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Online Fundraising Platform for Nonprofits

Online Fundraising Platform for Nonprofits

COVID-19 had some unexpected results for the nonprofit sector. Anyone would surely have predicted that fundraising would fall off a cliff due to economic fallout, job losses, and most importantly, the impossibility of holding the usual fundraising events. Yet the opposite happened — Americans gave $471 billion to charity in 2020, making it a record-breaking year. So, what happened? One explanation is the prevalence of online fundraising platforms for nonprofits.

Although nonprofits lost the option of holding (say) physical galas and marathons, they were gifted with a brand-new option — running virtual galas and marathons instead. The question that has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue is: will the success of these events continue when life returns to normal?

While it’s unlikely that online events will completely displace those that take place in person, their success suggests that they could have a permanent role in the market, especially to connect people from all across the globalized world. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get up to scratch with how online fundraising platforms and online events work. And where better to start than PayBee?

In this guide, we’ll cover how events and features work, including:

  • Different types of virtual fundraising events
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Donation pages
  • Silent auctions
  • Pledge drives
  • Donation buttons
  • Recurring donations

Live Virtual Fundraising Events

You might assume that online fundraising platforms are only for virtual events, but that’s not strictly true. While they’re 100% essential for remote-only events, they can also be a useful tool for hybrid events (which include a mixture of virtual and in-person features) and even in-person events.

If you’re not sure how these event types work or why you’d need to use a fundraising platform to run them, we’ll give you the full breakdown for each one.

Virtual

As the name suggests, a virtual event takes place solely online. It could be an event that’s streamed from a single location (such as a virtual concert) or something that involves multiple participants all streaming themselves (such as a virtual 10k run where all participants video themselves during the race).

Whatever the case, you’ll need a proper toolkit to pull the job off. Even a simple concept, such as a professor giving a live psychology lecture to a virtual audience, can be surprisingly tough to make work once it gets down to it. You’ll need to avoid technical glitches like fuzzy visuals, and you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for watchers to donate without leaving the event page. Don’t even get us started on complicated events like virtual galas.

That’s why using a dedicated platform like PayBee is preferable to trying to DIY the process over Zoom.

Here’s a handful of the features you can harness to make your event go more smoothly:

  • Integrations with popular live-streaming platforms (e.g, YouTube, Twitch, Facebook).
  • Option to hold live auctions with customizable features.
  • Interactive elements to keep attendees engaged (e.g., live chat, activity monitor).
  • Games to help you raise money more efficiently.
  • Help with setting up your campaigns, landing pages, and livestreams.
  • Social sharing features to help participants spread the word.
  • Automatic follow-ups with attendees (and corresponding data reports).
  • Easy donation options that accept all major card providers. 

There’s also a host of features that we’ll outline in more detail later, such as silent auctions and donation buttons.

Hybrid

Hybrid events tend to slip under the radar. They’re not quite virtual events, but they’re not in-person events either — they’re a mixture of the two. These are perhaps the event type that will have the most potential in the future since they allow nonprofits to host a fun event in a given location while also letting people elsewhere in the world join remotely. 

In this case, you’re likely to need many of the features we outlined above — but you may also want to complement them with special tools designed to seamlessly integrate a live audience into your in-person event. This can be trickier than it sounds once it gets down to the finer details, so having a service built specifically for this purpose is highly valuable. 

Let’s say you’re having a live auction — if you want people to be able to bid at both the physical event and online, it becomes a logistical challenge. But on PayBee, you can set up bidding updates over text and let people bid from their mobile to ensure everyone gets an equal chance to participate. 

Plus, you’ll get help with aspects like setting up your tickets, selling them, and keeping your guests informed about the schedule. This way, even if the bulk of your guests are attending in-person rather than online, you’ll still be able to take advantage of all the special digital features (and manage them straight from your mobile).

There’s no need for you to worry about the logistics anymore — PayBee will fit in with whatever your existing systems and plans are, so you won’t need to change your event to make it work with the software. 

In-Person

Finally, we have in-person events. Just because you’ve opted for your event to take place physically, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the valuable features online platforms offer. After all, the world is becoming increasingly digital, and virtual solutions can make life easier for both the organizers and the attendees.

The benefits of using an online platform start as soon as you sell your tickets. On PayBee, you can create various ticket types with different tiers (perfect for events that offer a few packages) and give your guests an easy checkout system to buy through.

When it comes to the event itself, we have plenty of digital features you can sprinkle into your event to help with both organization and engagement. For example, if you want to hold an auction, you can give everyone a bid paddle with an automatically generated URL and QR code — this means participants can easily bid, donate, and check out.

Even after your guests leave, PayBee’s follow-up system will remind them to donate (especially those who made pledges they didn’t quite keep). You’ll know which guests pulled out all the stops and should be targeted in the future, and who might be best left alone.

The takeaway of all this is: no matter what kind of event you want to hold, using an online fundraising platform tailored for nonprofits will help you to reduce your workload and make the event more engaging in the process.

Fundraising Campaigns 

Nothing is more fundamental to a nonprofit than fundraising campaigns. But as anyone who has ever been involved in one before will know, it’s a challenge to organize and manage them — especially if you’re handling a few at once. 

Companies use project management and customer relationship management software to stay on track of their leads and deals, so why shouldn’t a nonprofit use tools to manage its campaigns? Of course they should! On PayBee, we have a dedicated dashboard so you can see the status (active or inactive) of each campaign, how much it’s raised, the type of campaign, and any pledges. No more fussing around with paperwork and spreadsheets.

Campaign examples

As we ran through each of the main types of events, we touched on the different types of campaigns and events you might want to run. This is a crucial component of any event, so let’s go through some of your options on PayBee.

