So often customers and partners have reached out to GiveSmart for examples or ideas to fundraise virtually today. Virtual campaigns are the new normal for fundraising and every organization is trying to figure out how this fits in their fundraising strategies today. Below are all kinds of virtual fundraising examples from real-life campaigns all who’ve worked with GiveSmart to accomplish them.  

Included Examples:
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana – UnGala 2020
Campaign: rmhcungala.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Silent Auction, Pivot to Virtual, Virtual Timeline, Sponsorships, Communications – Virtual
Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA – Bidding “Fore” Good
Campaign: PHSAUCTION2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Virtual Silent Auction, Donation Campaign, Selfie Scavenger Hunt
Kitten Rescue Los Angeles – A Virtual Kitten Shower
Campaign: KRKittenShower.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Social Media Promotion – Virtual Event, Silent Auction, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing, Sponsorships
Virginia Stage Company – Gala Apart to Gather Again
Campaign: VSCGalaApart.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Silent Auction, Pivot to Virtual, Sponsorships, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company – Woolly’s Virtual Party
Campaign: woollyparty2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Silent Auction, Pivot to Virtual
Baltimore Humane Society – BMORE Humane Race (Virtual 5k)
Campaign: BMOREGORUN.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Virtual 5k, 50/50 raffle
Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado – A Night In
Campaign: JAimpact.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Live Auction (Virtual), Premiere Items, Silent Auction, Wine Pull, Live Stream, Pivot to Virtual
NRV Cares – NRV Annual Gala
Campaign: nrvcares.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Silent Auction, Instant Items
Windsor Chamber of Commerce – Windsor Chamber Cares Auction
Campaign: windsor2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Community Support, Direct Donations
Crossnore School – Crossnore Strawberries 2020
Campaign: CSCHberries20.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Instant Items, Communications
Vegas Golden Knights – Various Fall Campaigns
Campaign: chance.givesmart.com  parttime.givesmart.com  policemeals.givesmart.com  VGFKGive.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Community Support, Donation Campaigns, Silent Auction
American Cancer Society – Kansas City, North Region – 2020 Shave to Save
Campaign: shave2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Premiere Items, Live Auction, Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing, Instant Items, Wine Pull
CarePlus Foundation – Virtual Courage Awards Gala
Campaign: cpgala2020.givesmart.com careplusgolf.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Sponsorships, Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Campaign Promotion, Custom Sections, Virtual Timeline, Live Stream
Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities – We Are LATLC Poker Tournament
Campaign: LATLCPoker.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Casino/Poker Night, Silent Auction, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing, Instant Items
Say Si – Small Scale Work for a Local Cause
Campaign: smallscale.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Art Auction, Live Stream, Virtual Timeline
Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Michigan – Spring Soiree 2020
Campaign: springsoiree20.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing, Live Stream, Virtual Timeline, Multi-Day Virtual Event
South Dakota State Athletics – Jackrabbit Athletic Scholarship Auction Online
Campaign: Jacks2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Live Stream, Community Support, Direct Donations, Instant Items
Cardinal Spellman High School – Cardinal Spellman High School Legacy Gala and Chairman’s Challenge
Campaign: cshsgala2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Live Stream, Donation Campaign, Instant Wine Cellar Raffle
Ingalls Development Foundation – Annual Benefit Show: A Virtual Fundraising Gala
Campaign: ingallsgala2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Silent Auction, Live Stream, Donation Campaign, Virtual Timeline, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing
Wyoming Symphony Orchestra – Wine and Dine In
Campaign: wso2020.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Live Stream, Direct Donations, Virtual Timeline, Raffle/Opportunity Drawing, Food & Wine Online Order
Sharp Again Naturally – Memory Drive
Campaign: sharpagain.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Pre-Recorded Program, Instant Items, Silent Auction
Ability Beyond – The 2020 and Beyond No Go Gala
Campaign: abilitybeyond.givesmart.com
Great Example of: Pivot to Virtual, Sponsorships, Live Stream, Donation Campaign, Visual Displays

 

Fundraising Components:


Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana – UnGala 2020 
Campaign: 
rmhcungala.givesmart.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silent Auction: One of their top-performing items: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hear more detail from RMHC Chicagoland & NWI on Episode 4 of the OutsideTheRoom Fundraising Success Webinar Series

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Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA – Bidding “Fore” Good
Campaign:
PHSAUCTION2020.givesmart.com

