Hybrid fundraisers are not a new concept but considering the pandemic, they are becoming increasingly popular due to their flexibility and inclusivity.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Hybrid fundraiser: a campaign that is comprised of both in-person and virtual fundraising elements.
- Fun run + online donations
- Golf tournament + online silent auction
- Gala + online donations and bidding from donors who couldn’t attend
What worked in the past might not work now so it’s even more important to give online options with in-person options being limited or unavailable. With a hybrid fundraiser, you can have even more donors join in on the fun by having some attend in-person (and socially distant, if applicable) and others can participate online without geographic restrictions.
You might be thinking that a smaller gala means you must live stream the program to the rest of your donors at home. There are production companies that can service those needs, but this isn’t your only option for a hybrid fundraiser.
HOW DO THEY OPERATE?
A hybrid fundraiser can look however you’d like it to. It can be:
- An event you sell tickets to
- A campaign that requires buy-in
- A campaign that allows donors to give whatever they’d like
- A sign-up party where donors pay a flat fee to participate
Whatever fundraising path you take, it’s important that the relationship of the online portion of programming and a live activity is effectively communicated to participants. We recommend talking with donors in advance and find out their comfort level with your plan. They can help guide the decision on how you balance the hybrid event.
For example, if your event features hosted house parties at various locations, it’s important to tell hosts that they can purchase a “table sponsorship” or, guests can purchase individual tickets like they would at a gala. From there, itineraries should be created so that participants know what time any donation drives are happening, how long the auction runs for, and if there is any programming (live-streamed or pre-recorded) that they should tune into. In addition to a run of show, participants should receive in advance instructions on how to register for any online donating or bidding.
The in-person components for a hybrid fundraiser are contingent upon your local city and state regulations and your donors’ comfort level. This will of course vary across organizations and locations. It’s a good idea to survey your donors to see if they would be interested in your in-person proposal before you go through planning it. You can post surveys over social media, email, or by calling some donors directly to check in.
These in-person components could include:
- Fun runs, 5ks, walk/run, marathons, races: donors participate on their own time, in their own area and report back with their mileage, time, etc.
- Golfing: whether courses are open for tournaments or golfers are playing on their local course and sending in their scores. Incorporate fundraising elements throughout and make sure to have games/gimmicks that have low-barrier to entry.
- Dinners/picnics/house parties: some donors might opt to get together in small groups for dinner outside at someone’s home or a picnic in the park. This is a great, socially distant, way for donors to continue to build community, discuss your organization’s mission and work, while supporting your cause.
- Drinks at a brewery or winery: bars and restaurants in most areas of the country are open for outside dining, so partnering with a local brewery or winery could be an option for donors to drink, mingle, and participate in games (cornhole, anyone?) to benefit your organization.
The online components for a hybrid fundraiser are likely something you’re already familiar with. They could include:
The key is now determining how they fit with an in-person activity of your choice. The online component is what allows your hybrid to be successful and inclusive so that, near or far, your donors can support your mission.