We’ll let you choose between:

  • Donations — the best option for most donation types.
  • Long Pledge — suitable for pledge drives (covered later) and other donations that take place over time
  • Ticketing — for events that only have a set number of tickets available and can’t handle any number of guests 
  • Peer to Peer Fundraising — designed so that donors can raise money from their network and share the campaign around
  • Auction — 
  • Last Hero — a fundraising appeal that is similar to an auction with a prize for the final donor, but every time somebody “bids,” they have to donate
  • Hindu Temple puja — a campaign type specifically for Hindu temple puja offerings

Say you want to have a gala. They’re a staple of traditional fundraising events, and can easily be adapted to the online environment, either as an online-only or hybrid event. Provide some entertainment (such as streamed or live performances), encourage further donations with auctions or activities, and give your guests ways to interact either in-person or by chat. You’d most likely select a ticketing option to run your gala, since there’s a limit to how many people you can cater to.

We’d like to think we’ve now covered enough to get any nonprofit started with their event planning, but if you’d like more inspiration to get you started, you can also check out our list of 60+ virtual fundraising ideas. If nothing there takes your fancy, we’re not sure we can help you at all.

Organization Donation Pages

After creating your PayBee account, you’ll have a landing page dedicated to your organization's fundraising campaigns. This is a great way for nonprofits to explain their fundraising efforts to any potential supporters and outline how anyone can get involved.

Share your page(s) to your mailing list, on your social media, and just about anywhere else you can think of to maximize publicity for your cause.

We’ve found that nonprofits spend far too much time on basic administrative tasks and marketing, which prevents them from giving their all to what they do best: creating great events and contacting their most loyal supporters. 

By using an online fundraising platform like PayBee, you can automate or delegate these tasks to get them off your plate, and rest assured that you’ll get the results you want (probably better results than you would have achieved otherwise). 

We’ll also give you data about the performance of your pages and how people are donating, so you can tweak your efforts as needed and decide what to focus on.

Silent Auctions

Don’t let the name mislead you — a silent auction isn’t an auction held in a super-quiet atmosphere. It’s just an auction that takes place online with anonymous bidding. Instead of an auctioneer running the show, everyone involved follows the auction at their own pace and places bids from their device without anyone else knowing who they are.

This might take away some of the thrill from a standard auction, but it opens the event up to a much wider group of people — participants can bid from anywhere in the world. This makes it a particularly effective way to hold an auction for a specific group of goods, such as collectors’ items.

On PayBee, we give you all the tools you need to create the perfect silent auction. You can add unlimited items, use the Bulk Upload feature to add data straight from a spreadsheet, and send bidding alerts to participants through text or email. This works for hybrid, in-person, and online auctions alike.

When the bidding is over and you have a winner, you can end the auction in a click of the button, and the winning bidder will be notified automatically and be prompted to pay. No more stressing about managing the process and staying on top of the bidding yourself.

We’ll also create an individual landing page for the auction automatically after you’ve set up the campaign. Perfect for sharing across social media platforms.

Pledge Drives

The purpose of fundraising is to raise as much money as possible, and a pledge drive is the perfect way to maximize your earning potential. A pledge drive is an extended fundraising period that involves donors “pledging” to donate money regularly over said period.

It’s great in theory, but there’s one problem: your donors might forget about or lose interest in the event, and you might not be able to keep track of who your donors even are. 

Solve this problem by holding a pledge drive on PayBee. To do this, you’ll need to create a new campaign, choose the “donation” option, and fill in the empty fields with the settings you want. 

As with silent auction, we’ll automatically create a landing page especially for the campaign, which you can embed to your own webpage using a custom link if you wish and then share across social media.

Donation Buttons

Naturally, pledge drives aren’t the only way that your supporters can donate to you. We also have a wide array of donation buttons that you can create to make it easier for people to make quick donations. Just enter in a donation amount and embed the link to your webpage using a custom link.

You can also add a scannable QR code if you’d like to print the “buttons” out and use them at a physical event.

Too many nonprofits lose out on donations just because they make it too difficult for their supporters to send them money, forcing them to navigate through multiple pages and enter in their details. More often than not, this results in donors giving up and deciding not to donate after all.

We make the process as easy as possible — donors can simply click or scan a code, and the easy donor checkout accepts all major card providers.

Recurring Donations

What’s better than receiving a generous donation from one of your loyal supporters? Seeing that they’ve set up recurring donations so they support you again and again. While you don’t need special software to ask people if they’re willing to make recurring donations to you, it certainly helps to automate the process and give your donors an easy process.

PayBee’s long pledge button offers precisely that. It gives your supporters the option to set up daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly donations.

Plus, we’ll give you the tools you need to track your donors so you can see who is continuing to support you, who stopped donating, and who’s just signed up. Because of all the free time you’ve created by skipping admin, you can focus your efforts on following up with these supporters and ensuring they feel appreciated.

Ready to Get Started?

It might be popular to claim that the world is falling apart in some circles, but if 2020 is anything to go by, people are becoming more generous than ever. So why restrict your nonprofit to fundraising through traditional methods? Now is the perfect time to get creative and try out as many tips, tricks, and event types as possible.

We invite you to do that in any way you see fit, but it’s fair to say that we’ve made our case for why our online fundraising platform is an asset for nonprofits of all kinds and sizes that want to run all types of events. Whether you want to keep things traditional and physical but add a few digital components to encourage more donations and manage your tickets better or you’re considering going all-in with virtual options, we’ve got your back.


Why not sign up today and get your first virtual event going?

Tags
Fundraising
Nonprofit Fundraising
Nonprofits
Sarah Bromley

Sarah is a freelance writer with experience writing for clients in the commercial and nonprofit world alike. To find out more, visit her website: https://sarahlbromley.com/