Relief’s annual signature ride to a global initiative through a DIY ride element that broke down physical and geographic barriers to participation. 

With a mobile app that guided participants through DIY challenges ranging from physical rides to mindfulness practices, World Bicycle Relief made it possible for any supporter to get on board. They even encouraged riders to fundraise using the cost of a bicycle as a goal to get donations flowing.

When you get creative about a virtual tool like a dedicated app, you can directly influence the return on investment of your annual event and build a community of global support to nurture into lifelong advocates.

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CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Promote your event as worldwide at the top of your campaign landing page
  • Provide a “how it works” section that makes the process simple to understand
  • Explain your DIY element in detail to show how easy participation is
  • Consider a dedicated app that guides participants before, during, and after the event
  • Encourage a minimum fundraising goal to keep participants motivated to share
  • Build corporate event sponsorships to support costs and advertisement
  • Deliver options that feel inclusive for anyone who wants to give back

4. Build a Global Recurring Giving Effort

Pencils of Promise makes it easy for donors in any location to support their global impact on education through their uniquely branded, monthly recurring giving campaign. Appropriately named, Passport brings in visuals that invoke the feeling of exploring and impacting the world with the organization.

 

Their recurring giving membership page set up through Classy sets the stage for anyone to join using a few key elements. The default monthly donation ask of $25 shows Pencil of Promise’s understanding of their donor base and what appeals to the majority.

They also ensure any commonly asked questions are answered throughout the page and the value of a donor’s monthly investment is thoughtfully presented through impact blocks. Potential donors can see member perks like quarterly stories from the field, an exclusive welcome gift, photos and videos of the children they impact with donations, and a surprise end-of-year souvenir. It’s just the right level of excitement to convert a curious supporter to a dedicated donor.

See how you can extend your recurring giving campaign into a worldwide community of donors with a feeling of inclusivity that will continue to fuel a sustainable revenue stream of monthly recurring donations.

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CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Make your introduction strong to attract global donors for the long term 
  • Set a default donation amount for monthly gifts that appeals to most donors
  • Offer compelling imagery and text to explain the value of each monthly gift
  • Answer donor questions about monthly giving to build trust around the investment
  • Design thoughtful touchpoints like welcome gifts, quarterly updates, and photos 
  • Show multiple donate buttons to increase conversion opportunities

Get actionable tips to build your recurring giving campaign from the ground up in our comprehensive guide.

5. Start a Worldwide Movement Through Virtual Classes

HEADstrong Foundation encourages DIY fundraising through creative campaigns like Riding aHead of Cancer. The campaign started with a single bike gifted to HEADstrong by Peloton’s Comeback Program to help families de-stress throughout the cancer treatment process. 

Riding aHead of Cancer gives fundraisers a way to come together online as part of Team HEADstrong. Participants have the additional option to pledge their performance through Peloton workouts the same way they would on an outdoor run or walk to support the cause. By using a virtual class platform, riders can participate together on their own time or live on Peloton for the ultimate feeling of togetherness.

Peloton’s strong international presence opens HEADstrong up to reach new riders through an activity they enjoy and can share with their own communities. A dedicated hashtag for the campaign gives all participants a fun way to share their progress as they turn a normal part of their routine into an amazing way to give back.

Use a virtual class to bring out a shared passion among existing supporters and new donor audiences through the flexibility of a DIY fundraising campaign.

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CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Unite participants around a shared passion to encourage donations
  • Tap into well-established virtual classes to make joining in live a simple ask
  • Tell your story to give new supporters the “why” behind their donations 
  • Build a team that makes participants feel part of something greater than themselves
  • Direct traffic to social media to boost organic reach in entirely new communities

6. Tie Your Virtual Event to a Global Cause Awareness Day

Water4 made a single day into a goal-breaking fundraising campaign by getting strategic about a global cause awareness day. End World Water Day was a campaign that pulled in donors from around the globe to unite against a challenge they face collectively.

A compelling video and bold header image on their Classy campaign immediately introduced a reason for donors to give. The organization incorporated a donate button, fundraising progress bar, and supporter count visual to give anyone who landed on the page what they needed to convert without having to scroll. 

Water4 saw the opportunity to use social media as a way to organically reach new donors without location constraints. Not only did they create a dedicated Facebook group for the event, they directed campaign page traffic back to their Instagram account to build engagement around the event with a wide array of followers.

In seconds, the hashtags associated with the significance of World Water Day became associated with Water4 and their mission.

