Ep 72 | Taking your In Person Events Online
Just because you can't meet in person doesn't mean you cant have impactful and engaging events online!
If you're struggling to figure out how to take your fundraising events, or the services you provide, online, then this is the episode for you! I'm sharing some ways you can take your fundraisers online and still reach your goals. There are also a few unique ways you can still offer your paid services and generate revenue, even if you're limited on amounts of people that can be in your physical space.
In this episode you'll learn:
→ Running an online auction
→ Livestream your event
→ Run Facebook fundraisers
→ Create content for brand awareness
Want to skip ahead? Here are some key takeaways:
[3:52] You probably already have your items for your silent auction. Don't wait for next year's event, go ahead and set up an online auction and raise funds for your organization. This is a great thing to implement even when you can host your live events with everyone in the same location.
[6:01] Hold your live event event through YouTube Live or Facebook Live. It's a great way to engage with your audience and maybe even bring in new ones.
[9:56] Take your run/walks online and virtual.It can also be a great way to have your audience create online content for you and get your brand out more. Create a challenge that has people doing something during a single month and sharing their progress – all while raising money for your organization.
[13:01] Use Facebook fundraisers in conjunction with everything. Create competitions within the audience you serve or your board members. Use it as a way to engage sponsors. Add it as an additional element to your run/walk events or your table sales.
[13:48] It's also important to stay in front of your audience. This could also be a revenue generating option, especially if you can't serve as many people in person at one time.
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[INTRO] Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of the Digital Marketing Therapy podcast. Sami here, your host, and talking a little bit today about how to take your in-person events online. So maybe this is going on a little bit longer than we expected. And depending on where you live, there might be more freedom to have larger events than others. But just depending on how your organization operates, the fundraisers that you do, the events that you do, it might be tricky to kind of figure out how to still have them in a way that can support the audience that you serve in a way that can support your fundraising goals. And so I'm going to give you a few ideas for things that you can do. And that's what we're going to talk about in this episode.
Before we get to it, this episode is also brought to you by our guide, “Nine Ways to Raise More Money Online.” And we're really excited about this guide. There's some good stuff in it, some of it we're actually going to end up talking about today. But nine ways that you can kind of get online, keep your fundraising going, keeping your goals in front of you so that you can continue to do what you do best and serve and support the causes that you are built for. So head on over to https://www.thefirstclick.net/fundraise. Download the guide, check it out, and if you're overwhelmed by them, or if you really want to dive deep in them, you can also book a call with me to walk through a couple of them get your action steps and get things moving. So again, that's https://www.thefirstclick.net/fundraise. So for now, let's get into the episode.
[CANNED INTRODUCTION] You're listening to the Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.
[BODY] So I think at the beginning of this pandemic, you know, we kind of thought it would last for maybe a few months, you know, maybe you pushed your fundraising events out from the spring to the fall, maybe, you know, you talked about doing them next year, I don't know, whatever it is. And it's definitely still going on. And I know in the state that we live in, which is Oregon, the group's gathering are also limited again, as well. And so I wanted to chat with you today about ways that you can still take those events and and go ahead and run them and go ahead and get them out there and go ahead and start to continue to raise funds because you cannot move forward.
In your business and in your nonprofit if you're not raising the funds that you need to keep things moving. So it can be a little bit daunting to do some of these things. I totally understand that. But I'm here I'm here to support you here to hold your hand and I'm excited to hopefully spark some creativity and again, the sky's the limit. You can be super crazy With these, hopefully it sparks something for you. But just know that you want to take, you know, the ideas that I give you and do what makes the most sense for your team and your audience. And also for your staffing abilities. I'm always preaching quality over quantity. And so if some video stuff is just not in your wheelhouse, or you feel like, you know, it's just going to be way too overwhelming, then pick something else and do something different.
But there's lots of fun things that nonprofits are doing out there right now, to continue to have their events and continue to support and raise awareness for their organization. So I'm going to talk about some specific fundraising ideas, as well as some ways to just stay present and in front of your audience, or even just ways to continue to serve your audience, even if they can't physically all be together. Cool.
So the first and I feel like kind of most obvious, is running an online auction. So maybe you had a gala plan. Maybe you had a or maybe it's like a luncheon, a high-end luncheon. I don't know whatever it is, most organizations or nonprofits that I've ever been involved in have had a silent auction or five at some point in the year as part of their fundraising plan. So if you had a silent auction plan, you probably aren't even if it was in the spring, you probably already have most of the products and maybe they're just sitting there waiting. Now's a great time to do an online auction. And I think I will do a future post excuse me, podcast on different online auction programs and some pros and cons for you, so we'll get that lined up. But it's a super simple way and I would argue something that should be done in in conjunction with your in-person events as well because you can reach people that might not be able to show up.
