Helping Your Donor Community Host Their Own Virtual “Tune In” Party

Since its inception into the world of nonprofit fundraising, fundraising events have proven to be a great way to bring groups of like-minded people together to create giving magic.

Now, with COVID-19 keeping us from large group gatherings, it’s time to review your fundraising options and look for new ways to engage with your community during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. One of our favorite new options is the “Virtual Tune In” party.

What is a virtual “Tune In” party?

The idea is simple—gather virtually with a group of other donors in advance of your virtual fundraising event to toast to your organization and catch up with other supporters.

Tune In parties have become a fun and festive trend among nonprofit organizations that can either be coordinated by your donors or your nonprofit organization and hosted virtually using any number of virtual live conference platforms like Zoom, Facebook Rooms, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. The primary goal of the party is to get donors all set and excited to donate and bid during your virtual fundraising event.

Goal setting

If individual donors will be hosting your Tune In parties, it’s important to have a firm set of goals in mind that are easily shared with them. We recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. method of goal setting.

Specific – Be clear and focused when defining your goals.
Measurable – Stay on target with your end goal by tracking the numbers.
Attainable – Set realistic goals that will empower your team.
Relevant – Make sure you’ve set a meaningful goal.
Timely – Set a series of goals to reach throughout the length of the program, giving you a stair-step your way to your end goal.

When initiating the planning portion of the event with your donor hosts, provide them with your S.M.A.R.T. goals and examples and explanations to elaborate on how they can help you reach these goals and create the best event possible at their home venue.

 For more information about the “new normal” in fundraising check out Great Giving “Benefit Auctions in 2020. The Return to Normal or the NEW Normal?” with Mark Schroeder CAI, BAS, CES of Auction brio LLC.

The Tune In Party

1. Planning – If your organization would like to coordinate Tune In parties, it’s best to add them into your planning process as soon as you can to get donors, sponsors, and volunteers on board to help with the process. Create a way for individuals to “opt-in” to participate in a party or let individual groups coordinate on their own (less planning for you!). Make sure each host is prepared to assist other guests with getting registered as a bidder for the virtual fundraising event and that each of their guests is prepared to support your organization during your special appeal.

Some Tune In parties will only run 30-minutes while other more social groups may desire a longer period of time to connect in advance of your live stream. If you’d like you could also host additional social gatherings after the conclusion of your virtual live stream.

2. The “Party Kit” – Depending on how involved your organization wants to be with the coordination of the tune-in parties you could share a “Party Kit” to be enjoyed by each group. It could include a specialty cocktail recipe and the nonalcoholic ingredients to make it, marketing materials from your organization, or an appetizer recipe for donors to make in advance of the Tune In party. Your sponsors can get in on the gift-giving, too. Ask if they’d like to contribute coupons for products or services from their company or special gifts with their logos.

3. The broadcast – Live streamed events are now commonplace and most people who are comfortable using the internet are also comfortable attending a live-streamed event. Make sure you have coordinated with your donor hosts to connect with the live stream once it’s time to go live and assist in troubleshooting for their virtual guests.

After the event, share the program on your social media networks and your website. Ask your donor hosts to share images and videos from their virtual parties and ask their guests to share it, too. You could even include a sign they can hold up for a photo in their Tune In party kit.

4. The follow-up – As always, don’t forget to send out a thank you note to all your hosts, donors, and sponsors. Committing to doing for each gift that is received will ensure that everyone receives your message of gratitude, whether it occurs during a one-time event, or if it is given during a campaign that precedes or follows an event.

Tune In parties are a great virtual fundraising option. Working with your hosts to create an event that will indelibly connect the event in their home with your nonprofit’s mission will make sure the focus is on supporting your shared love for an important cause.


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