Virtual events have become generally accepted as an effective means of organizations gathering together for education, interaction, networking, commerce, and giving activities. The possibilities are endless and promoting your crowdfunding campaign is one of many. When you integrate a crowdfunding campaign with your virtual event, you’ll create an event with an interesting mix of fun activities, learning endeavors, and giving opportunities. This results in an event that produces more funds and a lasting positive impression on your supporters.
Virtual events are useful for all industries because they provide opportunities to create personal connections between your team, supporters, and audience. Because the event is accessible from any geographic location, you can attract a wide audience from across the nation or even across the world. You can tell your story directly to more people in an interactive atmosphere, and emotionally engage them to participate and give generously to your projects.
At Pathable, we’ve helped all sorts of organizations design and implement their virtual events to reach their ultimate goals. As a result, we’ve developed a list of tips about how organizations like yours can effectively integrate crowdfunding into a virtual event to boost fundraising results:
- Create a Combined Goal for Event and Crowdfunding Campaign
- Create a Real Event Experience
- Create a Crowdfunding-enabled Event Microsite
- Use Virtual Event to Launch your Campaign
Read on to learn more!
Create a Combined Goal for Event and Crowdfunding Campaign
To achieve a successful integration of fundraising and virtual event activities, consider your event and crowdfunding as one project and set a common goal for the two. Using your event marketing strategy for a crowdfunding campaign means that attendees should have a real event experience as they give, support, and promote your campaign.
Therefore, whether crowdfunding is the primary goal of the event, or you have other goals for your event, everything should come together as one unified experience for your attendees. You can set the stage for that unique experience during your virtual event planning process.
Create a Real Event Experience
When promoting your crowdfunding event to your target audience, talk about the complete event experience and what attendees stand to gain by attending. Then, create programs on your agenda that will provide that full event experience you promised to attendees. These programs include activities geared toward learning, networking, interaction, and entertainment.
When supporters are fully engaged in event activities and your fundraising initiatives, they’ll feel more connected to your mission and event goals. Then, they’ll feel the drive to help your organization succeed both now and in the future. When you create experiences, consider the following opportunities to engage attendees:
- Create educational sessions where you discuss emerging challenges and trends in the sector and how people can get involved. You can also invite an expert speaker or professional to give a keynote address to further inform your supporters about your mission. This will provide the “why” behind supporters contributing to your crowdfunding campaign and further supporting your mission in the future.
- Include gaming activities such as a virtual race, scavenger hunts, happy hours, a fun run, and endurance games. Challenge participants to accomplish certain tasks such as a push-up contest. Then connect the challenge to fundraising pushes that encourage supporters to invite others to donate to your crowdfunding campaign to raise as much as possible in a finite period of time.
- Encourage interaction between supporters, enabling live chats, 1:1 video calls, and meeting scheduling between attendees. This creates a sense of community amongst your supporters during the event activities. This community is key to secure future support and involvement in more activities, including future fundraising campaigns.
- Feature sponsorships and exhibitions to create additional experiences while generating more funds. Capture these experiences in your event schedule, and promote them in addition to your crowdfunding campaign.
Supporters are not likely to contribute to a fundraising campaign tied to an unengaging event. Therefore, packing your event full of entertaining and engaging event activities is the first step to ensuring you raise funds in your crowdfunding campaign. Your supporters shouldn’t feel as though each of these activities is separate from one another, either. A unified approach and marketing campaign will create a seamless experience for attendees.
Create a Crowdfunding-enabled Microsite
To create a seamless crowdfunding experience during your event, you need a virtual event platform or microsite with an open API that can be easily integrated with popular crowdfunding websites and software. This is so that attendees can easily complete their donations without leaving the event platform or mobile event app.
The microsite should be campaign-themed and have the associated features that will support different forms of fund generation initiatives. Here are some examples of relevant features to include:
- Crowdfunding campaign page. As we mentioned, an open API or sharing capabilities offered through a crowdfunding provider should make it easy to integrate this donation opportunity directly on your microsite. Make sure supporters can also share this campaign with their network of friends and family.
- Gift matching: Gift matching programs allow employees of corporate organizations to make donations to nonprofits of their choice and their employer will match it on a possible ratio of 1:1, 2:1, and even 3:1. Enabling a matching gift search tool feature on your donation page will ensure you maximize every gift.
- Donation tiers: Donation tiers provide benchmarks for donors on what they can give, and it is more effective than leaving a blank space for donors to enter an amount of their choice. Such tiers can start at a lower dollar range and terminate at a higher range.
- Merchandise sales: Create an online store on your campaign website for the sale of branded merchandise. Or you might even take this a step further and incorporate an online auction into your organization’s virtual event to raise additional funds.
Your microsite should have relevant features that will boost attendee engagement and donations before, during, and after the event. This will help support your event activities and supplement your crowdfunding campaign for an even more lucrative virtual event.
Use your Virtual Event to Launch your Campaign
Apart from running your crowdfunding campaign and event concurrently, you can also use the event to gain traction for the campaign. In this case, you will invite your supporters and target audience to participate in the event to learn more about your organization and projects, then launch the campaign, and ask attendees to help publicize it, sharing the link to the campaign over email, social media, and other platforms.
For this to be effective, the virtual event has to be engaging, interactive, and convincing. It should evoke trust from supporters and motivate them to get more involved. If you can get buy-in from attendees on what you are promoting, they will not only give but also become your ambassadors to promote your campaign voluntarily.
To establish trust, showcase some of your past crowdfunded projects. Let them see the impact of the previous dollars you’ve raised. Also, strategically present some of your new initiatives and the projects you’re gathering support for. Provide insider information on where their funds are going and the impact of the funded projects or initiatives to further your organization’s mission.
Your event platform can be used to host the campaign such that supporters can continue to give during and after the event. You can also host a post-campaign event on the platform, where you will share the success stories and also announce winners of special incentives.
Keep supporters motivated by providing a live leaderboard, fundraising thermometer, and other gamification elements on your event platform. Also, provide constant updates, announce milestones, and give shout-outs to top fundraisers and donors. This will show appreciation for crowdfunding contributions while maintaining supporter engagement.