1. What inspired this fundraising campaign and how was it put together? 
This campaign was to replace our annual golf tournament that we could not hold. There is normally a silent and live auction during the awards dinner portion of the golf tournament so we decided we could at least create an online auction and ask all of our supports to donate online. Once we made the decision to pivot and move forward with a 100% online auction, it felt great and we jumped on every webinar to learn all of the best practices. We added a scavenger hunt, built out a communication plan, and reached out to all of the golfers and sponsors and asked them to continue to support the virtual event.
2. What was the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part was how many more people could support us by bidding on the auction. Normally, they would have had to buy a $150 ticket jus to be in that room and participate, but now everyone could bid from their homes. We had people bidding from further than just our services area. The close second most rewarding part was when it was all said and done, we netted $20,000 over our revenue goal because we didn’t have all of the event overhead.
3. What were some of the challenges and how did you address them?
We had some older supporters who have not embraced the technology and did not participate in the auction. We tried to help with all of the tech issues that we knew about, but we’re not sure how many people didn’t bid because they are not as adept with the computer.

 

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Kitten Rescue Los Angeles – A Virtual Kitten Shower
Campaign:
KRKittenShower.givesmart.com

Social media promotion helped the Kitten Rescue of Los Angeles hit their silent auction goal! Follow them on Twitter @kittenrescue

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Virginia Stage Company – Gala Apart to Gather Again
Campaign:
VSCGalaApart.givesmart.com

Include sponsors within the silent auction page and include clear images with names that make the most sense.

Utilizing clear categories so donors can find what they are most interested in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raffle: Boozy Basket – Provided details of each bottle which raised the appeal of this raffle. Over 350 raffle tickets sold! Pairing a raffle and silent auction is an effective way to include more donors with a variety of giving levels.

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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company – Woolly’s Virtual Party
Campaign: woollyparty2020.givesmart.com

One of the best silent auction items in their campaign: (1000% return on FMV)

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Baltimore Humane Society – BMORE Humane Race (Virtual 5k)
Campaign: BMOREGORUN.givesmart.com

 

 

 

 

 

50/50 Raffle:

 

 

 

 

 

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Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado – A Night In
Campaign:
JAimpact.givesmart.com

Converting live auction items to premiere silent auction items allowed JASC to get the value of the live auction items instead of losing out on that revenue.

Wine Pull:

One of their top Silent Auction items:

Watch the JASC LIVE STREAM Celebration 

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NRV Cares – NRV Annual Gala
Campaign: nrvcares.givesmart.com

Instant Buy Items:

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Windsor Chamber of Commerce – Windsor Chamber Cares Auction
Campaign: windsor2020.givesmart.com

With the pandemic causing them the cancel their live event, Windsor Chamber of Commerce needed to pivot to a virtual event and decided they wanted to support a few additional local organizations that were most affected by the pandemic.

They even used directed donation tactics:

Watch the Pivot to Virtual Success Webinar to learn more about their story.
Watch

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Crossnore School – Crossnore Strawberries 2020
Campaign: CSCHberries20.givesmart.com

Selling priority to strawberry pick-ups this season, Crossnore School & Children’s Home promoted their Strawberry sale #OutsideTheRoom and outside their normal structure. This is a creative use of instant buy items and helped them continue some operations of an annual campaign.

1. What inspired this fundraising campaign and how was it put together?

On the 200-acre campus which includes an urban farm, Crossnore School & Children’s Home in Winston-Salem has a long history of growing and selling strawberries to the public.  The community eagerly awaits strawberry season, and folks begin flooding our “berry hotline” with calls weeks before the season ever opens.  Families with young children fill the fields on u-pick days, with youngsters demonstrating the “pick one, eat one” style of harvesting berries.  And, retirees from the neighboring retirement community line up early to make sure they don’t miss out on the day’s pre-picked berries.

When our organization began to make safety plans around Covid-19 and closed our campus to outside visitors, we knew that selling strawberries was going to be a different experience this year.  We devised a plan to keep customers in their cars and near the entrance to campus (rather than up at the fields) and to implement an “exact change only” form of payment for drive-up customers.  But, we also wanted to offer a pre-sale option for community members who wanted to order ahead and pay by credit card.  We explored the features on GiveSmart and determined that we could pre-sell strawberries as an “Instant Item”, with 20 gallons of strawberries available for pre-purchase on each picking day throughout the six-week season.  At first, we weren’t sure if people would take advantage of this new ordering system.  But, within the first few days, all of our pre-orders were sold out!  It also worked out really well for us, since we knew exactly the quantity that had been pre-ordered, and we could have those berries ready to go.

