Oct 4, 2020

Fundraising Showcase – Successful Virtual Fundraising Campaigns

Happy creative businesspeople brainstorming in office, placing sticky notes with ideas on glass

We compiled examples of successful virtual fundraising campaigns. We showcase online stores, online auctions, virtual run/walks, meal delivery, raffles, live streams, and more. The through-line? The importance of clear communications and ideas that resonate with your donors, and this webinar ties it all together.

The following is a transcript of our conversation from our #OutsideTheRoom Fundraising Success Series – Episode 5. Watch the full episode here.

Elizabeth, what are you seeing people secure for silent auctions? In previous years we’ve had restaurant gift trips etc. But it seems like those are the up in the air. So what do you seeing people get in terms of items thus far?

Elizabeth Gardner: That’s a great question. I think you say trips and restaurants are like the initial thought and the inclination right now is to avoid those. But I actually think those are still possibilities. Gift cards to restaurants are not bad ideas because people still want to do take out right now. If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of cooking at home for yourself and so getting take out from restaurant sounds excellent. So those definitely are not out of a question. Then I’ve had a couple of organizations too who rather than like a trip to Miami or something that might be far away. If you have ambassadors who might have like a lake house or something like that, that your guests and donors could drive to you easily an hour away and it’s in seclusions. That’s actually a right idea right now because people again they have this need and desire to get out but they know can’t necessarily fly and go through all that trouble. But driving 45 minutes to a lake that sounds excellent. So that’s a great idea. I honestly think a lot of the items are similar to what people have done in the past. And I think the thing to remember is if you solicited an item, the worst thing that someone can say is “No.”. So I think it’s about doing due diligence and getting out there and trying to get what you can. 

It’s a great point Elizabeth. And we do have a resource called the silent auction study which is based off of data for hundreds of thousands lines of silent auction items that could be a really good guide here. So we did drop it in the chat as well but the silent auction study is it’s going to give you a good idea of what categories in, what regions, what times a year are performing the best then we are continuing to watch the trends. So if you’re looking for some more specifics on different things and what’s working. We have that resource available to you as well as there is a lot of questions what’s working. But Elizabeth is spot-on with restaurants. People want to support their local restaurants and now that things are figuring themselves out, each maybe in a different state of the pun intended. But at the look of the options to allow families to get a meal rather than having to cook every night. So think of the things that are in the future because that’s what people are going to want to do in three to six month when they actually take action on the things they purchase. 

Elizabeth, so the virtual guest part that we talked about. Can you explain a little bit kind of how that goes on that item? What does the page look like that you’re voting for? Is there a recipe listed kind of just the structure, I guess. How that will set up?

 Elizabeth Gardner: Yes, definitely. The fun part is testing out the drinks or the recipes right? So in the item description I would definitely say, put the recipe in there because that’s the whole point right? You want people to interact with the drink and the recipe. So definitely would do that. I think too if you that particular example that we looked at had a whole bunch of options because they basically solicited their entire donor base with ideas which is great. But you could also keep it simple to do like a face-off between two recipes. We’re doing the sunset cocktail versus the sunrise cocktail. But simplifying into two the whole way to do a competition as well but yes, definitely include the recipe so that people can participate in that fun. 

Brandon, next question to you. If we wind up having a hybrid gala where some are in person, some are at home. How would you suggest doing a raffle? How do we get those at home still entering and participating?

Brandon Stec: Engage them in advance and engage them throughout so a raffle the key to any kind of game of chances to not to start promoting it too late and to make sure everyone is aware the really cool prize. So with people, who are virtual, make sure you’re using text message especially throughout the night but also in advance. You could do it fully digitally but you could also promote it in advance. So when someone buys their ticket, they’re going to be in the room and they’re buying a ticket to be in the room. Then make sure there’s an option to purchase the raffle ticket upon checkout because that’s an instant “Oh! Yeah I’ll buy ten Rapids I guess no big deal” they’re already spending money. So use those different tactics to get people going right away and use social media to communicate early. Let people know there’s going to be a raffle, let people know there’s going to be a game of chance and make sure that they’re aware that the prize is super awesome. And in your messaging call-out that’s there is limited number and if you buy more tickets yo u better chances. Because those things as silly as it sounds reminds people that “oh I gotta go buy more raffle tickets.” 

Speaking of prizes, Elizabeth with the mystery gift that we talked about earlier. Can you explain this set up because it looks like the price point was ten dollars but was it only gift card or was there other potential prizes that were available to people who kind of made that ten dollar gift?

Elizabeth Gardner: Yes. There are other prizes available. So it might be a 10$ gift card to star bucks, it might be a bracelet something small like that. It might be a 20$ gift card to star bucks. So it’s totally a surprise. And then of course like we mentioned you could also possibly get a grand prize like 100$ Amazon gift card. 

Brandon, I know we talked about runs and that’s a common event obviously at this time of the year of golf outings is very common. So the question is we’re having a golf outing later this month. For the event, we typically have had a raffle baskets can try for. They would buy tickets drop them into the baskets. So can you talk about how something like that could be done virtually so that the items can be offered but we could increase our revenue?

Brandon Stec: Absolutely. A basket raffle we actually talked about that I can’t remember because every week runs together. But recently in one of our webinars and I’m happy to share the example. But a basket raffle, what’s really nice is that you can use technology to still do that and still allow it to be  open to maybe more people so people can purchase a certain number of tickets. Through an instant item you can have the five for ten dollars, twenty four hundred whatever the prizes that you have set. And once they purchased you give the link to go put their tickets in the different baskets and obviously you probably want to audit that before you pick randomize and pick the winner. But that’s how they pulled it off. Before with a virtual basket raffle, if you want to see some examples we have a couple of those where they were able to actually engage more people than they usually were because it was expanded beyond just the golf tournament. Obviously it it’s golf packages, and not everyone is free to golf or what ready to golf at this time you still may get an expanded breach on that. So highly recommend doing it virtually still and I use instant items to sell those raffle tickets. Elizabeth is more of the expert on the platform but I’m pretty sure that’s what you would say. And that allows you to sell those different promo packages where it’s different amount for more money that kind of thing.

Elizabeth Gardner: It’s also worth mentioning because not everyone realizes this. You can do multiple raffle items on one GiveSmart page. And you can do multiple price points on one raffle item, so on one raffle item you can do one for twenty and five for 100 within that one right item. 

Brandon Stec: So for the standard raffle that is an option as well but if they’re indicating their interest in the basket raffle, the only twist is that document of just having a list of different packages so you can randomized and pick the winners but totally spot-on like use the different levels of the raffles as well.

Elizabeth last question to you here is. Is it possible to create a revenue display for each item to show in thermometer? Can you only create a display that shows total amount raised overall? I guess in general kind of if you could talk to her I guess some of the options in terms of display screens that we talked about previously. 

Elizabeth Gardner: Yes. There are many. So you can create categorize displays. So for example, if you wanted to show a revenue display that only included a specific category of your auction you could so. If I have a dining category at my auction and I want to display for that I can do it. If you want it for one item you just put that category on one item and then we have our promo sold. There’s also a display and that’s called a “bid displays” which will show all of your entire auctions items and the current bid on each individual auction item. And that one’s kind of fun too. Especially if you have friendly donors with each other because they start to say “Oh Patrick is outbidding me. Oh I’m going to get them.” And that’s a good way to get people into bidding wars with each other. So that’s always fun. But yes, you can do a display for one item, you can do it a sway that shows a handful items of revenue. There’s plenty of options.



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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County