Whilst we are beginning to see a return to in-person fundraising, now is not the time to abandon virtual events. Virtual events allow you to reach wider audiences, be more accessible and see a greater return on investment. The future is hybrid.

When planning your next virtual event, you’ll need a quick, easy and contactless metric like Text Giving to enable your supporters to donate.

Here are 5 ways in which you can incorporate Text Giving into your virtual event.

  1. Add Text Giving to an Online Broadcast

Text Giving is the perfect donation metric for an online broadcast, as it allows your supporter to quickly donate without having to click away from the broadcast. They just grab their phone, send a text and they are done!

For some inspiration, check out the National Theatre at Home campaign, which enabled fans across the globe to tune in for some classic West End performances. The shows were broadcast for free with fans able to text to make a donation if they enjoyed what they saw – meaning world class theatre was available to all.

  1. Create a Virtual Bucket Collection

Bucket collections are one of the first things that come to mind when you think of fundraising! You can use our template to create a virtual alternative, which works perfectly at a virtual event or for a social media campaign.

Even for in-person fundraising, the advice from the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising suggests that you should review how you accept and handle donations to ensure social distancing and good hygiene practices. So a Text Giving keyword also works for an in-person bucket collection.

  1. A Simple Donation Metric for a Viral Campaign

Teesside Hospice partnered with footballer Ben Gibson on the ‘26 Keep Up Challenge’. Participants attempted 26 keep ups with a football, donated £5 and nominated 5 friends. Text Giving provided the perfect donation metric, as it’s quick, easy to communicate and supporters could share a screenshot of the confirmation text to prove that they had donated.  

If you are aiming for a viral element to your virtual fundraising, then look no further!

  1. Text-to-Vote to Choose Your Winner

If there is a competitive element to your virtual event, such as a talent show, then you can ask your supporters to choose the winner via text. Just register a keyword for each competitor and ask your supporters to text choose who they would like to win - whilst making a donation for your charity.

For more information on how to do this, check out the Max’s Foundation Virtual Talent Show.

  1. Personalised Comms to Your Supporters

Send a customised thank you text to your supporters so they know that you really appreciate their donation. You can even embed a link to a video or case study story to build a truly great supporter experience.

Donr will shortly be launching their ‘Text Journeys’ platform, which will enable you to continue to communicate with supporters long after your event. This means that you can steward supporters into regular donors, or invite attendees to your next virtual event.

We’ve given you 5 examples to get you started, but Text Giving is such a versatile tool that the possibilities really are endless! If you would like to find out more, please visit us at www.donr.com or contact [email protected]

You know that feeling? When you write to your mailing list and someone unsubscribes? Your stomach turns, your eyes water up, and for a brief moment you consider e-mailing them to ask, “Why don’t you love me anymore?”

But remember, good fundraising isn’t about making everyone care about you…it’s about caring for the few that do.

Unsubscribing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If the alternative is for someone to sit on your mailing list indefinitely, never engaging, never taking action, then wouldn’t you rather be rid of them? In fact, Jon Lloyd at Fundraising Is Awesome said recently, “you should think seriously about actively unsubscribing anyone who’s been inactive for 3 months or more.”

While you mull that over, here’s 4 ways you can reduce the chances of your active readers from unsubscribing:

Be Human

The more human your e-mail sounds and appears, the less likely we are to unsubscribe. Nobody unsubscribes from humans…we unsubscribe from organisations. You can do this by writing from an individual e-mail address as opposed to an ‘info’ or ‘fundraising’ address. Consider sending plain text e-mails sometimes, or at least reducing the bells, whistles, images and excessive formatting (please stop centring your text). Read the content out loud before you send it…if it doesn’t sound like the way you speak then change it.

Segment Your Data

Where possible, segment your data so you’re sending relevant content to relevant people. Or at least, suppressing people who have no interest in a particular mail. For example, I’m on the mailing list of a organisation because I went to their event in Dublin. I’m interested in future events taking place in Dublin. But they keep sending me e-mails about their events being run by their chapters in places like London and Yorkland and Sandwich-Upon-Time. The chances of me being there are slim to none. But if they do insist on trying to cross-sell me then they should tack it in as part of a mail I will be interested in: “Here’s the next Dublin event…and you might also be interested in these.” But instead they’re sending me mails wholly dedicated to non-local events. It just takes one of these irrelevant e-mails to nudge me to unsubscribe…and then I’m gone forever.

E-mail When You Have Something To Say

Rather than deciding to e-mail once a week or once a month and then scrambling to find content, consider keeping a more flexible schedule where you e-mail when you have good content. When you send out fluff to meet a deadline, you’re sending sub-standard e-mails that encourage unsubscribes. And if you don’t have enough good content then let’s work to gather and create more.