2. What was the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part of berry season was seeing how happy our customers were for a little bit of normalcy and strawberry goodness.  Several of our customers showed up on repeat days, and many of our pre-order patrons ordered berries over multiple picking days.  Other friends tried out new strawberry dessert recipes, posted pictures on social media, and talked up the sweetness of Crossnore’s berries.  Eighty gallons of strawberries were pre-ordered and delivered to residents of the neighboring retirement community.  Administrative staff there said berry delivery day brought out the biggest smiles in their residents, many of whom were feeling isolated and sad due to restrictions necessitated by Covi-19.

3. What were some of the challenges and how did you address them?

The challenges we encountered with the site were few.  One or two people couldn’t tell what quantity of berries they had ordered, so we did have to go back in and refund or adjust some orders.  We also had one customer forward the link from his signed-in page to a friend, and his friend ended up ordering berries on his credit card.  (They worked it out among themselves, but I didn’t even know that was possible prior to then.)  The challenges we encountered with berry season were all weather-related, as we had a week of monsoon weather in the middle of the season which prevented us from picking.  The GiveSmart site made it super easy to contact our pre-order customers via the system’s messaging system to let them know that their pre-order pickup day was moved to another day.

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Vegas Golden Knights – Various Fall Campaigns
Campaign: chance.givesmart.com  parttime.givesmart.com  policemeals.givesmart.com  VGFKGive.givesmart.com

Watch the Vegas Golden Knights Pivot to Success Webinar 

 

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American Cancer Society – Kansas City, North Region – 2020 Shave to Save
Campaign: shave2020.givesmart.com 


Raffle:

Wine Pull:

Instant Items:

What was the most challenging element in putting together the virtual event? – The most challenging aspect of transitioning to a virtual event was communication. Things happened so fast and we needed to communicate regularly with all of our different stakeholders about the changes that we were making, how they could still participate and ultimately, ensure they were being taken care of throughout the transition.

What was the most rewarding? – It was incredible to see almost 300 registered users on the site, over 400 views of our live stream and the total $ raised for our mission significantly go up! It is heartwarming to witness such generosity and after the event, it was touching to hear the positive feedback from our supporters. Despite our inability to meet in-person, we were able to connect in a new way and create a memorable experience for our supporters.

How did GiveSmart help? – As a platform, Givesmart made it possible for us to stream a live program and host all of our income-generating packages in one place (raffle, premier auction, silent auction, revenue enhancers, and virtual paddle raise). As for the staff, our Givesmart managers went above and beyond to support us through the process. Amanda was by our side the entire way and walked me through best practices to ensure we hosted a great event – we couldn’t have done it without the incredible Givesmart staff. (Thank you, Amanda!!)

What would you do differently? – I wish we had more time to explore the live production side of things. We ultimately used YouTube Live because it embedded into the Givesmart platform but it would have been nice to have other options as well.

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CarePlus Foundation – Virtual Courage Awards Gala
Campaign: cpgala2020.givesmart.com careplusgolf.givesmart.com

Article Promoting Campaign

Embedded Live Stream:

Sponsorships:

Golfers Give Back:

1. What inspired this fundraising campaign and how was it put together?

This event was inspired by how we created our previous virtual gala event. With more experience, we were able to format our golf site exactly how we envisioned it.  Learning how to add multiple pages, other than the homepage, was super easy and allowed us to provide more detailed information to those who register.

2. What was the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part has truly been to create another beautiful virtual event. Seeing it come together and finalizing it gives us pride in the work that we do as a nonprofit organization that provides services for mental health and addiction rehab services. We’ve built a great relationship with the GiveSmart team and trust their guidance with managing our event, as well as communicating our mission to those who come across it. Our event is just beginning so we hope for another successful event!

3. What were some of the challenges and how did you address them?

Some of the challenges we came across with being creative on how to pull off a virtual event with keeping the golf component. We proposed so many different ideas on how to host a virtual golf tournament without compromising the reputation our golf outing has and incorporating our mission with this event. I believe we created a new innovative approach to our event. As always, this software allows us to create a user-friendly site in order to host a virtual event.

 

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Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities – We Are LATLC Poker Tournament
Campaign: LATLCPoker.givesmart.com

 

Raffle/Opportunity Drawing:

1. What inspired this fundraising campaign and how was it put together?

Every year, Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities presents 10 college scholarships ($2,500 each) to low-income, deserving students.  With COVID-19, our annual Casino Night (major fundraiser) was cancelled – and we were afraid we couldn’t fund the scholarships this year.  (We are a pass-through non-profit.  What we raise, we give away!)  The challenge was to raise $25,000 before the end of the school year.

