When COVID hit, every nonprofit turned to auction technology to keep fundraising. Be prepared for the uncertain future by understanding these key services.
Technology remains the cornerstone of modern fundraising. As the state of the world continues changing around us, fundraisers need to learn the basics of these critical technologies, so you’re equipped to plan your next event and adapt it to any obstacles your nonprofit may encounter in the future.
1. Online ticketing and virtual event registration
More guests will successfully register for your event if it’s fast and straightforward. Whether your fundraising event will be held in person, purely virtual, or as a mix of both, allowing guests to buy tickets online—or simply RSVP for free—makes registration easy and comfortable and accessible from anywhere. For many virtual events, more guests means more eyes on the cause, and potentially even greater fundraising.
If you have a guest limit for your in-person fundraiser, setting a maximum number of available seats ensures no part of the event is oversold.
Build your donor database from online registrations. On top of automatic payment processing, online registration also collects attendee contact information that can help your nonprofit continue the donor relationship long after the event ends. Use your attendee email list to communicate schedule changes, provide health and safety updates, promote your online auction preview, or send out instructions for how to bid.
Automated registration is also a big time saver for staff and volunteers, who no longer have to collect and record attendee details by hand.
Sell more than just tickets! Guests visiting your website to register for an event already have their credit card out—so seize the opportunity to make additional sales. Think raffle tickets, merchandise, add-ons (like a delivered dinner to accompany a virtual event), or an extra bottle of champagne served table-side.
2. Mobile bidding and online auctions
In the pandemic era, paper bidding is phasing out. Whether your event will be in-person, virtual, or hybrid, mobile bidding is a safe and efficient way for everyone to participate in your auction.
Choose an online bidding platform that’s easy to set up and intuitive for your guests. For some gala-goers, the concept of bidding via mobile device is still new, so you’ll need a bidding platform with a simple, sensible interface that even web novices can pick up and use.
Make it even easier on yourself and your guests by sending out detailed bidding instructions to registered attendees before the event, and include a short how-to video on your livestream.
Payment and sales, all in one place. If you create your online ticketing page with Greater Giving, the robust Online Payments platform can save guests time by storing credit card information for use in the auction. Then any auction sales are attached to your guest’s profile, so you can see everything they purchased and bill their credit card automatically.
3. Livestream platforms
Whether you’re holding a purely virtual event or a hybrid-style fundraiser, you’ll need to get familiar with how streaming works and decide which platform is right for you.
How do you want guests to interact? Do you plan to stream any or all of your in-person event to remote guests? Will remote attendees participate in the stream? Some livestream vendors offer live chat, while others may only deliver the stream to the guest’s device.
Learn the streaming basics. While your chosen livestream platform should provide instructions, you’ll need content to design an exciting and engaging program for your stream. Many virtual fundraisers utilize these components:
– Live streamed segments, with a video camera or webcam connected to the internet while filming a stage or studio setting.
– Pre-recorded video segments can include graphics or animation, and are a great way to avoid flubs and mistakes. When possible, hire a professional to produce and edit pre-recorded video for a higher quality.
– User-submitted content is a fun and inexpensive way to bring some levity to your event. Some nonprofits have seen huge success incorporating audience reactions or contest submissions on the stream.
You may need some help from a production vendor to achieve a professional look and feel, and negotiating different types of content.
4. Online donations and micro-giving
With so many causes worthy of support, many people are more willing to make a few small donations of $5, $10 or $20 to different charities than a large donation to just one. These “micro-donations” are the future of fundraising, but capitalizing on them means developing some online presence, and giving casual donors a fast and simple way to give.
Find out more about creating a micro-philanthropy campaign.
Convey your mission and work concisely. Your donation page should get to the heart of what you do and why it matters, then quickly showcase a goal or accomplishment. Don’t ask donors to read your entire story—just what matters now, and why this donation is critical to the mission.
Create an online donation page that requires as few steps as possible. Your online giving website should collect donors’ information and process payments in a click, and offer the opportunity to continue being involved in your nonprofit’s work.
Here is a link to an article to help you make that page – How to Make an Online Giving Page That Generates Donations
A donor who gives a small amount once may give again in your next campaign, so be sure to thank them for their gift and offer additional ways to get involved in your cause!