So there's the story of this organization that I used to work for and one of the biggest donors ended up with a back injury and was laid up on the couch and couldn't come to the live event. Well, they luckily had an online portion to their auctions set up. And so because of that, she was able to bid and buy things from live during the event from her couch. So she was able to participate in the live auction, she was able to participate in the silent auction. And she still was, they didn't lose that income from her, which was was great. And she ended up spending thousands of dollars. So getting used to and comfortable with online auction stuff is good in general, I think, because you can reach a nationwide audience.
So if I, let's say my kids' school is running a silent auction or a theater program that my kids participate in, grandma and grandpa that might want to donate but definitely are going to come to the event can have some fun with it as well and support the cause. So I think online auctions are great.
So just kind of going into then if you were going to have a live event, a live gala, you can do your online auction and have that set up. And maybe it runs for a couple weeks prior. I mean, there's two different ways you can well, there's lots of ways you can do this, but it might run prior to the live event and then you know, you close it at live event, or maybe the live event kicks off the auction and the auction carries on for a couple weeks after the live event. But if you can't do your gala, then how do you do the live event?
There's so many ways you can do it. You can livestream to YouTube, you could livestream to Facebook, you could have people register and live stream during Zoom and you could still share the wonderful videos, testimonials stories and just do it in a video format. And these don't have to be crazy overproduced. Just be genuine with your audience, have a camera, some decent lighting, and have your agenda just like you would and and by using a program like Zoom You can really have multiple people come in and speak and have people attend.
And then you can still do your paddle raise. So that's the beauty of these online auctions is the software typically, you know, allows people to do mobile bidding anyway. So you could still do a live paddle raise with an auctioneer, you can still do live auction items at the event, and do it virtually, and have some fun with it.
And so I was even thinking about some of those events that are like wine in food tasting events. And I know that restaurants are really kind of some of them are really struggling right now. And so you might even have a situation where you say, Okay, here are the four restaurants and breweries or whatever that we are partnering with. And if you buy a ticket, so maybe you buy an online ticket, you can go to those locations on these. Maybe it's like during the two week period and still get your sample or your tasting or goodie bag or something. So people can still go pick up those items that maybe they wanted to taste and try and there could be different levels of packaging. So yeah, it's on the person to go out and do that more, but could still be a great way to include any of your sponsors. And I guess you could do that with any physical product. Right, and, and services. I mean, I know it's harder, you know, depending on where you live, to go get your hair done, or go to the spa or whatnot. But there's lots of great fun ways that you can still incorporate your sponsors. So I would encourage you to do a live event and just stream it online. And again, you might see some interesting results because just like with the online silent auction, you can pull in people from all over the place.
And because you're not having the high expense of the ballroom and the decor and the production and all of that you might also pull in more people because they don't have to buy a ticket, they can just show up live and participate. And maybe instead of buying the ticket, they're going to just donate to your paddle raise or donate to one of your by one of your live auction items, because they didn't have to pay for that, that pricey ticket. And because you're saving all the expenses of that you're actually making more money for your organization.
And it's just a great brand awareness thing, as well. So again, like I said, maybe you couldn't buy a ticket to the gala before, but you wanted to know more about this organization. Well, now you can now you can listen and watch and see the videos and see the inspirational stories and hear about the great work that your organization is doing. So I think shifting your gala's, shifting your life fundraising events, even if they're tasting events, into an online experience can be really cool and still really impactful for your organization.
And a lot of people do run walks, walk a thons, whatever and obviously we can't have large gatherings to do those right now. So I'm sure you've seen in the news, a lot of people doing these virtual walks. So still encouraging people to get pledges and donations on behalf of your organization. But maybe they do a walk in their backyard, and they just do loops or maybe you create the path that was going to be done. And they just do it anytime within the month of August, and, you know, share their information with you and still get it done.
And the great thing about this is you can get a lot of user-generated content or UGC. So people that are out you can encourage them say, hey, when you're doing your own, you know, little walk a THON, like tag us in your posts, like do a little video, share with people on your social media, what what you're doing and make sure you tag us, you know, we have an episode a couple back I'll link this up in the show notes where we talked about how to create your promo kit for your events so that people can know like hashtags are that they should share some content and inspire them. So that could go into the packet that goes out during this like run, walk virtual. So you're generating content throughout the month you're raising money.
And people could even turn it also into a Facebook fundraiser, I have a link to another episode we did there as well. So there's lots of ways that you can kind of tie those things together to also generate more buzz and brand awareness and publicity for your organization.