We decided since Poker was a major part of the Casino Night, we would do a virtual poker tournament.  The theme was “No graduation ceremony.  No senior party.  No summer vacation. NO WAY!” Then we added a silent auction, since we already contracted with GiveSmart for the year and this would not be an additional expense for us.  Then someone donated the Lobster Dinner for 4 and we decided to have an Opportunity Drawing for that.  GiveSmart (Matt Carrier, my hero) put all the components together and even randomly selected the winner during the poker tournament that night.

2. What was the most rewarding part?

People coming together to make this work.  GiveSmart gave us the tools – ticket sales and drawing platforms (new for us) and silent auction assistance (we have used that for years so that part was easy).  Then we had a fantastic MC (volunteer), DJ (again, no cost because they worked with us before) and trivia game (no cost as it is my daughter’s 90s company!) We had a Zoom Party during the tournament, with a “Breakout” room for watching poker.

3. What were some of the challenges and how did you address them? 

Most of the committee were not poker players nor familiar with Poker Stars (the popular platform we used) – so we did MANY MANY MANY test tournament games.  Also, coordinating everything was a challenge.  We also practiced the Zoom Party, along with the test poker games.

The challenges were not GiveSmart related – that was the easiest part.  A totally separate challenge came the week we were going to announce the Tournament.  Black Lives Matter.  We did not want to focus on our event – but rather our community, so we lost an entire week of “publicity.”

While we know this had an impact on our attendees, it did not impact the results.  As I mentioned, the goal was to raise $25,000.  We actually raised around $45,000 and we were able to grant 2 additional scholarships.

We decided that we will do more tournaments the rest of the year and (probably) into next!

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Say Si – Small Scale Work for a Local Cause
Campaign: smallscale.givesmart.com

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Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Michigan – Spring Soiree 2020
Campaign: springsoiree20.givesmart.com

What inspired this fundraising campaign and how was it put together?

Like so many events this year, Spring Soiree was originally planned as an in-person event hosted by our presenting partner, Neiman Marcus.  Next year will be the 10th anniversary of this event, so it is already well established and it was very important for us to maintain a presence this year, not just to postpone or cancel.

Spring Soiree began as an evening to honor the caregivers of those who are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.  This year, with the onset of COVID-19, families in the midst of this devastating disease are in need of our support no more than ever.  They served as our inspiration for this campaign.

We pulled inspiration from the original activities that we had planned for our in-person event and found a way to represent each of them on our GiveSmart site.  In an effort to give our supporters some of the same experiences as our normal event, we created 5 nights of themed video content: Resilience & Relaxation, Beauty, Art,  Cheers!…a cocktail demonstration and finally a live Fashion event hosted by Neiman Marcus.

What was the most rewarding part?

Besides raising funds for this very important cause, the most rewarding part was the amazing video pieces that we were able to put together in a short amount of time, to share with supporters.  Our partners were so generous with their time, talent and often shared their personal stories about this disease.  We were also able to highlight caregivers, hear about their journeys and how they value Alzheimer’s Association programs and services.

What were some of the challenges and how did you address them?

There were plenty of challenges to overcome in a short period of time!  We had already set up our GiveSmart site for the in-person event, so once we wrapped our heads around this new virtual format, there were lots of edits to be made.  The next issue was all of the content that we wanted to include on the site, and the best way to organize that in a user-friendly way.  We needed several custom sections and pages to accommodate everything.  We also had some beautiful graphics that had already been designed and were happy to be able to incorporate them in an attractive way.  Serena, our GiveSmart Customer Success Manager was very helpful and happy to talk through my ideas & show me how they could work best on the GiveSmart platform.

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South Dakota State Athletics – Jackrabbit Athletic Scholarship Auction Online
Campaign: Jacks2020.givesmart.com

Community Support:

Direct Donations:

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Cardinal Spellman High School – Cardinal Spellman High School Legacy Gala and Chairman’s Challenge
Campaign: cshsgala2020.givesmart.com

Unique Auction Item with *INCREDIBLE* Return on Fair Market Value:

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Ingalls Development Foundation – Annual Benefit Show: A Virtual Fundraising Gala
Campaign: ingallsgala2020.givesmart.com

Pre-event communication:

Day of Event Communication:

Raffle/Opportunity Drawing:

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Wyoming Symphony Orchestra – Wine and Dine In
Campaign: wso2020.givesmart.com

Directed Donations:

Live Stream:

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Sharp Again Naturally – Memory Drive
Campaign: sharpagain.givesmart.com

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Ability Beyond – The 2020 and Beyond No Go Gala
Campaign: abilitybeyond.givesmart.com

 

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Looking for silent auction items that sell above their fair market value? 

 

 

 

 

Brandon Stec
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