Virtual fundraisers have helped nonprofits and local groups alike raise much-needed funds and preserve their community throughout the pandemic. Even as the world begins to resume in-person gatherings, online fundraisers provide a lasting opportunity to reach more people and provide supporters a convenient way to help your organization achieve its goals.
To help you plan your next online fundraiser, read on to learn about the three best online fundraiser formats and our tips to raise the most money possible by prioritizing your community.
3 Easy and Effective Online Fundraiser Ideas
Online fundraisers operate just as effectively as an in-person fundraiser, as long as you have the right virtual fundraiser platform.
Here are three traditional fundraising ideas that work well online, with tech considerations for each:
A silent auction enables your community to silently bid on a selection of goods or services. These online fundraisers require minimal team effort, considering that your supporters can browse booths and proactively submit bids on their own.
To host a successful virtual silent auction, create a room for every item or service so your guests can learn more about what’s up for bid, chat with the prize providers, and further connect with their community. Ideally, your event technology will support in-platform bidding, or you can use a shared document for your supporters to enter their bids.
A live auction requires more coordination than a silent auction, but the energy and excitement could be essential to helping you beat your fundraising goals. At a live auction online fundraiser, all of your supporters will join one virtual room to bid on your prizes in real time.
Online live auctions require a virtual event platform that supports a main presenter stage to showcase the item up for bid, with concurrent video streams to show the auctioneer and current highest bidder. An online chat function and nonverbal reactions can support the bidding process.
Your live or silent auctions can involve a paddles-up component. These fundraisers feature donor packages, in which any fundraiser attendee can pledge a donation within a specific range, potentially including benefits for each tier. Offer package tiers that enable anyone to pledge support of any amount, from $5 to $500 or more.
Make annual giving more fun by tying the asks to specific items. For example, if you’re raising funds for an elementary school, ask for five $500 donors for a laminator and lamination supplies, two $400 donors for a Cricut electric cutting machine for crafts, and five $200 contributors for the cutting machine supplies. This makes the gift feel specific and meaningful, versus the equivalent of a virtual Visa gift card.
How To Source Great Online Fundraiser Items
Understanding the best format for a virtual fundraiser is one hurdle. But, your team also needs to find items to auction off.
When planning a virtual fundraiser, think further than physical items or gift certificates for auction prizes. Frequently, nonprofit organizations overlook the many talents and passions of their supporters when it comes to sourcing auction items.
Partner with your member community to find ways to promote their services or support their passions while helping raise much-needed funds. For example, a social media consultant in your community might be happy to contribute a 1:1 coaching session as a raffle item. Or, a supporter with a viral Instagram account could offer to amplify the winning bidder’s content and mention them on their Instagram account. Other supporters might have in-demand hobbies that could make great auction items too—like dog walking, painting classes, garden plant starts, free yoga sessions, etc. Encouraging the donation of these highly personal goods and services can make your auction more enticing for your entire supporter community.
In addition to auctioning off big-ticket donated goods and services, involve your community in some aspect of your group’s day-to-day operations. If your nonprofit is raising funds for a new building, you could auction off the chance for someone to help direct the design elements of the building, like picking from a selection of images for the entry or choosing plants to have out front. A pet charity, as another example, could offer the chance for the winner’s beloved pet’s photo to appear in an edition of the member magazine or be part of the next charity calendar.
Just be cautious if you auction the chance to name something of importance. You don’t want a Boaty McBoatFace situation.
Exceed Your Fundraising Goals with Social hour
Our team has helped countless nonprofit organizations and community groups host successful virtual fundraisers that exceeded their goals. And we’re ready to help you, too.
Learn more about how our virtual fundraiser platform can help you run an amazingly fun and effective live virtual fundraising event today.