BlueJeans Blog

15 Effective Virtual Fundraiser Ideas

What is a virtual fundraising event?
Through the use of live-streaming, video, and peer-to-peer fundraising software, a virtual fundraiser takes place when supporters gather online instead of in a physical location. Replacing traditional in-person events such as galas, concerts, walk-a-thons, and races, virtual fundraisers have grown in popularity since the start of the pandemic. Due to their less time-consuming and more affordable nature, virtual events offer a powerful and effective alternative to traditional fundraising events.

The importance of virtual fundraising in 2021
Sadly as the pandemic drags on, many non-profits have seen a dramatic decrease in donations. However, since charities often provide a critical lifeline to those less fortunate, the need for fundraising has never been greater. The good news is that the pandemic has inspired the field of fundraising to innovate quickly.

How to plan a virtual fundraiser
It’s important to start by knowing your goal and establishing clear parameters for success. What type of fundraiser do you want to throw? How much money do you want to raise? What is your budget for the event? Once you establish this, you can create a master event plan, defining basics such as who, what, where, when and how long. Next, set up the logistics to promote and host your online event. Be sure to hash out the details like what platform you’ll host on, which social media you’ll use to spread the word, and what your CRM rollout looks like. Finally, secure a robust online donation platform, ensuring it’s easy to use, doesn’t come with hefty fees, and accepts donations from around the world.

Virtual FUNdraiser ideas!
Now comes the best part! Having ironed out all the details, it’s time to choose your theme. You’ll want to pick one that grabs your audience’s attention and gets people excited, while taking the type of cause into consideration. We understand that a fundraiser is a very personal event, often dealing with the issues held close to the heart. Therefore, we hope this list raises the bar and the funds for your next charitable event.

Virtual Gala
Oh la, Ga-la! Nothing can beat the COVID blues like glamming it up for a good cause. Fortunately, since your fundraiser will take place online, you can host the international jet-set crowd from the comfort of their own stately homes. Start by choosing a catchy name or theme for your event. Think about hiring a DJ or guest speaker, and throwing a VIP breakout room where attendees can connect or participate in a VIP cocktail party or online auction. Consider sending gift boxes, which include decorations, wine, or even a food basket to set the mood and generate some anticipation before the event.

Virtual Paint & Sip
Hosting a virtual painting party complete with libations is the perfect way to get creative while making the world a better place. Start by asking local artists or art teachers if they would support your event by leading a class. Then, approach local winemakers or breweries to see if they will donate some of their products in exchange for publicity. When you are promoting the event, make sure that the fee or donation request includes the cost for any materials needed, and the painting instructor's compensation if applicable. Send the packages, including materials and drinks, before the event so that everyone is organized and ready to start on time. Then, all that’s left to do is crack open a bottle and get cracking on painting a masterpiece.

Peer-to-Peer fundraisers
An incredibly effective fundraising technique, peer-to-peer fundraising works by tapping into your network’s network to help raise money for your cause. Rather than trying to build momentum on your own, peer-to-peer fundraising engages others to create personal pages on your behalf, building credibility across a large social network while helping your message reach new audiences. Using crowdfunding tactics, social media, and the right event platform, gives fundraisers the ability to explain why the cause matters to them while serving as a proven donor retention strategy. Perfect for the virtual environment, some examples of peer-to-peer fundraisers are a work-out, viral video, or cold plunge challenge.

Virtual live stream
Live-steaming your virtual fundraiser allows you to share powerful content with your donors in an engaging environment. Using a robust platform with a rich array of interactive tools will allow you to get creative while maximizing donor participation. Consider having special guests or a local celebrity host, using compelling videos to highlighting the charity’s work. Where appropriate you could ask people who've benefitted from the charity to share their stories live. Then, open the fundraiser up to a Q&A, and real-time messaging, allowing everyone to connect, communicate, and celebrate this special moment together. 

