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Our Best Virtual Crowd-Pleasers

We’ve noticed – and heard through the grapevine – that some special “treats” that make live events magical are also working well in virtual ones. Plus, we’ve collected up a few new ideas, too! Here’s a run-down of some of the best ideas we’ve seen or heard about:

Watch and Win Raffle

No matter what you’re raffling off, getting your audience to come to your event live has advantages. Not only will you build more momentum in the shared experience and have a better chance at engaged bidding, you also get your audience’s attention at a time when they can collectively move the funding needle. We highly recommend a raffle to get your audience motivated to view the event together. Virtual watch parties and text-groups are also great ways for “table hosts” to collect their communities and keep them focused.


This is America’s fundraising gameshow! How it works is that you get some of your favorite people from the community to play their favorite gameshow. And what could be wrong with that? Absolutely nothing, because people love to play gameshows. You put people up head-to-head, and then the winner gets to play a “mighty match,” (essentially your special appeal) which is a chance for your gameshow winner to collect donations and incentivize people to give. This is a crowd-pleaser because it’s just so much fun. While they take some time to plan, the payoffs in terms of fun and financial reward can be huge.

This can also be run as a Fast Cash episode, which is a rapid-fire, 15-minute version of a longer-form gameshow.

Mega-Money Episode

This combines the fun of gaming with interview-style storytelling, which helps us make sure that your audience knows what makes your organization so special. This helps you both feed your audience’s appetite for fun while also making sure they takeaway new information about your why.


Donor Acknowledgement

One of the reasons people give is so that they can be seen giving. So, if we’re not gathering, how can we solve for this? We’ve seen success in bringing up a bubble on screen with the donor’s name in it. Other organizations are continuing to use auctioneer callouts in real time. Others, in order to protect generous givers from undo acknowledgement, have had auctioneers create a short segment that gets added in place of the live appeal in the taped version.


Honestly though, there’s lots of opportunity for innovation here! Basically, anything you see on television can be converted into a virtual event! If you want to sit with Oprah on the couch and have a talk show, that’s a special way to talk about why your work matters. Huge Jeopardy fans? What is absolutely? Love America’s Got Talent? Your board members, donors and supporters have talent too. Wish you could play Trivial Pursuit with your favorite people? Run this as a virtual event and get the gang together! Love telethons? You can create a very clever version for these times.

Your event, as it always has been (and always will be), is the perfect opportunity to cater to the audience you know. The one that loves you and would follow you (almost) anywhere. If your audience is full of churchgoers, take them to church! If they’re big on theatrics, treat them to wonderful, over-the-top performances. And feel free to get creative, because a lasting idea for how to differentiate your event might come out of your experiments. Have some fun with it! Be safe and keep your donors safe. And good luck, fundraisers. We know you’ve got this.



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