DickersonBakker Blog

Virtual Events in a Time of Social Distancing

Spring is event season for nonprofit organizations in the US – nestled between the year end giving surge and the dreaded summer-slump. Hosting an event is a time-tested strategy for cultivating and boosting donor support.

So, what happens when we are asked to employ social distancing, right smack in the middle of the spring season?

We get creative! 

In this digital economy, we have the technology to host live, virtual, broadcast and social events.  Consider using some of these digital venues to create interactive and engaging experiences:

  • Virtual roundtables
  • Virtual meet ups
  • Town hall meetings
  • Virtual auctions
  • Webinars

Clever interactive elements – live polls, Q&A, dynamic graphics, even group prayer – can be used to spotlight the purpose of the event.  Well-produced video and music content combined with a thoughtful backdrop will work together to engage your virtual audience.

4 Benefits of Virtual Events:

  • By effectively targeting your audience, you may bring more – and more of the right – people together.  And since virtual events are easier to attend, many friends and potential friends who will not or cannot travel to an onsite event will join a virtual event – and engage with your content. For that reason, virtual events are a great lead generation tool.
  • Virtual events cost less!  Marketing and advertising are the biggest costs for a virtual event, followed by any print collateral and swag that an organization might send in advance of an event.  When saving on venue, food and drink, the cost differential can be very meaningful.  And of course, the logistics are much simpler!
  • And of course, decreasing the cost of an event will likely drive up the ROI.  If you raise 50% of what an on-site event raises (conservative estimate), but only spend 10-20% of what you would spend to host donors on-site, the ROI benefit is clear.
  • Last, if you are committed to giving your audience a quality experience, virtual events provide the opportunity to hone and refine the experience through testing.  And most planners who are seasoned in this type of event advise that you test everything, and then test it again.

In this season of consciously forgoing hugs and handshakes, candles and airline chicken, be encouraged by the opportunities virtual events offer.  No doubt that interaction and fellowship are critical even now, and virtual events may just be a cathartic and joyful way to connect with your organization’s friends!

Your major gift program requires a different approach and strategy when it comes keeping your major donors engaged & connected to your mission. Hosting events is just one of many moving pieces in a successful major donor cultivation strategy. Our team can help you create and implement a winning major donor program. Contact us today to learn how we can help you connect with your major donors, today.

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