And with all of us being stuck inside the house, we definitely need a little bit more exercise these days. And you know, it doesn't it the beauty of this is maybe it's a doesn't have to be a marathon in one day. But maybe it's a challenge to say, Hey, I'm going to walk, you know, two miles every day for the month of August and and by doing that, I'm going to raise funds for this organization and I'm going to post my progress as I go right. So then you're getting multiple hits on your social media, multiple shout outs, all while raising funds for your organization. So what a great way to do it. And again, the beauty is you're saving money for your organization by not having to coordinate, you know, the security and the police support for the route that you're on. And all of the printed materials and the banners, you could still make shirts and send them out to all the participants, which would be super fun.
You know, you can create fun awards that might be different from standard like, you know, completed their miles in the shortest amount of days, I don't know, whatever, but you could still give out virtual awards and ways to shout out your people. And again, at the end of the month, you could do a live stream and talk about, you know, some highlights some of the people that participated some of the stories, why they participated and all of that good stuff. So I love turning a virtual walk into kind of a month long or two week long program and still doing it and having people just do it on their own. And share that content.
And of course, I teased already, the Facebook fundraiser is obviously a great way to continue to raise funds. If you can create a campaign, maybe it's your Annual Fund, and you typically do maybe a kickoff dinner, or maybe you have a little competition with folks, maybe your school or a church and you have competitions within your student body or your parishioners, you could still do that. It's just not an in person reach out. It's doing it through Facebook. So again, I'll link up that that podcast we did that talks all about Facebook fundraisers in the show notes, and you can access the show notes at https://www.thefirstclick.net/podcast.
But it's not all about fundraising because yes, we do need to make money in order to support the programs and services that we provide. But there's also the programs and services that you provide. So how can you stay in touch with your audience or how can you share the good work you're doing.
Like if you're an environmental organization working on eliminating plastics. If you can't do you know in-person events to talk to, or you're not going into restaurants to talk to them about straws, like how can you really make an impact or church services, for example, or educational series brand awareness or reaching out to a group of elderly people to hold you know, workshops in and keep them engaged socially, whatever it is, we could still do that online. We just have to be a little bit creative in how we do it. And of course, Zoom is definitely my favorite go-to platform. But there's lots of them out there that you can do, but I've been seeing a lot of church services that are being streamed on Facebook or YouTube, or even TikTok. My daughter was watching church services on TikTok live for a while there. So think about where your audience lives and you know, create regular weekly content that's live, you know, it might be trainings, it might be a series of workshops, and it's still things that you can charge for.
So let's say you provide after school services to kids, but you could only have 10 kids now, or you could have 20. So maybe you offer a lower cost, you know, Zoom training, where, you know, it's a specific activity that they do. And they can learn that way. Parents can still get some relief, they know their kids are busy doing something. But it's not, you know, it's gonna be different. But there's still ways that you can also generate revenue, doing things like that. It could be a brand awareness education series, maybe you just go live on Instagram, and do a live q&a. So just think creatively about where your audience participates. And you might have multiple audiences, right. You might have your donor audience. You might have your corporate audience, you might have your audience of the people that you serve and it might be your volunteer base, right. And you can use volunteers for some of these as well.
But I mean, who wouldn't want to maybe hop on to a live video with the Humane Society where maybe you highlight one of your pets each week, and you talk about their specific breed and why their breed is important, and how you know, some simple dog training tips for this, whatever I mean, like you could provide a ton of educational information all while highlighting what you do, and also then potentially improving the chances that pet gets adopted. So I would love to brainstorm with you more ideas. If you have specific thoughts, head on over to the first click marketing on Facebook or Instagram and comment and let us know what other thoughts or questions you have about some of these ideas and how they might work for your specific organization.
But I really think getting online getting comfortable with video. getting comfortable with asking for money online. And, you know, the one thing that I did bring up that I always think is important is making sure that you have a really easy to find easy to navigate donation page, because that's ultimately where we want people to end up. And where we want to gather more information where we want people to pay for their products and services. And so making sure that that donation page is spot on is also really important. So, hold an online auction, stick it up with your live event, which you can do virtually. And if you have a virtual run, walk, you know, give people in, you know, reasons to do it, and ideas and prizes. As well as creating different routes people can take or just do it in their backyard, hold your Facebook fundraisers and get out there and do some weekly brand awareness events or figure out ways that you can provide services online or in smaller groups. Those are just a few ideas. I hope that they were helpful for you.
And I know there's lots of other people that are doing really cool things out there. So remember that Google is your friend. And that's it for this episode. I hope that you'll like and subscribe wherever you listen so that you don't miss out on a single episode and hit me up and let me know if there's other episodes topics that you would like to hear and head on over to https://www.thefirstclick.net/podcast to check out the show notes and all the other great episodes that we've been recording. Talk to you soon.