Offer Value

Always ask yourself, what value am I providing to the reader? Donor-centred and #DonorLove rules. If you’ve won an award or achieved something, consider why the reader should care. Try shifting the tone from “we have won an award” to “because of you we have won an award”, or even better, “your support has been recognised and we were privileged to pick up this award on behalf of you!”

These are some of the recommendations we send to our event speakers. But we thought that now more and more of us are doing video calls these might be helpful to everyone!

Make sure you have the following:

Basic Equipment:

Please note: this is for a yet-to-be-scheduled virtual training session that will be broadcast on FundraisingEverywhere.com at a later date. However, your purchase and donation of €5 will be processed immediately and put straight to good use.

We're going to be following a small charity (Tiny Tickers) as they launch a donor survey from scratch, with help from one of the world's most famous fundraisers, Rory Green.

You can buy your ticket now, with all profits being split equally between Tiny Tickers and The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Buy/Donate Now

Follow the journey as Rory Green starts a small charity's donor survey from scratch. From purpose and demand, to delivery and results, you'll see everything.

Later this year we'll broadcast a behind the scenes look at the project from start to finish, followed by a Q&A session with the stars.

Don't worry if you miss the live stream…recording will be made available afterwards to watch at your convenience.

All Ticket Sales Will Be Donated and split equally between Tiny Tickers and The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund

The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund is a secure way for individuals, philanthropies and businesses to contribute to the WHO-led effort to respond to the pandemic. The United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation have created the solidarity fund to support WHO and partners in a massive effort to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the novel coronavirus – particularly those where the needs are the greatest.

Tiny Tickers (tinytickers.org) is a small national charity that works to improve the chances of babies born with a serious heart condition.

Rory Green has been fundraising since the age of 10, when she volunteered to help run her school’s annual Bike-A-Thon for juvenile cancer research. Fundraising became her vocation at 14, when she lost a friend to Leukemia. Rory Green has been in the philanthropic sector for over eight years and is currently an Associate Director. In her spare time Rory is the founder and editor of Fundraiser Grrl, the fundraising community’s go-to source for comic relief.

Buy/Donate Now

Please note: this is for a yet-to-be-scheduled virtual training session that will be broadcast on FundraisingEverywhere.com at a later date. However, your purchase and donation of €5 will be processed immediately and put straight to good use.

Expert advice from the charity sector’s virtual summit provider, Fundraising Everywhere.

As the world tries to control the spread of Coronavirus, many countries have identified large public gatherings as an unnecessary risk. This caution, and the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen next, has left event organisers with difficult decisions. Google, Facebook, SXSW, IBM and many more have already cancelled events, and it looks like it won’t end there.

It’s heartbreaking for organisers and attendees and it’s creating another financial burden many of us aren’t in a position to handle. Combine this with the very real environmental impact conferences are already having and it’s clear that something has to change.

Organisers have hesitated in the past about providing a virtual element to their real-life events. The tech can seem complicated, they’re lacking networking and social opportunities, and we’ve all experienced flat and lifeless webinars.

But good virtual conferences are so much more than webinars and running one video after another.

At Fundraising Everywhere we wanted to share some tips to show you how and why you (yes, you!) should be bringing your learning or training event online.

These tips will engage your online delegates, reach new and existing audiences, and make sure you have an event you can run time and time again for the fraction of the cost.

First of all, let’s consider the advantages:

While we don’t think virtual conferences will ever fully replace the real-life experience, there are so many advantages to adding on a virtual element to your existing event, or to simply testing a virtual version before you take the financial risk of rolling out a traditional event.

So let’s do it! Here are your next steps:

Some speakers refuse to speak at virtual conferences...and that’s fine. We can leave them to self-isolate and listen to their gramophones. But virtual events allow you to access other speakers who otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t have been able to attend your traditional event. 

At Fundraising Everywhere we pay our speakers a fixed fee, but we understand this isn’t always possible. However, consider in the early days at least offering a profit-share with your speakers to recognise their time and expertise.

Try to ensure some of your speakers have a large audience and following of their own. You’re counting on them to bring in viewers that you otherwise wouldn’t have tapped in to, and this event is going to allow you to start a relationship with those people directly.

Start with speakers you already know. The trust they have in you from your existing relationship means you can work with them to develop their online content as you explore your first virtual event together.

Film Pre-Recorded Sessions
While you can stream live, we recommend that your event is at least partially pre-recorded. This allows you to do some quality control, add subtitles to make them more accessible, and it reduces the chances of the inevitable tech failures you’re going to experience on the day.

We recommend all sessions feature your speaker talking directly to camera. It’s much more engaging and humanising than watching a static powerpoint slide and there’s nothing worse than watching a speaker talking to a crowded room like you’re not even there. You can still use slides as well, but consider using video editing software such as WeVideo to have your sessions ‘picture-in-picture’.

Lighting is so important. Invest in a cheap ring light or position natural lighting so your face is fully lit from the front.

