Since shifting to the virtual event space, event planners have had to come up with creative ways to continue hosting profitable events. Businesses, nonprofits, and charities who normally host a holiday fundraiser have been forced to move online, and finding ways to connect to once generous donors is tough.
But there is hope. Instead of limiting connection and engagement, a virtual fundraising event can strike all the right notes with a target audience while helping the fundraising efforts reach a greater number of people.
Given the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting a virtual holiday fundraiser is the best way to take advantage of the opportunity to raise funds while keeping things light and fun! If your nonprofit organization or charity would normally host a holiday fundraiser in-person, then you might consider moving to a virtual fundraising event online.
If you’re not sure where to start, this article will provide some festive virtual holiday fundraiser ideas so you can keep your community connected and audiences engaged.
Hosting a Virtual Holiday Fundraiser
Hosting a virtual event is easy with powerful virtual event software. Virtual event software can help event organizers plan and host their online fundraising event. Features range from live video streaming to pre-recorded, webinar-style sessions, as well as augmented reality and virtual venue spaces.
With a virtual event platform, a virtual holiday fundraiser can host a range of session types and engage with remote audiences in new and exciting ways. Look for an event platform that has live chat features and event venue spreads, as well as tools for event brands, such as analytics tools, silent auction, raffle ticket offers, customer service, and ticketing and registration support.
However you decide to organize the event, consider these fun virtual holiday fundraising ideas:
Virtual Holiday Fundraiser Ideas
Virtual Holiday Gala
A virtual gala, also known as a “No-Gala Gala” is trending in the fundraising space because right now is typically the time for galas! You can consider hosting some of the same gala ideas in a physical event space, but attendees will view the event through a live streaming hosting platform.
Consider hiring a musical act, comedian, or hosting an office awards ceremony. Encourage your attendees to dress up to the 9s so that they still get to enjoy that bit of the gala fun.
In terms of online fundraising, virtual galas operate in much the same way that a physical gala would. You can decide how you want to host the event. If you want to have a buy-in, then guests won’t have to worry about any additional fundraisers. Use ticketing tiers to encourage VIP experiences and different donation levels.
Guests can access the link through the virtual event software. Additionally, funds could be raised through an online auction within the gala, and fundraising is tracked with a virtual fundraising thermometer. Continue to connect with your attendees by sharing guest photos or greeting each guest by name during the event.
Festive Fundraising Challenge
Virtual fundraising challenges are easy and convenient ways to raise money for your holiday fundraiser. You can start the challenge early in December and then end the event with a live stream that celebrates all involved, highlighting those who exceeded certain contribution points.
The live event can be live streamed or pre-recorded with a live moderator. You should probably hand out a few prizes to get people into the event. Keep the event open or open within a certain group so that everyone feels like they are part of it. Donors can donate to individuals or teams via email or social media.
Participants must register to sign up. Encourage photos that show participants doing the challenge and add brownie-points for festive gear. You can consider challenges like a read-a-thon, a physical challenge (like running to a distance), a friendly dare challenge, or a team all-in holiday board game challenge!
Allow guests to win based on funds raised and keep the challenge for fun! This is a great virtual fundraising idea for large companies and to get families involved!
Silent Auction and Holiday Dress Up
Auctions are still one of the best ways to raise funds for a fundraiser. Within the virtual format, you can consider a silent auction or a live auction. Live auctions require a lot of planning and optimal online connections, but silent auctions are sure to be a hit.
Consider collecting some great prizes that will keep audiences engaged and willing to donate to your cause. The silent auction might run in one of the sessions, but then allow remote attendees to interact with others in other session spaces as well as interact in an augmented reality space. Keep the theme festive and encourage attendees to wear holiday light-up necklaces or bring their own eggnog!
Promote the silent auction items early on social media, like in a Facebook group, and via email.
And we recommend using a virtual event fundraising software that can accept bids, support text-to-give solutions, alert each donor when they are outbid, and accept payment directly through the platform. This mobile bidding option means that even if an attendee is unable to log on to the virtual event, they are still able to participate.
Online Voting Contest
An online voting contest is the perfect holiday fundraising idea because it encourages your staff, supporters, or colleagues to get into the festive mindset! Consider voting on something that is silly. Asks your employees to dress up like a Christmas tree and attendees vote on who did it the best!
If you can tie views, votes, or any type of pledge to a charity, then you can reap the benefits of a fun festive holiday party tied into a virtual fundraiser challenge.
Virtual Charity Run
Even as winter starts to creep in, we can still encourage friends, family, and employees to get out and be active. If you want to host a physical fundraising event, then a virtual charity run is a great way to do it. You can also consider a safely monitored polar dip once the temperatures drop.
When hosting a physical challenge, be sure to hit a benchmark that you want participants to hit. Then required registration where all the proceeds go to a certain fundraising goal. Participants can seek outside fundraising sources as a way to receive a prize.
Require that all virtual participants throw on something festive like reindeer ears or a light-up nose while they run. If you are running in a public space, then you can set up spots where pictures can be taken and then posted to social media to stay connected.
Holiday Charity Live Stream
Consider hosting your charity event via live stream. You can pick a time as if it were a televised event and ask that attendees, supporters, and viewers steam during the event. Consider finding sponsors who might run ads for the event as a way of generating revenue.
If you want to raise awareness for an issue or donate to a cause, ask attendees to phone in or use the live chat feature as a way of providing a donation. If guests donate a certain amount, give them a prize!
Consider hosting this event like a hybrid style event. You can have entertainers hop on the show as a way of keeping guests engaged. Or, include gamification elements like a scavenger hunt or a media session of the best holiday movie segments!
With a virtual event platform like Accelevents, you can activate the text-to-give option and attendees can give to the online fundraiser with ease. Or include an easy-access donation form on the main page to make it simple!
Virtual Holiday Fundraising
As the temperatures drop and the holidays roll around, event planners are starting to cook up ways that we can keep our communities connected.
When planning any event around this time of year, consider a holiday season theme that accounts for all communal holidays. If you are worried about being politically correct, then it is always safe to go with a winter theme and encourage participants to share their holiday traditions.
Keep the focus on the supporters and the online fundraising goal as a form of engagement. And bring in elements of gamification to boost your fundraising campaign!