Virtual Fundraising Event

What is a virtual fundraising event?

A virtual fundraising event is a nonprofit event that is online or has an online component with the intent of soliciting funds or other donations. Depending on the type of virtual fundraising event, nonprofits must have the ability to collect registrations for attendees and live stream the event to attendees. This process of managing a virtual event is known as nonprofit event management.

Just like in-person fundraising events, there are several types of virtual fundraising events: virtual galas, virtual auctions, and virtual silent auctions just to name a few. Other creative examples include a virtual walk/run, a watch party, an online contest, a virtual speaking engagement, and a virtual concert.

It’s also possible to host a hybrid fundraising event that’s both in-person and virtual. This can accommodate supporters that would like to attend in person but are unable to due to distance, a conflict, or other reasons.

How do nonprofits use virtual fundraising events?

In a recent Kindful survey, 69% of nonprofit professionals reported using events and auctions to solicit funds for their organization; it was the second most effective fundraising strategy behind in-person asks and phone calls. But in early 2020, 97% of nonprofits changed or reconsidered their event plans due to COVID-19.

97 percent of nonprofits changed or reconsidered their event plans due to COVID-19
Source: Kindful survey

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Though many nonprofits planned to reschedule or postpone their event, public health authorities continued to urge organizations to limit in-person gathers. This led to a major shift from in-person fundraising events to virtual fundraising events. In times when in-person gatherings are not feasible, virtual fundraising events are a viable alternative to in-person fundraising tactics.

Even in situations when in-person gatherings and events are possible, nonprofits can continue to use virtual fundraising events to provide another way for supporters to engage with their mission. Some supporters might be more likely to attend a virtual event due to a conflict or their personal preference. We recommend—when it’s safe to do so—you continue to try both in-person and virtual events as ways to connect with your donors and solicit donations.

What do you need to host a virtual fundraising event?

One of the most important factors in a successful virtual fundraising event is the technology. Depending on the type of virtual event you’re hosting, this might include the ability to collect tickets and registrations, host an auction, or stream an event live.

It’s likely that your organization already has some tools in place to execute a successful nonprofit virtual event. We’ll share a list of some of our favorite options to make sure you have everything you need.

Virtual Fundraising Event Tools

Platform Registration Auctions Streaming Pricing starts at
Kindful Yes Integrated No $100/month
Eventbrite Yes No No Free
Handbid Yes Yes Yes $695/year
Ticketspice Yes No Integrated $0.99/ticket
bidCoz Yes Yes No $895/year
CharityAuctionsToday No Yes No 5%
Zoom No No Yes Free
Google Meet No No Yes Free
YouTube No No Yes Free
Facebook Integrated No Yes Free

Bottom line

A virtual fundraising event is a nonprofit event that is online or has an online component with the intent of soliciting funds or other donations. In times when in-person gatherings are not feasible, virtual fundraising events are a viable alternative to in-person events. Even when in-person gatherings are possible, nonprofits can continue to use virtual fundraising events to provide another way for supporters to engage with their mission.