Not convinced that they’re worth the effort? Let’s take a look at why virtual events are so effective at maximizing revenue. We’ll also explore how you can make the most of them using the features included in a dedicated virtual fundraising platform.
The rise of virtual events
It’s no secret that Zoom calls started to replace just about everything when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. We all used them to attend everything—from college classes to karaoke sessions with friends to official legal trials. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that fundraising and other charity events followed this trend. They wanted to continue to raise money despite the social distancing restrictions.
What’s surprising is that these virtual events turned out to be more profitable than anyone could have predicted. They didn’t just manage to keep nonprofits afloat—nonprofit fundraising saw a 32% increase in 2020 thanks to the high numbers of investors who had some wealth increase over the pandemic (and who had emptier social calendars than ever before). In addition, there’s also evidence that wealthy donors prefer to donate online, whether due to their busy schedules or desire to fly below the radar.
The pandemic might look different now, but the flexibility of virtual events still makes them a great choice for any nonprofit looking to boost revenue. However, that doesn’t mean raising substantial amounts of money through online fundraising is easy. Potential donors can easily be put off if the website for an event is too difficult to use, or even if it seems old-fashioned or isn’t accessible from a smartphone. This is especially true of younger generations, who feel an instinctive distrust of outdated websites. Most supporters also prefer donating through pages that offer a personal touch (rather than using the default corporate branding that comes from a site like PayPal, for instance).
But don’t worry—we’ll outline exactly what you need to do to keep your supporters happy.
Lower your costs
When it comes to increasing profits, most people think about how they can increase their revenue. But just as important is lowering your costs. Less money spent on running your events means a more significant percentage can go towards the cause you were fundraising for. There’s no shame in penny-pinching. However, there’s a fine balance between managing a careful budget and spending so little that your events lose their appeal.
Hopefully, you already see where we’re going with this. Virtual events are a great way to maintain the quality of your events while reducing your expenses. And, because more people can attend them, you can maximize the number of potential donations without having to spend more money on a venue with a larger capacity.
Save your donors money
One reason that virtual events are so cost-effective is that attendees don’t have to spend as much money. All they have to do is open up their browser and tune into your livestream from the comfort of their own office or home. Because they’re spending less money on things like travel and accommodation, they can channel some of that extra money into to donations.
Avoid extra costs
Going virtual means your nonprofit won’t have to shell out on all the extra features of an in-person event. No venue, no catering or cleaning staff, and no refreshments or decorations.
It’s important to note that virtual events do involve more costs than many people realize. After all, things like camera equipment and technical support add up. But it doesn’t come close to what you might spend on an in-person gathering. Embrace the cost savings that new formats can provide.
Reach out to a wider network of supporters
As mentioned, holding a virtual event means more people can attend. There’s more flexibility and the absence of a maximum venue capacity. But virtual formats can also be a powerful opportunity to expand your network.
When it comes to in-person events, many nonprofits find themselves with a core base of supporters. These are ones who the organization heavily relies on—and who they have to cater to—in order to raise funds. While it’s great to know that you have these loyal supporters, it’s far from ideal to rely on a few people. This is especially true if it means you have to limit yourself to holding certain types of events or running fundraisers on specific dates to secure their support. With virtual events, you can widen your network of support.
Time to go global
Going virtual means that you open your nonprofit up to a whole new world. Even if you decided to hold a fundraiser themed around something obscure, you could probably find enough dedicated fans across the world to be able to rake in a decent amount of money. Or, simply run the online equivalent of whatever type of in-person event you normally do and watch as it attracts a whole new set of attendees.
The great thing about holding events online is that you can also market them online through platforms like Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram. These sites allow you to reach a very specific demographic of people. Try selecting a group to advertise to who live in a certain location or have particular interests. Or—even better—use your marketing campaigns to collect email addresses so you have a ready-made list of people to market to next time.
Fresh ways to fundraise
Do you get tired of running the same old types of fundraisers? You know—the galas or the sponsored runs. When you do things online, you can be far more imaginative. Plus, you can raise more money by being able to sell more tickets or a larger volume of tickets for a lower price since it takes less to recoup your initial investment.
One idea is a silent auction, which means you start the auction online before the main event takes place to drum up interest. Or consider holding a traditional live auction or online raffle. Both of these lend themselves to sponsorship opportunities as you can mention that your sponsors paid for the items involved.
