How crowdfunding help financing public goods and charities
How do you set up a virtual event? Design an amazing user-experience, and create a great sign-up experience. Plus we will share how you can recruit participants.
This blog post is based partly on a webinars we did in the spring of 2020. You can find a recording of the webinar at the end of this blog post. This is the second post in a three-part series on virtual events, you can find part one and part three here.
In this post we will cover how you can set up your own virtual fundraising event and get your first participants.
Before you start setting up your event, it is beneficial to look at a few parts of the participant experience.
Your technology stack for a virtual event isn't much different than a physical P2P fundraising event except that event registration is often much simpler and doesn't involve time tracking. You need a system for P2P fundraising, and if it doesn’t include stewardship journeys already, then it needs to integrate into some emailing tool of yours. And of course if it all integrates to your CRM, then you are in a really good place.
We believe it is beneficial to have a general P2P fundraising site for DIY (do-it-yourself) P2P fundraising. This site can also host new virtual events that you are testing out without investing in a separate site for it.
The BetterNow solution can help you here and also comes with a standard stewardship journey that fits most new events. Of course you want a new dedicated journey once you have a successful event, but for year one and testing multiple different concepts, it will bring your development time down considerably.
A campaign mini-site will do wonders. This is where you can add all kinds of content, aggregate images from Instagram and present various options. As you are running the heavy stuff through P2P fundraising solutions like BetterNow, you can set up your campaign site as a mini website. If your own content management system (CMS) can’t handle an additional campaign site, you can get one up and running through Squarespace, Wix or the like in a few hours.
Teams are incredibly powerful for bringing social elements to the digital world. They tap into existing social infrastructures and use these for recruiting participants and making the experience social.
It also gives gamification through leaderboards that help increase engagement and the average fundraised. Our data shows that fundraisers who are part of a team fundraise 10%-20% more than other fundraisers.
We called it sponsored fundraisers, but it basically is pledge fundraising. I do X and you give Y. We have automated the payments side of this. Sponsorships help bring the activity closer to the donor and creates a tighter connection between the activity and the act of fundraising. Examples could be that you can sponsor with 1€ per lap or 5€ per Km run.
For virtual events, this setup can be especially beneficial, as it helps connect the physical world the fundraiser lives in with the digital fundraising part.
With many virtual events, just having the participants create a fundraising page might be enough for a sign-up. However in some cases you do want to capture additional information though. In this case we have a few tips for your sign-up form.
Capture motivation for participating: This will help both in terms of communicating in connection with the event, but also helps to figure how to recruit them as monthly donors afterwards.
Set expectations: Especially if your event is free, you will want to be very explicit in the communication about fundraising. Make sure that participants know that fundraising is an essential part of the event (and fun as well), by featuring information on this clearly in the signup form.
If you are using BetterNow and add a signup form before fundraiser creation, we recommend setting up a separate signup form in whatever form management system you already are using, and integrating it with BetterNow through Zapier. This will give you total freedom in how you collect sign-up information and what information you want to collect. Watch our guide to Zapier integration.
All of the above is of no use if you don’t manage to recruit any participants. So here are a 10 ideas and tips on how to recruit fundraisers.
Make sure that you have at least a handful of fundraisers ready to set up on day one, so that anyone entering the site afterwards doesn't come to an empty site. Everyone wants to be a part of a community, very few want to start one.
Don’t expect people to sign up the first time they are presented information on the event. Try to think of how you can reach the same people several times, so the initial idea about participating results in action.
Posting about the event on your main social media accounts can help you present the idea to potential participants many times, and slowly build up the idea of participating.
One benefit of virtual events is that you can remove or lower traditional entry barriers. These can be having no sign up fee/cost and using super simple sign-up forms for example.
Whether it be schools, churches or ambassador programs, recruiting through your existing relations and partnerships is a possibility that is worth considering. Of course the target group of the event and the existing channel have to fit together well.
An obvious place to start would be to recruit the first participants from any supporters who have participated in other events organised by you, or anyone who has fundraised for you previously.
As mentioned above, teams can be a great driving force for participant recruitment. When two friends have decided to participate, creating a team will give them a reason to invite other friends along. Families can have their own teams, or colleagues can have a team. These participants will often be very new to your organisation - be ready to awe them!
Recruiting a company might give you 10, 50 or even more participants in one go, so make sure to offer this to your corporate partners. It probably won’t be for all of them, but you just need a few to make it work.
Recruitment through paid social media ads can work. And it might be useful if your target group is not someone you have any existing channels to reach with. But be aware that it can easily be expensive, and especially for a first year event it will be risky, as you don’t know how much each fundraiser will collect - and therefore don't know how much you can afford to pay for each signup.
This is and will always be the holy grail. For this to work, make sure that it is possible to join the event while it is ongoing. Most of the social media sharing and talking about the event by participants will be during the event. To leverage that, sign-up has to be open during the event.
With the above set and ready to go, you are ready to start thinking about how to engage the participant in fundraising after the sign-up. So read our next article in this series on how to help your participants and bring value in your interactions with them. Blog series: Virtual events
How crowdfunding help financing public goods and charities
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