Did you miss out on important revenues in 2020 because you canceled your annual fundraising event? It’s hard to believe that any virtual fundraising ideas could match the in-person experience, but you’d be surprised at how many opportunities there are to keep the money flowing. 

Let’s look at a few ways you can raise virtual funds in ways that increase your donor base and, consequently, increase your donation revenue this year.

Types of Virtual Fundraising Activities

Virtual Fundraising Events

Hosting fundraising events online, like virtual galas, may feel impersonal and unproductive at first. However, it’s crucial to maintain a connection with your donors and patrons and to keep them updated about how their contributions have helped you in achieving your mission. Plus, virtual events offer a lot of added benefits for you.

Not only does it cost less to host an event online than it does in person, but you can also reach new markets with online events. People who previously may not have been able to attend your in-person events can now participate. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a whole new group of donors! 

Virtual events also offer lots of opportunities to connect with your donors. Hosting live interactive presentations and networking hours will help you share your message and connect with an important audience.  

Existing Online Events

Perhaps you’re already hosting online events for your member base or the people your organization serves. Why not include sponsorship opportunities as CNIB did? Opening up your event to sponsors or exhibitors is a great way to raise some extra funds, while at the same time serving your community. It’s a win-win! 

Virtual Contests

Maybe your organization’s approach to fundraising involves gamification. If you want to keep things fun and incentivize people to donate, run a virtual contest or challenge! There are so many ways you can run a contest. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Host a contest where participants have to pay to enter and achieve a goal. Create a real-time leaderboard for participants to track, and award a prize to the winner.
  • Ask people to get pledges for your organization, and award a prize to the top earner.
  • Host a simple draw. People may pay to enter, and you draw the name of a winner.
  • Host a live online auction, in which people can participate and bid from their own homes.

Online Merchandise

Do you have an online store yet? If not, selling your own merch is one of our favorite virtual fundraising ideas! Not only do you increase potential revenue, branded merch also helps to build brand visibility! Stores like the Best Friends Store and the St. Jude Gift Shop offer various branded items from clothes to home accessories. Proceeds from these sales help support the organizations’ cause. Start by producing merchandise that naturally aligns with your mission. For example, the pet collars and toys sold in the Best Friends Store are perfect for owners who have just adopted a new best friend! 

Online Fundraising Ideas through Virtual Events

Sell Tickets

You stand to increase your ROI through virtual events by saving on overhead costs like venue and catering. This means that you can sell tickets at the same or even a slightly discounted price as your in-person events, and increase your revenue from previous years. 

You could also charge more per ticket if you’re able to add extra value. The chances of securing a high-profile speaker increase when the need for travel is eliminated. You could host a virtual panel or speaker series that you may not have been able to organize at an in-person event.

Sell Sponsorship Packages

If you’re already hosting online events for your communities, include a virtual exhibition hall where companies can buy booths and connect with your audience. You can build tiered sponsorship packages that offer companies brand visibility, speaking opportunities, and different exhibit booth options. 

This is not only a great way to raise more money for your cause, but also to connect your members to important resources. As you can see, at the Girl Up Summit, sponsors’ logos were showcased throughout the Virtual Lobby, and they could buy booths to set up in the exhibition hall. 

Sell Your Merchandise

We already mentioned that creating your own merch is a good revenue stream. Did you know that people can also order merch through your event platforms? Host an online shopping cart so attendees who are already excited about your cause can easily check out with a souvenir! 

Host Draws and Raffles

We don’t think they’ll need it, but it’s helpful to encourage people to buy tickets through prizes and giveaways. Offer a door prize, or tier your ticket pricing and enter higher ticket levels into a 50/50 draw. Don’t forget to highlight this as you’re promoting your event – people are always willing to give to a good cause, but they’re willing to give more if they’re incentivized! 

Host an Online Auction

Host live auctions through your virtual events platform. Live-stream your auctioneer and allow participants to respond through a side chat or even speak with the host. Remember to have a moderator ready, though, as things could get chaotic quickly. Establish some guidelines and continually reiterate what the item’s going-rate is at.

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