Apr 15, 2020

How to attract an audience for your virtual event


Attracting the right audience for your fundraising event is crucial for its success, whether the event is virtual or in personWhile it is always important to gain the attention of major donors, key stakeholders, and dedicated supportersvirtual events broaden the potential for others to participate. This makes your potential for fundraising limitless! Virtual event marketing can be done like inperson events, however, here a few tips we‘ve found to maximize your audience potential.  

Whoever you determine as your audience, make it clear. 

  • If you would like to keep your audience to only ticketed guests, make sure they are aware this is an exclusive event! The more you can build on this, the more guests will feel their participation is needed.
  • If you want to open the event to everyone, make it knownHere are a few ways: 
    • Send your event homepage URL to your organization’s database (found on your dashboard). Encourage them to register and preview auction items. 
    • Like a peer-to-peer campaign, leverage your Board of Directors, organization staff, committee members, and advocates to attract attention. Encourage them to share the dashboard URL on their social media, or personally invite whom they see fit. 

Communication is everything. 

  • Update your GiveSmart homepage and your organization’s website with event information. Anyone who comes to your site should click away knowing how they can participate, what to expect, and what their funds would be going to. 
  • There is no better time to utilize social media or start that YouTube channel that you have been thinking about for your organization. If you already have an Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, use them! If not, this is the perfect time to create one.  
  • Promote the ‘text to register’ info or event site URL on Facebook, Twitter, etc. 
  • Send a text or email from last year’s GiveSmart site that includes this year’s URL.  
  • Send a text or email from this year’s GiveSmart site to those who have already registered. Let them know they are ready for the event and possibly encourage early bidding or auction preview. 
  • Send your guests ahead of time the GiveSmart PDF document of How to Bid & How to Donate 
  • Prep your virtual guests with tips: 
    • Watch us live from your laptop or computer and use your phone to bid! 
    • Want to watch us on your TV? Just use an HDMI cord to plug from your laptop to your smart TV 
    • If you’re using GiveSmart, don’t share your link with anyone, that is your personal bidding link. 
    • Make sure to have your phone or laptop charged for the live steam! 

Get creative!  

  • Brainstorm your ideal guest list. Go after them! 
  • Interact with your audience daily the week leading up to your event by sending teasers of what to expect. Hopefully, your audience will love this so much that they share it. 
  • Build the hype! Make your emails and announcements exciting and attractive.  
  • Create a sense for your event. Encourage guests to dress up, make a specialty drink and order from the same local restaurant. Consider suggesting some children’s activities for the night of so you can fully capture the adult’s attention.  
  • Open your auction for preview or bidding pre-event to create some excitement around your items. Items can also be shared individually on social media through the social media links on the GiveSmart item page. 
  • Produce and share videos from special guests ahead of time and promotthe week leading up to your event. Post the recorded videos on YouTube and send a text with the link for your virtual guests to watch. “Click here to watch a special message from our Executive Director! 
  • Consider a phone-a-thon. Use your network to make calls and promote the organization’s fundraising efforts.


Donor Segmentation Guide
Checklist: your pivot to a virtual fundraiser
7 new ways to connect with donors to promote your event


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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