Using Virtual Events to Increase Revenue for Your Nonprofit Organization
Regardless of your nonprofit organization or charity’s mission statement, one thing unites all NPOs and charities — the need for regular revenue.
Nonprofit programs need money to be run effectively, after all. And while your volunteers and supporters may be very generous with their time and resources, rising prices for goods and services necessitate that your nonprofit organization continues finding new and effective ways for raising revenue.
Fortunately, recent events have offered nonprofits and charities a very effective way to increase donations and improve revenue streams.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced nonprofit organizations and charities to find alternate ways to hold fundraising events as lockdowns and social distancing made traditional in-person fundraisers an impossibility.
What emerged was an innovative way of offering fun and profitable virtual fundraising events that could be held online and connect supporters from all parts of the globe. While virtual events have been a reality for some time, their regular use in 2020 and 2021 made their revenue-generating benefits well-known to more and more charities.
Plus, as the technology for hosting a virtual event improved out of necessity, virtual fundraisers proved even more effective than in-person fundraisers in many ways.
The statistics back this up. According to recent stats provided by Crowd101, total online revenue for nonprofit fundraising grew by 32% in 2020 alone with the average online donation amount being $177. Online giving also attracts wealthy donors, with 51% of donors who give $200K+ prefer to give online.
Virtual fundraisers do need to be online savvy, however, if they want to be profitable. On average, donations made on a branded donation form are 38% larger than donations made through generic PayPal pages. 75% of young donors are also turned off by out-of-date websites and donors are 34% more likely to give on websites that are mobile-friendly and can be viewed and accessed easily from their smartphones and mobile devices.
Let’s take a closer look at the multiple ways virtual events can raise revenue for your nonprofit organization or charity. We’ll also examine how recent developments in online fundraising platforms can grant you an extra edge in hosting your virtual fundraising activities.
Virtual Events Raise Money by Lowering Your Costs
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
This simple adage points to one of the best ways to raise money for your nonprofit — don’t spend too much! After all, the less you need to spend in your event budget, the more you can use for your program operating expenses.
And thanks to virtual events, this reduction in spending doesn’t have to result in a reduction in quality. Quite the opposite, actually.
Because virtual events take place online, there’s no need for your supporters to budget for travel and accommodations. Likewise, you won’t have to pay for a huge dining hall. Or an event meeting room. Or a large staff and janitorial crew.
All of these savings can add up to some significant sums — for you and your supporters. In fact, some event planners find their donors are so grateful for the savings that they actually donate more to a virtual event and still feel they saved money.
Meanwhile, you’ll be saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars by not having to budget for large venues, parking spaces, and other physical costs usually associated with a fundraising event. That leaves a lot of money in your pocket, money that will help run your charity programs and nonprofit activities.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to skimp on everything. Some virtual fundraising events, for instance, still hire caterers who will deliver meals to all of your participants as they interact with each other online. These virtual luncheons and dinners can do a lot for supporter morale — and since you don’t have to invest in waiters or a cleanup staff, you’ll still be saving a lot of money.
Virtual Events Expand Your Network of Donors and Supporters
There was a time when location actually affected your fundraising capabilities. Timing fundraisers so they happened when your biggest supporters were in town and able to participate was a big factor in event planning.
Not any more though. Because virtual fundraisers allow anyone with access to a laptop computer, smart phone, and Internet to join in an online event, distance isn’t as important when it comes to event participation. That means you can expect more people to participate in your virtual fundraising event if you plan and promote it properly.
There’s more. Because virtual events can be attended from anywhere in the world, you can take steps to attract new supporters from different states and even countries. Just imagine how big your nonprofit’s brand recognition will be when you’re supported by a literal worldwide network all eager to donate to your cause.
How will you attract these new donors? Lots of ways. One very effective strategy is to offer your online event tickets for free. Since your virtual event doesn’t cost as much as an in-person gala, you can afford this — and the free price will encourage new supporters to check out your online event and learn about your organization.
You’ll also want to build an effective social media marketing campaign that reaches out to potential donors and supporters beyond your usual network. Learn which social media channels your target audience spends a lot of time on. Build an email marketing list of new addresses (PayBee’s online platform can help add the emails of your virtual event guests to your existing list).
Remember: when you’re hosting a virtual event, you’re basically giving yourself access to millions of online users. Many online fundraising platforms can accommodate hundreds or event thousands of virtual guests, so take advantage of this when you’re setting up your event.
Virtual Events Offer New Ways for Supporters to Raise Money for Your Cause
Aside from lowering costs and finding new donors, virtual events also allow your supporters to raise money in both familiar and innovative ways.
Much like your traditional in-person fundraisers, you can raise money by selling tickets to your event. The difference here is that you can sell a lot more tickets (since your online meeting space is virtually limitless), increasing your revenue potential. You can also sell virtual event tickets at a reduced price since your costs are already lower than an in-person event. Not only will this allow you to recoup your initial investment faster, the lower price will attract more guests to your event.
