Every year, CURE’s donors look forward to their huge 5k run. This year it looked a little…virtual. CURE shares how they pivoted their cherished annual campaigns, how they keep chapters in different cities looped into the same goals across the state, and how they operate during childhood cancer awareness month.

The following is a transcript of our conversation from our #OutsideTheRoom Fundraising Success Series – Episode 8. Watch the full episode here.

How do you get corporate sponsors?

Mandy: For us at CURE, for each of us event it’s very different and our event have different market and so we define who the right is ask for each event. So for example, our believe ball is typically a black tie event. It’s a lot of corporate sponsor that want to be in the room with a certain kind of level of executives and so a lot of our sponsors just come from our personal relationships that we’ve made with them. Our board is incredibly instrumental in opening the door and making a lot of these asks. For our corporate sponsors, most of them are not like a cold call it’s really relationship driven. 

Regarding your believe gala, how did you facilitate a virtual paddle raise for your donation appeal portion? Did you also show donations coming in real time?

Mandy: So for each level we created their own item in GiveSmart as a donation item so that in that way it also showing up like on the items page which I think is great. Each level had it’s own graphic and the description of what it could fund. So we linked directly to those pages in our marketing components for each level on our virtual platform. It would linked over to those fund cure levels so that people can purchase it just like you would an instant item which I think so easy and helpful. And we did not end up using a leaderboard in real time to show the funds coming in. I’ve seen it done a lot and I actually do really like it. We just didn’t have it on this particular platform. 

Also in regard to the believe gala. How soon in advance did you open registrations for the belief ball?

Mandy:  We opened up a registration a few weeks in advance just so that way we could start pushing people to the site. I would say maybe two and half weeks. We started pushing people there with that incentive and then we just had information on it like specifically for the auction items that they would know items coming soon. Check back the silent auction will open on Wednesday at 9:00 am and close on Saturday at 9:00 pm. 

How do you find a match for donations? Is it a company or is it an individual?

Mandy: I mean for hours, this year we were very lucky we had somebody last year that wanted to do that did this match for us at the in-person event it was one of our donors. And they came back this year and said that they wanted to give at that same level. And asked if we would like to use it for our math or if we needed to use it for another purpose. So for us it was kind of easy I hate to say that. In the past when we have done it not this year but with others, we’ve just kind of gone to maybe we’ve done both a company and an individual that has been a major donor at a particular level. And that has a history of giving these events and just asks would you consider giving but giving in a different way. And instead making it a challenge grant. Most times people are more than happy to help if they are already going to give anyways because it doubles an impact. 

How much of the believe ball was live versus pre-recorded?

Mandy: It was actually all pre-recorded. So this was another thing that we went back and forth on. And just felt like a lot of the live can at times come as awkward if you don’t have filler and there’s also less risk when it’s pre-recorded. And so we opted to do all pre-recorded but it just became available and went live at a particular time. And since it wasn’t like on YouTube or anything, people couldn’t fast forward through. So it started live at seven you couldn’t like at seven o’clock fast forward to see the middle of the program.

We typically have our annual gala on a Saturday evening but thought about having a virtual fundraiser on a Thursday evening and that might provide engagement. Any best practices on the best day and time to hold the live stream portion of the fundraiser?

Kirsten: It’s a great question. We have seen people doing more live stream throughout the week. You do have to consider that because some people are working from home, they’re staring at their computer all day. So sometimes they are ready to log off and rest their eyes at the end of that day during the week. However, we have seen successful live streams that are occurring during the week. I would say though that your most successful ones are most happening on the weekends and even utilizing a Sunday. It doesn’t have to be a Saturday. So Sunday sometimes it’s just kind of a fun thing for people to wind down their weekend with. So if you planned for Thursday, I would not change it go for it, so how it goes. But then if things need to modify in the future then you can definitely make that jump to the weekend for sure. 

Brandon Stec