Virtual webinar
Already extremely popular, fundraising webinars are the perfect tool to inspire your donor base by sharing information about your charity in an interesting and entertaining way. Start by showing videos highlighting work the organization has done in your community or around the globe. Next, you can highlight any initiatives or any future plans the organization is presently working on. Finally, end with a Q&A session featuring your CEO and board, experts, community leaders, and your staff to further educate attendees about your cause.

Virtual movie night
Easy to organize and with wide appeal, virtual movie nights are a simple and cost-effective way to create an engaging fundraising event. When choosing your movie, whether dram or documentary, pick one that aligns with your charity. Feature a donation button and a link to your organization on the movie ticket page, making it easy to give either before or once the film has finished. Include a chat room so you can keep your charity front and center throughout the film, in a non-intrusive way. End the night with a Q&A session so people can connect, discuss the film, and get more information on your charity and its mandate.

Virtual open house
Invite donors or potential donors so they can better understand your cause by letting them walk in your shoes with a virtual tour of your work environment or a behind-the-scenes look at your operations. As they virtually explore your space, heads of departments can discuss their role and how it helps further the mission. If your work is more environmental or international, consider having people living in those communities co-host by highlighting their day-to-day challenges and how donors can help. This exclusive opportunity can be an excellent way for attendees to really see firsthand where their money is going.

Virtual concerts or virtualpoloza
One of the things people miss most during the pandemic is getting together to see their favorite band. So since people can’t come to the venue, have the venue come to them. Begin by deciding if you’d like to host an intimate event with just one artist, or create a mini-festival with multiple performers. Many artists will donate their time if it's for a good cause and with so many concerts cancelled and venues closed, you might be able to book bigger acts than before. When planning the virtual fundraiser, consider including time for interviews, meet and greets, or Q&As with the artists involved. Finally, make sure to include donations in the price of the ticket and encourage additional contributions while the event is taking place. You can always follow up by selling signed paraphernalia after the event.

Virtual contests
As many people have already taken up a hobby or are looking for something new to do, a virtual contest is sure to be a popular idea. Since donations are raised by participants paying to enter and voters paying to vote it’s a straightforward way to raise money for your favorite charity. Pick a theme, then ask your supporters to post photos of their entries. Next live stream the contest, complete with a judging panel and award ceremony. Some ideas to consider include a talent, photo, or cake baking virtual contest. Choose whatever you think will resonate with your network and bring in the most money. You can always increase donations by auctioning off the prize-winning entries at the end of the event.

Looking for the best platform to use for virtual events? Here a couple of features BlueJeans Events offers that will help make your virtual fundraiser a real-life success. 

Best in class sound quality
Whether hosting a mini-festival, streaming emotionally moving content or throwing your very own glamorous gala, BlueJeans with Dolby Voice will ensure you have a pristine sound quality no matter what device your attendees join on. By suppresses background noise, while maintaining consistent volume across soft and loud talkers, Dolby Voice makes dialog easier to understand. This can be extremely useful in making sure important and moving moments are not missed or interrupted by distracting noises or sound issues. With speakers and attendees able to hear and communicate clearly, it’s time to sit back and let the conversations and donations flow. 

Creating breakout rooms
BlueJeans Breakout Sessions are an easy-to-use, powerful tool for when you want to create smaller, more intimate groups within a larger event. When fundraising virtually, you can use them to get people mingling before or after the main event, or for VIP experiences like cocktail parties for top donors or silent auctions. BlueJeans can support up to 75 breakout rooms per meeting and are as simple to use as hitting the “Add Room” button.

Live Streaming
Integrating BlueJeans Events with Facebook or YouTube Live will help you reach the largest audience possible while allowing everyone on these social media channels to access your virtual fundraiser from anywhere, easily. Offering up to 150 on-camera presenters with multiple video layouts means that you can deliver a production-quality event no matter what the size your fundraiser. Finally, BlueJean’s real-time interactivity guarantees that those joining from social channels can comment, like, and share, driving awareness and donations.

So now that you've read about the best virtual fundraiser ideas, click here to try BlueJeans Events free for 14 days!