Then there’s the sponsorship money. Odds are, your past fundraisers were funded in part by local businesses who got to advertise their services at your event. Guess what? Virtual events can also sell sponsorship space — and due to the worldwide audiences they attract, you don’t have to limit your sponsors to local supporters. Many online fundraising platforms like PayBee allow sponsors to display their logos in the “virtual lobby” guests wait in as the event begins.
Sponsors can also support virtual events in other ways. For instance, if you plan to host a live or silent auction (always popular at virtual fundraisers), your sponsors can donate high-end auction items for guests to bid on. Each item can have the sponsor’s logo displayed on it along with a thank you for the donated item. This also works great for online raffles and other contest prizes, expanding the ways sponsors can contribute to your event (and lower your costs).
Hosting a virtual event also allows your volunteers and supporters to participate in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. This popular form of fundraising allows each volunteer to create a separate web page that advertises your nonprofit or charity fundraiser and collects money from your supporter’s own network of friends and family. Not only is this a great way to increase revenue, it also builds brand awareness of your cause. Again, online platforms like PayBee make it easy to build and manage a large peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Virtual Events Make It Easier for Everyone to Be Involved in Your Fundraising
Your nonprofit or charity organization knows how important it is to be inclusive and enable people to participate and contribute to your cause regardless of personal hardship or ability. That’s why your in-person activities and events are designed to accommodate the difficulties or special needs of your supporters.
In many ways, virtual events are tailored to be highly inclusive. We’ve already examined how meeting in an online space reduces or eliminates any issues with travel or local accommodation. And in the COVID-19 era, offering a safe virtual space for everyone to meet in is essential.
But virtual events can be made inclusive in other ways as well. By making your online fundraising platform compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you can provide online tools for guests with visual impairments to change color contrasts or text character size to see your web pages better. Audio descriptions can also help your guests access online event resources and real-time chat features allow volunteers to provide help for those who need aid in navigating your virtual space.
Even your virtual luncheons and dinners can be made more inclusive. When building a ticketing campaign for your food events, for instance, PayBee enables you to easily include meal options for special dietary needs, such as vegan lunches or gluten-free orders.
All of this makes it much easier for more people to participate in your event — which will just encourage more people to attend. Just be sure to advertise these accommodations in your marketing materials and your revenue potential will receive another increase.
Building a Better Virtual Event with the PayBee Upgraded Event Landing Page
Now that you have a better idea of how a virtual event can improve your nonprofit or charity’s revenue-generating ability, let’s take a look at some of the online tools available to help you achieve this potential.
PayBee recently upgraded its event landing page to include additional features that let you collect vital information from your guests while communicating important information about your event. Some of the enhanced features include:
Enhanced RSVP page
Building and managing a detailed guest list is one of the most important things you can do to host a successful fundraiser. Not only does a good guest list allow your staff to know who’s coming, you’ll also know vital details about each guest, including special dietary needs, vaccination status, and seating requirements. Plus, you’ll be able to access each guest’s contact information, which will be important when following up with them after the event.
But you won’t have any of this information unless you have an efficient way of collecting it — which is why PayBee includes a prominent link to the RSVP page on its landing page. Where more basic platforms might offer a simple RSVP widget, the new page lets guests enter their names, contact information, and any other useful information you need from them. You can also include customizable artwork to make this section more eye-catching.
Easily navigable links
One of the great things about virtual events is that it lets guests join in on online activities just by clicking on a link. However, if you can’t easily find the right link, you won’t be able to participate in all fundraising activities, which is bad for both guests and your nonprofit. (Guests won’t be able to donate to your cause if they can’t get to the right web page).
That’s why the upgraded PayBee event landing page includes plenty of space to display all of your fundraising campaigns. These can include Donation Campaigns, Silent Auctions, Live Auctions, raffles, and more. No longer will your guests have to look through old emails or texts to find out how to get into your fundraiser — the event landing page offers a one-stop doorway to all of your event activities. (And it goes without saying that this is a great place to include your “Donate” buttons).
Sponsor ad space
When it comes to securing sponsors for your fundraiser, you’ll want to promise them a good space to promote themselves. The PayBee event landing page makes it simple for you to thank your sponsors and display their business logos right on the first web page your guests will encounter in your virtual event. You’ll also be able to display slides with messaging for improved advertising. Having such easily-customizable features goes a long way in securing more support and funding for your fundraiser.
Increasing Your Revenue Potential Through Virtual Fundraising
If you’re ready to learn more about how recent advances in online fundraising can improve your own nonprofit or charity’s revenue growth, then sign up for a free demo of PayBee’s online fundraising platform. Not only will you be able to test out the easy-to-use features of our virtual fundraisers, you’ll also be able to participate in a mock live auction (complete with virtual money), and experience what your guests will enjoy at your event.
You’ll also have a chance to ask questions directly to our team of experts on how PayBee’s online tools can help you build and manage a better virtual fundraising event. Our team has helped many nonprofits and charities host hundreds of virtual and hybrid fundraisers over the years, giving us a wealth of experience on how to best plan your event. Take your organization’s fundraising activities to the next level by signing up for a free demo today!