You could also hold a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, which involves outsourcing some of the marketing involved in an event to your supporters. Each supporter will have a page where they can raise awareness and money for your charity to their network, just as individuals taking part in a sponsored run have their own fundraising page. You could even turn it into a competition and reward the person who raises the most money.
Sponsorship opportunities definitely increase when you operate virtually. Instead of being restricted to local businesses who want to be featured on signs at an in-person event, you can create partnerships with organizations from anywhere in the world. You’ll also have more options at your disposal for how you feature them. It could be in the “virtual lobby” before the event, through video adverts in between events, or shout outs during the livestream.
So far, we’ve mainly focused on how virtual events can help your nonprofit by encouraging more donations. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to how they can be beneficial for the attendees. In-person events might work well for the masses, but they unintentionally exclude a lot of people. Not just those who don’t live locally, but also those with mobility issues or other accessibility-related conditions such as being hard of hearing or visually impaired.
Holding your events online makes it much easier to adapt to everyone, meaning you can host events that everybody enjoys. Virtual events also appeal to those who didn’t want to be in large groups during the pandemic. This means more attendees and potentially more donations for your nonprofit, but it’s also something to do as part of an overall commitment to building a better world.
Where to start
Want to be more inclusive but don’t know how to get started? Start by checking out some web content accessibility guidelines. These contain information about aspects like text character size, color contrasts, and audio descriptions.
Event platforms like PayBee also make it easier to create a better event experience for all attendees. The live chat feature included on PayBee ensures that anybody struggling to follow along with the event has somewhere they can easily get help. We recommend having a team member or volunteer manage this chat at all times to ensure that no messages are missed.
If you decide to be adventurous enough to hold a virtual gala or another event that includes sending out food through the mail or via a partnership with a local restaurant, you can easily cater for anyone who has special dietary needs on PayBee. We include relevant questions as part of our ticketing campaign to find out if anybody is vegan or gluten-free.
How to use PayBee features to make the most of your virtual event
We briefly mentioned a few ways that PayBee features can help make running a virtual event easier and boost your earning potential. But we’ve only skimmed the surface so far. Let’s take a look at how our tools can make your virtual events a success.
Above all, we wanted to highlight some recent changes we’ve made to the landing page for an upcoming event (something you can make through our platform). This is the place that initially attracts the attention of potential attendees and determines whether they’ll decide to sign up.
Let’s outline the improvements we made.
Upgraded RSVP page
Throwing an event without knowing who’s coming is like cooking a meal without knowing which ingredients you are using. It’s not a recipe for success.
When you make it difficult for potential guests to RSVP, you run the risk of them turning up without letting you know beforehand—or worse, missing the event altogether because they forgot it was happening. At PayBee, we understand how important this is. So, we made the link to RSVP more prominent on your event’s landing page. This way, it’s practically impossible for anybody to miss it or be confused about how to confirm their attendance.
We’ve also given you more ways to customize your link if you want to help it stand out even more and align with your branding. Plus, when a guest RSVPs, they’ll be asked to enter their personal details and contact information, meaning you can add them to your mailing list and send them reminders about the event—or follow-ups after the event. In addition, the info we ask for includes details you’ll need to know on the day of the event, such as vaccination status or special dietary needs.
All the great ideas and features planned for an event can go to waste if your guests don’t know how to access them. The last thing you want is for your interface to be too confusing. Sometimes, even figuring out how to join an activity can be overwhelming, especially if there are multiple links and it’s unclear which link will take a guest to which activity.
We’ve done our best to remedy this by making your landing page as clear and accessible as possible, with plenty of space in between each event activity. This way, everything is in one place, and the layout is simple. No more need for your guests to search through their past emails to try and find the right information.
You can also include a donation link on the page. After all, you can never have too many.
Ad space for sponsors
We’ve discussed the sponsorship opportunities that virtual events offer already. But the landing page is yet another place you can give your sponsors publicity. On PayBee, we allocated space on the page for you to add the logos of your sponsors, ensuring they get the coverage they deserve. However, you can also customize everything—including adding additional slides and information on other pages.
Time to maximize your revenue
Is it time to take your fundraising to the next level and embrace the virtual realm? We hope this provided some helpful insight. But if you’re still unsure about whether PayBee is the right platform to help you make that transition, we get it. There are lots of features to get your head around.
Fortunately, we offer a free demo, so you can learn how everything works without having to commit to an upfront investment. This includes a mock live auction, testing out virtual fundraising, and even the chance to ask questions. Sign up today and watch how your nonprofit can flourish with virtual events!