As information about the latest Delta variant of COVID-19 becomes available, it’s reasonable to take extra precautions to ensure everyone’s safety for your upcoming fundraising events, especially with the busiest time of the year right around the corner. However, while it’s important to follow safety guidelines from your local government agencies to keep everyone healthy and safe, this is also a time to stay calm, ensuring you’re making the best-informed decisions for your organization, its members, and its supporters.
This is why now is the time to build out your fundraising event contingency plan. While the rest of the year remains uncertain, setting up your fundraising events to be agile and adaptable will ensure their success in the long term. As you build your event contingency plan, don’t forget to keep these tips in mind.
1. Move Your Event Outdoors
The last thing you want to do is cancel any of your fundraising events. These events generate much-needed fundraising revenue for your organization. And as you’ve already made many sacrifices in 2020 due to the onset of COVID-19, you are more prepared than ever to put a plan in place to ensure your event succeeds with flying colors!
Your supporters want to participate in your events and show off their activism, so make sure you’re giving them the opportunities to do so. As we head into the late summer and early fall months, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the favorable weather. We strongly recommend moving all of your fundraising events outdoors if you haven’t done so already.
Because you have no control of how fast the variant is spreading or what your local mandates will be for the next few months, automatically moving an event outdoors is the safest way to host an in-person fundraising event, giving you more freedom to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Plus, more people will feel more comfortable attending your event in-person when it’s outside, which increases ticket sales, fundraising opportunities, and donations.
2. Add Virtual Elements
Whether you decide to take your event completely virtual or keep your in-person event, last year taught us that hybrid events are the way of the future. Not only are hybrid events more inclusive and expand your reach, it offers a built-in contingency plan. With or without COVID-19, it should be clear that your supporters want alternative options for participating in your events. Adding virtual elements encourages participation for those who aren’t able to attend in-person, but it can also promote additional engagement from your in-person attendees.
By adding desired virtual elements to your fundraising events, you’re able to:
- Ensure that you don’t leave behind people who are not vaccinated, are immuno-compromised, or are generally more hesitant to step back into crowds.
- Create a built-in contingency plan to manage shifts in event restrictions and residual uncertainty.
- Bridge the gap for events with lower participant caps due to social distancing.
- Increase your geographic reach and encourage supporters to introduce friends and family to your organization regardless of where they live.
- Offer more inclusive events that are accessible to supporters that are homebound, don’t have childcare, or otherwise cannot attend in-person.
- Cultivate donors at all levels by providing a wider range of price points.
- Expand event caps for space-limited events by providing overfill via streaming options.
- Create low-overhead opportunities for supporters to engage with your organization.
GiveSignup | RunSignup is purpose-built for event fundraising for nonprofits. Our technology gives you what you need to create a seamless virtual or hybrid event experience for your event attendees. With access to free email marketing tools, an easy-to-use website builder, and a multitude of social marketing tools, you can rest assured knowing that you have everything you need to help your upcoming event succeed.
3. Create a Safe & Touchless Experience
Your supporters truly believe in the work that your nonprofit is doing, which means they want to engage with you through your fundraising events. As there’s so much excitement around event day, don’t let the registration and attendee checkin process take away from that excitement. Especially with the uncertainty of COVID-19, you want to ensure that your in-person registration and checkin process are both seamless and safe for staff, volunteers, and attendees.
With GiveSignup | RunSignup, your volunteers can now use a mobile-first approach — by checking in attendees with their own mobile device. GiveSignup | RunSignup’s Ticket CheckIn App creates a seamless and touch-free experience for your volunteers and attendees. Volunteers and staff can download the app for free from any iOS or Android device and quickly scan QR codes or search by name to check in your attendees in seconds. Plus the app includes Volunteer Mode, which allows your nonprofit to customize which information and which tickets show in each volunteer’s app on their mobile device. This will save your volunteers so much time and can check attendees in so much more quickly. This also alleviates the frustration of having to wait in long lines so that your attendees can get to what’s most important: the fundraising event itself!
Additionally, our Ticket CheckIn App allows your nonprofit to allow same-day registration for your fundraising event, which is really convenient, especially if you still have available tickets to sell. Our data tells us that more than 26% of attendees bought tickets the week of the event in 2020. At your event, post a sign with a QR code that takes attendees to your ticket purchase path, enabling them to buy tickets on their own phones to keep your event touchless and safe.
4. Keep Your Supporters Informed
As you’ve learned from 2020, silence can become dangerous. Being 100% transparent with your supporters about the changes you’re making to your event and around the organization itself is your key to building more trust with them. And with such transparency comes more trust and stronger relationships with your supporters — with even one-time donors becoming recurring supporters because of your honesty.
The best way to keep your supporters informed about your event changes is making those updates on your website. With GiveSignup | RunSignup, your nonprofit can create a free website for any of its fundraising campaigns and ticket events. The best part is that you don’t need to be a web design expert to create a professionally designed website. With a simple website builder that is equipped with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop tool, you can add custom content sections, like images, videos, playlists, call-to-action buttons, and so much more.
Plus, on every GiveSignup | RunSignup website, you have a cover page that places the most important information about your event (when and where, what’s included, and whether it’s in-person or virtual) front and center, which means that people don’t have to go searching through multiple web pages for updates about your event.
5. Don’t Forget About Post-Event Engagement
Remember to include a post-event engagement strategy into your overall contingency plan for when your event concludes. This is a very important step, as you want to convert your event attendees into long-term supporters. We recommend outlining a stewardship strategy that includes follow-up communications for the event — continuously thank attendees for their participation, fundraisers for raising much-needed money, and donors for their generous gifts.
Through your stewardship efforts, you will not only retain valuable supporters along the way, but your organization will still be top of mind for your next event. Because you’ll have a genuine, ongoing relationship with these supporters, they will be more than willing to participate in your next fundraising event and hopefully take on a bigger role.
Click here to learn more about GiveSignup | RunSignup and how we can help level up your fundraising events, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid.