Oct 12, 2020

Why It’s Important to Network, Even in a Virtual World

View over businesslady shoulder seated at workplace desk look at computer screen where collage of many diverse people involved at video conference negotiations activity, modern app tech usage concept

PencilThe PENCIL Foundation takes us through its Impact Breakfast, sponsor relationships, and the importance of networking through pivoting their in-person event to virtual. 

The following is a transcript of our Q&A conversation from our #OutsideTheRoom Fundraising Success Series – Episode 13. Watch the full episode here.


Kylie, the first question to you. For the cider, are you alerting people via text or email that deliveries will between X and Y time? How is that communication being handled? 

Kylie: We will send emails to everybody. Each staff member will receive their list of 10 people and will send an email because all of us are working around our own schedule. So like I’m sending or I’m doing mine on Mondays from nine till two probably. So I’ll definitely send my folks an email. 

Talking about the digital coupons that you and Sussana were talking about before, were those provided to all sponsors or just sponsors that gave above a certain threshold? 

Kylie: That was our 5,000$ one so they’re only one company. I would definitely I think there’s more opportunity to do more than that. We just tried it for the first time this year and I would definitely recommend it as a benefit.

How did you integrate the GiveSmart registrations in the zoom live event? And so I think more than anything, where you have people registering on system A but then you’re going to use zoom or YouTube live or some of these other services. How do you manage getting all those lists together and making sure that the right people will show up and are invited and all that good stuff?

Kylie: what I do is I always export what’s in GiveSmart and then just send emails from my personal account because we track everything in salesforce. I don’t know if anybody else does. But that’s the reason why I send stuff from my personal account is so I could be tracking it in our other data places. But I’m sure there’s other ways that people can do it but that’s definitely where I had them register on GiveSmart. I had them put their guest names and GiveSmart. And I exported all of that and sent emails from my personal email and sent them the link to zoom through that. 

Susannah: And I would just add there too. GiveSmart does have the capability to email or text message directly from the site. So you can send your zoom link directly out through one of those forces as well. 

Kylie another question for you in regards to sponsors and it is with current economic circumstances we’ve had a lot trouble confirming sponsors. We hear a lot like “We’re not sponsoring right now because we don’t know what’s happening with our own business.” So how have you worked with your donors and sponsors to kind of work around that and we talked about Kendra Scott more of the other sponsors.  But how have you guys adapted your sponsorship relations given everything that’s happening at the moment?

Kylie: I would say everything is more of a personal conversation with everybody. I know personally I struggled to ask once everything had just we were hit by a tornado and then corona virus hit. So it felt like all of our businesses were double impacted. So I was struggling with that ask at first. So we started with very casual conversations “How are you guys doing? How are you guys feeling? Is it possible for you guys to sponsor this? What does your year look like?”  so we really just had sponsors with our conversations with everybody in the very beginning about all of our events and just feeling out how much they can give this year. If anything, would they be interested and we gave them a list of all of our events and the timeline. And if you’re going to sponsor one instead of all three this year which one. So we’re definitely had more one-on-one with o our sponsors with our sponsors than we ever have. For the breakfast we actually exceeded our sponsorship goal. We did a revised goal after the corona virus hit. We exceeded that because we reached out to different networks that were not just typical partners that we typically go to. And so our event chairs played a big role in that. We got a lot of tech companies and engineering companies as opposed to the entertainment restaurants businesses we usually go to. 

How can we expand our current network of donors through GIveSmart? We feel like we’ve exhausted our current pool of people with the messaging we’ve had this far.

Susannah: I can take a first swing of that. So I think one just mentioned the peer-to-peer champions campaign that we have. So you can have your network ask their network to bring them in. I think the impact breakfast is a great example of that doing table hosts is a different way to do that and have them invite people to your event and then do some sort of event that just tells about who you are. Get them involved. Another kind of off to the side way of doing it is if you have an event that  is kind of fun or different and there’s local groups or chapters or do something like that maybe invite them. So an example is like a virtual walk, finding walking groups or running clubs in your local area and seeing if they have interest in joining in on your event. So reaching out seeing what other types of network are within your community.  

Matt: yeah I agree with Sussana everything that she said. One of the things we saw on the slide earlier is that not just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but LinkedIn talk to the sponsors. Let them use their network like she mentioned for like how to spread no only just your any campaign but really YouTube is another big one too now. That people are engaging but either through a peer-to-peer or like your standard campaign or even like a just a donation campaign. And like Suzanne also said, partner with your local community, restaurants that have been hit hard. Partner with them to see if they can provide something and make it appealing to your guest. 


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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