School’s and charities have been challenged in 2020 to maintain their connections with donors and their revenues as social distancing measures have driven cancelations of in-person events.

Well designed and managed charity events can be very effective for fund raising.  Research has show that most people attending a fund-raising event rated their satisfaction at 6 out of 7, according to research by Penelope Burke, Author of “Donor-Centered Fundraising and Donor-Centered Leadership”. Her findings also found that a third of attendees make unsolicited donations during such events and another 35% attribute gifts to attending a fund-raising event. So traditionally fund-raising events can be a very effective engagement tool for schools with their alumni and for charities with their benefactors.

Virtual events are still a very new concept and there is not a lot of experience in utilizing them for community engagement when in-person events are preferred. Acadiate has been supporting many different types of virtual events with academic partners, so we have some unique insights from different types of virtual events focused on poster sessions, symposiums, faculty development, student mentorship, open houses, student recruiting, professional conferences with exhibitor halls and networking zones etc. They all have different core objectives and need to be designed for different audiences, but good virtual event platforms should be versatile enough to accommodate the special needs of each event type. But where virtual events excel over in-person events is their versatility to include geographically remote groups or traditional different functions together to create synergies and benefits that in-person events cannot deliver.

For this reason we are finding event organizers who have experienced a virtual event start to understand how they can leverage virtual event capabilities and even marry them in the future with in-person events to expand inclusivity and remote segments of their community.  It is this potential that offers fund raising event organizers the ability to actually achieve greater ROI’s with virtual events. Some virtual events we are seeing are generating upwards of 5X greater participation because of greater access, elimination of travel costs, more flexible timing and lack of competition.

With Acadiate organizers have the flexibility to design any number of user experiences and community building opportunities that deliver positive outcomes for participants. For professional conferences we offer such a strong user experience that we are not seeing any price discounting on virtual events from in-person. We believe a thoughtful and meaningful event design can mimic many of the benefits of in-person events.

The video webinar below walks you through example demos of different venues and attractions that can be created for a fund-raising event that drives participation and collegiality that drives donations. We hope it offers some nuggets that inspire your next virtual fund-raising event.

Link to webinar.