Quick Revenue Enhancers for Virtual Events

Revenue enhancers like auction games, raffles, and wine pulls are auction staples.

They provide a fun little break for guests and provide a fantastic way to make some extra money for your nonprofit. These bonus events allow everyone to get involved and contribute—even those who couldn’t win an auction item.

Now that many events are moving to virtual-only, auction games still play their part! Quick revenue enhancers can even help solve some common challenges to virtual events, like encouraging higher attendance and keeping guests engaged from their computer screens at home. In a virtual event—where there is only one feed and not a lot of time—it’s especially important to give every guest an opportunity to have fun and support the cause.

But the rules are a little different. If you plan to hold your auction game during the live broadcast, it needs to be fast, exciting, and open to every single guest on the feed. You’ll want to strictly limit how many revenue enhancers you hold—add only one during the live broadcast if you want to keep your audience’s attention. For games that began before the event started, it’s fine to take some time at the end of your broadcast to announce your winners. (Actually a great strategy!)

Here are some ways to incorporate revenue enhancers into your virtual event that maximize audience participation and engagement, while raising even more money for your cause.

1. Play an auction game before the event, and use it as an opportunity to test your tech setup.

Allow guests to buy their ticket, bottle of wine, or balloon pop entry a week before the event, and then announce your winners on a live stream.

  • The winner broadcast should be quick and short, but still provide a great venue for testing how your event night live stream will work.
  • Generate excitement and interest before the event by handing out early prizes!

2. Sell tickets for your auction game or raffle before the event starts. And let it do double duty!

  • Use the big prize to help promote and market your event beforehand to get everyone excited for it.
  • Keep guests tuned in for the entire event broadcast by announcing the winners live. You may even require that participants be present on the feed to claim their prize.

3. Use an auction game for a fun break during the live broadcast.

If you choose to go this route, it should be very quick so you don’t lose any of your audience’s valuable attention. Have your host or emcee pull down the picks for some colorful entertainment!

  • This is a great opportunity to utilize any of the interactive features of your broadcast technology. Guests could call numbers for a wine pull, or choose their picks off a wall of mystery boxes.
  • Make sure you know exactly how this will work on the night of the event—and be sure it won’t take more than ten minutes!

There are a ton of great ideas for revenue enhancers that can be incorporated into a virtual event. The options are virtually endless, but we’ve made a list here of our favorites and how to play them with your online audience.
-The Purse Raffle: Place a gift card—preferably of a high dollar amount to really draw attention—in a designer purse and raffle it off. The winner wins both the purse and the gift card!
-Wine Wall: Promote one high-end, expensive bottle that’s hiding among the less expensive bottles, all of them covered up. Guests choose a number that corresponds to a bottle, and the host draws them to see if they won the big prize bottle. (Display the numbers clearly if you plan to do this during your broadcast!). Arrange for wine delivery or pick-up.
-Mystery Boxes: Many organizations do this with expensive jewelry, but you can hide any small item in your wall of “mystery boxes.” Each box should be numbered so guests can choose a number. The box can be mailed or picked up with other items they win.

-You can also use balloons and have the host pop each balloon number that’s claimed to reveal a prize inside.

-Buy-it-now Items: A super simple revenue enhancer! Sell something fun and event-related prior to the broadcast that guests can open or use during the live feed.

-A bottle of wine that guests can enjoy while watching.
-Sealed envelopes where only a few contain a special “winner” card. (Even better: every envelope contains a prize, with some bigger than others.) Guests all open their envelopes at the same time during the live broadcast and raise their hand if they “won.”

-Go seasonal! Allow guests to gift each other candygrams for a February event. Get in the holiday spirit with gift-wrapped treats or snowy trees. Incorporate pumpkins and costumes for Halloween!

Just remember to get creative and utilize whatever resources are available to you! How can you make your live feed more exciting and interesting? What sorts of safe, socially-distanced experiences will allow guests to feel like they’re at a real live fundraising event?


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