Take a timely approach to boost donations by making an easy-to-share campaign that reaches donors across the world instantly to build your global supporter base.

virtual-event-idea-water4

CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Tie your organization to a specific cause awareness day that impacts the globe
  • Creatively introduce suggested donation amounts and their impact on your cause
  • Educate new site visitors about your organization upfront to convert donors
  • Create a Facebook group to build a community among supporters around the world
  • Use a world cause awareness day’s hashtag to be found by more supporters

Check out these examples of leveraging the calendar for your cause.

7. Set the Stage for International Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

109 World makes fundraisers the star of the show with a unique peer-to-peer campaign to support their international 109 trips or related fundraising goals. Their approach places each fundraiser in the creative seat to select the best way to secure local and global donations for their unique goal.

Their use of impact blocks on their Classy campaign helped display the many opportunities to take action in a personal way, from leveraging their birthday to teaching yoga to beneficiaries. The various ideas listed get their supporters’ creative juices flowing to start a campaign whenever, wherever.

Create an evergreen stream of donations by empowering worldwide supporters to fundraise in a way that shines within their community with a little inspiration to get started.

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CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Make it easy to set up a personal fundraising page with any level of technical ability
  • Provide examples of fundraisers that attract donations from any country
  • Strike a balance between telling your story and inspiring supporters to continue it 
  • Give the option to share on social media within each individual fundraiser page
  • Include a search bar for visitors to search for other fundraisers to support

Ensure your next peer-to-peer, event, or crowdfunding campaign hits the mark with our step-by-step checklist.

8. Reach the World Through Livestream

Lakeview Pantry turned to livestream to bring their virtual Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope event into the living rooms of anyone who wanted to support the ongoing fight against hunger. While the event was a hit, it didn’t end when the cameras stopped rolling. 

The livestream recording still lives on their Classy campaign to expand the initial work to produce the event into a continuous donation magnet that anyone can access. Lakeview Pantry’s fully-produced video makes it easy to engage new donors and re-engage supporters through email and social media. 

Make your upcoming production efforts last all year to introduce what your nonprofit is all about in an engaging video that attracts new donor communities in a personal way.

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CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Host a livestream virtual event that pulls in donors all over the place in real-time
  • Introduce a guest MC to keep attendees engaged and excited
  • Turn the livestream into a video to engage new attendees in various time zones
  • Give attendees a link to share the event and reach broader audiences 
  • Advertise the video recording after the event to continue collecting donations 

Get the inside scoop on how to start in our blog post, 4 Tips to Host a Successful Livestream Event.

9. Partner With Similar Nonprofits to Expand Your Reach

Humane Society of Southern Arizona got together with 31 shelters across the United States to present March Muttness. The campaign is a competition to see who can raise the most donations. Not only does the idea of pairing up with like-minded organizations attract more donors to your virtual event, it introduces the fun of competition that people crave.

The March Muttness event successfully played on a specific date range that excites sports fans (March Madness). They used a bracket-style donation tracker to show which organizations were in the lead each day and a map that displayed broad participation across the nation.  While this event is national, it’s an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to partner globally for an even larger impact. 

Consider how you can partner with other organizations or just one nonprofit to creatively join forces, engage supporters around a well-known event, and introduce one another’s supporter base to new communities at the same time. 

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CREATIVE IDEAS TO BRING YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT GLOBAL

  • Pull organizations into your event from multiple locations, and their donors
  • Introduce competition as a fun incentive to donate and regularly return for updates
  • Get creative around timing tied to games and events like March Madness
  • Showcase results through brackets that display the wide participation
  • Create a map to show how communities across locations are coming together

Take On the World With Your Virtual Event

Activate Donors Worldwide With a Cross-Currency Solution

You may decide to use one of these virtual event ideas or get inspired to create something entirely new. Either way, you can’t forget about the international transaction experience that every global campaign needs.  

Classy Passport, for example, is a solution that enables supporters around the world to fundraise and donate in their local currencies. Consider how you can make it as easy as possible for people to make multi-currency transactions without skipping a beat. 

Don’t Forget to Attend Our Global Virtual Event, Free of Cost

Hear directly from experts and peers across the nonprofit sector on what’s ahead for online fundraising. We’re exploring how nonprofits can continue to push boundaries to support the world’s most important causes together.

Join our completely free 2021 virtual nonprofit conference to hear from over 50 speakers from around the world.

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Until then, here’s your complete virtual event toolkit to make your next campaign one to remember.

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