We also can’t stress how important good sound quality is. Unfortunately, your built-in mic just doesn’t cut it for these length of events. If the sound is too quiet or tinny then viewers start to drift. Invest in a cheap lapel mic or splash out on something a bit more serious. We’re both huge fans of the Yeti mics.

Don’t forget to coach your speakers. This may be new for them, so don’t be afraid to ask them to send through a short test video to make sure you’re happy with how it looks and sounds. You don’t want them to spend hours recording something only for you to discover they did it in portrait instead of landscape!

Also ensure your speakers leave space on their slides or video for any branding or information you’re planning on superimposing later.

Add Subtitles
Subtitles are essential. About 90% of people watch videos with no sound and for many it’s an accessibility issue. Not only that, but subtitles can be translated at a later stage opening up your event to an even wider audience.

There are many services who will do the subtitles for you, who usually charge a dollar or two per minute. This can add up. We’ve become pros at doing this ourselves but if you’re short on time (or patience) get it outsourced.

Alternatively, there are services (including YouTube) who will auto-generate subtitles for free. While it’s quick and cheap, the quality is terrible and you’ll almost certainly have to factor in time to go through and clean these up. We can guarantee there will be at least one swear word.

If you, your team or volunteers decide to do it manually then there are a number of tools out there to help you. But again, we love YouTube for this. It’s free, and allows you to type-and-watch while they set the timings for you automatically. These can then be downloaded or ripped to use on whatever platform suits you.

Choose Your Platform
Every platform offers certain advantages and disadvantages, but firstly consider where your audience is. If you already have a particularly large following on a certain platform then that might be where you start.

Consider these:

Sell Tickets
It’s time to decide whether this is a free or paid event. How much will you sell your tickets for? Rightly or wrongly, people still tend to feel virtual events should be cheaper than their real-life counterparts.  Is there an opportunity to offer free tickets to attendees who meet certain criteria (for example, the Fundraising Everywhere conferences are free to small charities).

Use deadlines and ‘earlybirds’ to offer a sense of urgency in ticket purchases. Virtual events are great because they don’t necessarily sell out. But this can make attendees lackadaisical about booking. You’ll find that your ticket sales will often spike the day before or even on the day of the event!

There are no shortage of ticket selling platforms. Eventbrite seems to be the most popular and they have a really great platform. If you already have an e-commerce feature on your website then consider selling tickets there as well or instead. Most platforms charge a percentage or fixed fee per ticket - Fundraising Everywhere Plus is the same.

You’ll find the same challenges as any sales or fundraising efforts. It’s almost always harder to sell tickets than you think, so consider your potential audience carefully and have a plan in place for how you might access them.

One of the key differences between a traditional webinar and a truly virtual conference is the level of interaction and engagement offered to attendees. Most platforms allow text-based chat alongside the video and this is a great opportunity for your team and speakers to chat with attendees and answer questions. Some platforms (such as Fundraising Everywhere Plus) even allow attendees to privately chat with each other by text, voice or video while they’re watching your event.

Encourage speakers to ask questions in their videos and prompt viewers to type answers. Read comments and questions during the live segments of your stream so attendees feel more involved. And consider running competitions or surveys throughout the day. You can just stream session after session, but we really recommend a ‘host’ ties them all together.

You can also encourage attendees to watch in groups. For example, Fundraising Everywhere ‘watch parties’ have allowed attendees to access great content on a big screen while still offering real-life networking breaks.

Have A Back Up Plan
Things can and will go wrong. They’re predictably unpredictable so ensure you have at least one backup plan. If your livestream falls apart then pre-recorded sessions give your audience something to watch while you try to get things fixed.

Prepare your ‘technical difficulties’ emails and web pages in advance...just in case. And ensure your audience knows where to go or what to do if something goes wrong.

What’s Your Call-To-Action?
As with all events, this is a great opportunity to inspire people to take action. Be clear about what you want them to do: buy tickets for the next event, donate, sign-up, share...whatever it is...know what your goals are going in to this.

Share your call-to-action through your videos, through captions, in the chatbox and through follow-up emails. People are going to be fired-up during and just after your event. But this doesn’t last forever so try to tap in to this energy while it’s there.

Fundraising Everywhere+

Fundraising Everywhere+ (FE+) is a no-hassle, virtual add-on for your physical conference, or service for virtual-only conferences. 

While you focus on delivering a great event to attendees, we provide the platform and logistics to amplify it to a larger audience across the world. 

You can stream a mix of live and pre-recorded content to support your existing event or provide a virtual-only conference for a global audience. Virtual attendees can watch on any device and virtually ‘network’ with other attendees and speakers through the FE+ platform.

We provide everything from virtual conference curation and speaker stewardship, right through to providing the accounts and streaming platform - so all you need to do is tell your audience where to watch.
We’re already working with some of the charity sector’s top conferences to provide their virtual version. Email us at [email protected] and find out how we can do this for you too.