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3 Types of Fundraising Events to Host This Holiday Season

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The busy holiday season is already weeks away, which means your year-end campaign should have all of its ducks in a row. Perhaps you already have a fundraising event included in your year-end campaign, or perhaps you have been considering if it’s a worthwhile idea to host one. 

Whether you want to host an in-person event, a virtual event, or a hybrid event, GiveSignup | RunSignup has the free yet modern tools you need to streamline your event process — event website, registration, ticket purchases (with the option to include a donate button), custom data reports, and even our Ticket CheckIn App on event day, which enables you to check attendees in and allow for same-day registration with a QR code. 

With the year-end season about to be in full swing, you don’t have any more time to wait. Read on to learn about the different types of fundraising events you can host this holiday season to get your organization on supporters’ maps and raise more than ever. 

1. Host a Virtual Event or Endurance Challenge

If you haven’t considered hosting a fundraising event to raise awareness and dollars for your year-end campaign, hosting a virtual event or challenge is a low-lift way to turn around an event rather quickly. 

GiveSignup | RunSignup makes putting together a virtual event a breeze. The best part is that it doesn’t take a web design expert to create an effective website that meets the needs of your fundraising ticket events and campaigns. With our simple website builder that is equipped with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop tool, you can create unlimited pages and menus with custom content sections, like images, videos, playlists, call-to-action buttons, and so much more. 

Virtual Events: A Simple Idea Can Go a Long Way

While planning a virtual event in a matter of weeks might sound like a daunting task, the reality is that your virtual event doesn’t have to be over the top. A simple virtual event that elevates your nonprofit’s mission and explains your organization’s immediate need is more than enough. But to ensure that your event is a booming success, you will need to create an event website that includes every piece of information that attendees will need to know: 

  • What is your organization’s mission?
  • What is the purpose of your event? 
  • What are the event details (when, where, format)? 
  • What is the call to action (register for the event, spread the word, fundraise, donate)?

For example, Orkeeswa, a nonprofit with a mission of cultivating decision-makers and creative problem solvers through accessible, community-based education, is hosting a virtual event on December 2 to give new and existing supporters an opportunity to meet its staff and learn more about its model of community-based education and leadership development, as well as information on several of its programs. 

The Orkeeswa Virtual Event 2021 website is simple and to-the-point: A supporter buys a $50 ticket, which supports the organization’s mission, to the virtual event to learn more about the organization and its initiatives. If the mission resonates enough with the supporter, they will donate additional dollars through the call-to-action on the ticket event website and encourage their friends and family to do the same. 

Virtual Endurance Challenges: Make It Even Easier on Your Team!

If your team is really strapped for time and resources, an even easier way to activate your supporters is by putting on a virtual endurance challenge. Get your supporters moving with a fitness challenge that encourages them to move 100 miles however they choose (run, walk, bike) to raise funds and awareness for your organization, while also burning off a few extra holiday calories. And remember, challenges can test more than our bodies — they can reveal the strength and fortitude of our hearts. For example, lean into the giving season and challenge supporters to complete one act of kindness every day for all 31 days in December. Simply sending a thank-you email to a recent donor or calling a survivor can check the day’s box for this unique challenge. 

With time and budget constraints, a virtual challenge is an incredibly low-effort way to elevate your year-end campaign and raise money at the same time. Not only do you have the ability to host a virtual challenge over an extended period of time (e.g., 30 days), anyone from around the world can participate in the challenge! 

GiveSignup | RunSignup lets you set up your own virtual challenge with ease this year-end. And if your budget is stretched thin this year-and, and you’re hesitant to invest in a new technology, the beauty of our technology is that it’s absolutely free — and you can create as many challenges as you want. Plus, with our technology, nonprofits can award customized milestones and badges to their most engaged supporters. 

When you award badges to your fundraisers for reaching milestones, GiveSignup | RunSignup now lets you display those unique badges in an achievements showcase on the fundraiser’s fundraising page within GiveSignup’s fundraising campaigns. An extra level of personalization: Before badges are earned, fundraisers can view upcoming badges that they can achieve — giving them an extra incentive to hit those milestones. 

