The pandemic compelled the nonprofit sector to pivot towards online events. As the world has started moving back to life pre-COVID, hybrid events are slowly gaining popularity and becoming the new norm. For nonprofit organizations and charities, this change has eliminated physical barriers to growth, increased nonprofit reach beyond geographies, and allowed them to enjoy, in most cases, greater success compared to the relatively expensive in-person events. Both online and hybrid events allow room for a lot of creativity as well unlike in-person yearly galas and annual events. In this article, we will look at the key takeaways from online and hybrid nonprofit fundraisers and why nonprofits should incorporate both into their fundraising strategy.
Key takeaways from online fundraisers
Online fundraisers, simply put, allow nonprofits and charities to raise money through the internet. It normally involves a donation page and allows charities and nonprofits to enlist donor support beyond their current geographical location. Here are a few takeaways to consider:
1. Benefit from a greater and wider reach
Online fundraisers offer several benefits to nonprofits and charities and one of them is their ability to amplify reach because they are online. This enables nonprofits to not be limited to their geographic area but fundraise across the state, province or country. All donors need to financially support a cause close to their hearts is access to the internet and a link to the charity’s donation page.
Additionally, acquiring online donations allows charities to capture different types of information from their supporters such as demographics, purchase patterns, which sources are attracting most of their supporters, the average gift size, etc. and update their database in real-time, Thus enabling better performance in the long run.
2. Potential to raise a lot more than in-person events
Online fundraisers far exceed their offline counterparts when it comes to raising money. With online fundraisers, charitable organizations have zero overhead costs (such as venue, parking, food, etc.) which allows them to net much more per campaign.
Lake of the Woods District Hospital is a great example of this. The hospital was serving a community of 15000 residents, 20,000 primary care, and 90,000 secondary care patients. Their in-person fundraising events took a big hit in 2020 due to the pandemic, which put almost 50% (or $500k) of their expected income at risk. They turned to Ascend and opted for the 50/50 online charity raffle to cover the shortfall. The program helped them generate $1.5 million in donations which was 3x what the hospital had initially aimed for. Additionally, the program also helped them expand their reach and grow their donor database from only 250 to over 14k.
3. Your nonprofit doesn’t need to be tech-savvy
Online fundraising campaigns are easy to set up and run. They are simple, straightforward, and only take a few clicks. More often than not, charities and nonprofits already have all the equipment and software required to set up a meaningful campaign at their disposal. On the other hand, if you want help navigating the process, Ascend can assist you with as little or as much help as you need.
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4. Opportunity to attract many sponsors
The past two years have demonstrated that charities or nonprofits can have several benefits when it comes to attracting donors and that digital sponsorships are here to stay. Going virtual or online with your events means that you have massive opportunities to expand your reach, build an enthusiastic community, and boost donations in exciting new ways. This also means you can now have sponsors from different cities and regions. People, corporates, and organizations that believe in your cause and would like to associate with your work become more accessible when you are running an online event.
Key takeaways from hybrid fundraisers
Hybrid fundraisers combine online and offline experiences. More often than not, hybrid experiences are multi-channel and interactive and can include streaming a live, in-person event across your various social media platforms and zoom. This allows for a lot of real-time interaction between your charity and its supporters.
1. In-person and virtual: The best of both worlds
As the world gets back to normalcy again, hybrid events for nonprofits and charities are all the rage. Even with in-person fundraising events resurfacing again, hybrid events will stay relevant simply because virtual components help increase reach and augment giving before, during, and after the event. These are the key reasons why nonprofit organizations should embrace hybrid fundraising.
Above all, the concept presents a more equitable format and allows charities and nonprofits to engage supporters who may prefer one format over another. A wider pool of attendees — whether virtual or in-person — guarantees higher engagement levels and bigger revenues. Hybrid events therefore truly combine the best of both worlds. Some good examples of hybrid events include a gala that includes an online 50/50 lottery or sweepstakes or ‘A Hybrid Run’ where participants can run at a time of their choice and report their mileage and time, etc.
2. Lots of opportunities to get creative
If you’re tired of organizing the same annual event or gala, want to be more innovative, and do things a little differently, this may be the right time to shake things up. Hybrid events present a great opportunity to really align supporters with your cause and reimagine your fundraising style. Instead of organizing events where attendees pay for the luxury of feeling privileged, the idea should be to align your goals and your donors and build empathy towards your cause.
Online and hybrid fundraising events are here to stay. If you really want to elevate your fundraising campaigns, incorporate both into your efforts. If you’re on the fence about the change and not sure where to start, it’s good to keep it a small-scale affair, at least in the beginning.