Thanking your P2P fundraisers can help you raise 18%-28% more than if you don’t thank them.
Virtual events are a very attractive fundraising channel, with a low financial risk and the ability to test and iterate fast. With the Covid-19 pandemic it has become an essential tool for any fundraisers working within P2P fundraising and event fundraising.
This blog post is based on a webinar we recently did. You can find a recording of the webinar at the end of this blog post. This is the first post in a three-part series on virtual events, and you can find part two and part three here.
In this post we will cover some of the most basic questions on virtual P2P fundraising events to help get you started:
Our definition of a virtual event is an event where there is no centrally organised physical event. Participants can both participate in the event on their own, or self organised in small groups. It is a time limited campaign, so we differentiate it from all-year fundraising activities such as DIY fundraising.
In addition, we see very few multi-charity virtual events. Where many sports events might have several charity partners, this isn’t the case with virtual events. That might be because of the lack of a unifying physical activity or event. Therefore having just one charity at the center helps unify the event and create a community feeling.
We will attempt to classify virtual P2P fundraising events according to some general types.
Traditionally virtual events have mainly been found among sports events. However we have seen many more non-sports virtual events lately, and we expect this trend to continue. We will here classify the activity by how much physical activity it requires.
The other dimension we will classify virtual events by is whether they are done individually or in small groups. This is especially useful as it indicates how much a virtual event requires people to meet physically (which, as we all know, is a big no go during this coronavirus pandemic).
Below is our suggested categorising of virtual events based on the activity involved.
We have all the individual sports activities such as running, biking and crossfit and we those that often tend to be more social, such as walks. We have non-sports events such as abstaining from alcohol or sugar (very individual challenges) or meeting for dinner or breakfast privately in small groups.
In addition to this we have events such as the 2.6 Challenge which spans basically all the activities above and are very open-ended in their concept.
Category: Individual sport event
Charity: ActionAid Sweden
Individuals challenged themself to a crossfit challenge. They received instructions every day by email for 10 days, made by an ambassador to ActionAid Sweden. This is both a way to brand ActionAid, which is fairly new in Sweden, and a way to recruit new donors.
Category: Group sport event
Charity: Danish MS Society
Team leaders arranged their own walks in their neighbourhood, with anything from 3 to 100 participants in each walk. Participants donate to participate and also fundraise.
Category: Group non-sport event
Charity: Danish MS Society
Participants organise their own dinner for 6 friends, and the Danish MS Society helps with the rest. A corporate sponsor provides the ingredients, and you are supplied with recipes, menu cards and other helpful material. Those lucky enough to be invited will reply with a donation.
Category: Individual non-sport event
Charity: The swedish prostate cancer association.
The swedish and much modified version of Movember. This campaign centers around the blue moustache and men all over Sweden growing a moustache. Attracts a high number of corporate teams, all growing their own moustaches.
There are of course both downsides and benefits to doing a virtual event. During a pandemic we don’t have much choice, but virtual events will keep being relevant after. This information can help you figure out when a virtual event is right for you.
Before you start figuring out what the concept for your virtual event should be, first determine your goal. Essentially, figure out if you will be aiming for engaging your existing supporters or if you want to recruit supporters with little or no previous relationships with you.
So should your event be generic or have a tight relationship to your cause? If you aim to target your existing supporter base, you can (hopefully) assume that your existing supporter base finds your cause compelling, and has some knowledge about the work you do. Thus the activity of the virtual event does not in itself need to explain your cause or have a close connection to it, as communicating what you do isn’t the most important part of the event.
On the other hand, if you target a group of new supporters, you will probably aim to convert these supporters into supporters afterwards. Thus communicating what you do will be especially important here, and having the event do some of the work itself will work wonders. Examples of these types of events could be Operation Blethcly or Miles for Refugees.
If you aim for your existing supporters, then our guess is that your concept should aim fairly broad, unless you existing supporters are a very tightly defined group of people. If you target new supporters, you have more freedom. An event that can embrace a broad group of people will have the obvious advantage of being able to attract a larger group of participants. However a tightly defined unique concept might have lower recruiting cost, because you can narrow down your target group. So definitely worth considering going for a specific group/community of potential supporters.
No matter what, the activity and concept is very important. No matter if they are existing or new supporters, they need to buy into the activity first and foremost. They can learn to get excited about your cause later in the event.
We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have decided that a virtual P2P fundraising event is the right choice for you, we recommend that you continue reading how to set up your virtual event and how to go about recruiting fundraisers.
Blog series: Virtual events
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