In addition to giving participants badges for each milestone achieved, nonprofits can even award them milestone certificates. For fundraisers, we offer nonprofits the ability to celebrate milestones with confetti notifications every time a participant hits a fundraising milestone.

2. Elevate the Attendee Experience With a Hybrid Event

With the pandemic supercharging the need for virtual experiences, it’s now a standard to include some kind of virtual component to your in-person fundraising event. This combination of virtual and in-person elements in fundraising events is also known as hybrid events. Through hybrid events, nonprofit organizations have the opportunity to connect with their constituents by giving them better event experiences and connecting with more of them. 

Having a virtual component to your event means that you’re not limited to your local community, but you are able to reach people from all over the world. That means you’re meeting more people and connecting with them the way they want. Adding virtual elements to your in-person fundraising could be: 

  • Adding a virtual challenge. People love challenges! It makes them feel good about themselves when they complete a challenge — especially if it’s for a good cause. If you’re hosting a 5K, challenge those who can’t be there with you to run a 5K in their own neighborhood or nearby park. Or, create a training challenge that participants complete on their own prior to event day. Don’t forget to encourage fundraising and donating, too! 
  • Livestreaming the event. When setting up tickets for your in-person fundraising event, be more inclusive to all of your supporters by getting creative with ticket options. Add an option to watch the livestream of the event at a discounted ticket price. If they are a loyal supporter to your organization, they’ll tune in and buy the ticket as a way to support your mission. 

3. Showcase Your Gratitude With a Supporter Appreciation Event

The impact that your organization makes on its community is made possible because of the people who support you by spreading the word about your mission, fundraising for your organization, donating to your cause, and volunteering their time. So why not host a small, intimate supporter appreciation event this holiday season? 

A fun, interactive event is a great way to show your supporters how much you appreciate their love and support throughout the year. Plus, with such an intimate experience with your organization, supporters will feel validated in their decision to support your organization, feel more connected to you, and continue to show their support in the future. A few ideas of supporter appreciation events that you can host in your local community: a gala, a luncheon, a cocktail hour, a food tasting, or a virtual class. 

As you’re planning your supporter appreciation event, it’s important to not charge attendees for tickets. This should be an invite-only event to your most loyal supporters, which adds a level of exclusivity to the event to excite your supporters even more. During the event itself, remember to show your appreciation by making the event about your supporters and how much impact your organization has made with their contributions. And of course, it’s another opportunity for you to raise money this holiday season with a soft ask during the event. 

Don’t Forget About Post-Event Follow-Up!

To ensure that your organization stays top of mind to your supporters, don’t forget to follow up with them after the event. While hosting a fundraising event to increase repertoire with your supporters can be effective, it’s almost equally important to send them a letter of acknowledgement. 

Once the event concludes, be ready to send them a thank-you email immediately after the event — showing your appreciation for their involvement in your year-end campaign and to reinstate the important role they play in your organization. This should kickstart your email communications with supporters from after the event and throughout the next year. 

GiveSignup | RunSignup gives you access to our next-generation email marketing tool that you can use to send from your ticket events, donation forms, and donation websites. With a free email tool that you can use to send unlimited emails to unlimited custom lists of supporters, plus the ability to schedule emails to send at a later date, it’s now easier than ever to organize and streamline communications with your supporters. 

At minimum, your organization should be sending monthly emails to its supporters. Remember that while asking for money is important for your mission, your supporters will appreciate diversity in your communications — donation appeals, impact reports about your organization’s work on the field, individual stories about the people or animals you serve, news about upcoming events and campaigns, important statistics about your mission, etc.

For your year-end fundraising campaign, GiveSignup | RunSignup’s purpose-built technology can help elevate your fundraising with a next-generation email marketing platform, along with access to free tools to build simple and easy-to-use donation forms, websites, and fundraising campaigns. Click here to learn more.

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