The Unexpected Upside of Virtual Fundraising Experiences & What’s Next for the Non-Profit Event Sector
By Hailey Ingraham July 27, 2021
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In this Cadence Collective replay session, you’ll learn from two incredible women: Allison Geisinger, VP of Development & Events at Powered by Professionals - a fundraising and event management company that specializes in helping charities and non-profits, & Shanna Gumaer, COO at Project Morry - a non-profit that empowers young people from under-resourced communities in the tristate area to envision and establish a positive future.

Watch the whole session above, or read on for some of the highlights of The Non-Profit Perspective session:

How to Overcome Challenges of Virtual Fundraising Events

As the world shut down and non-profits were tasked with transitioning to virtual events, they felt like there were three major hurdles to overcome:

1 - Being sure that attendees would understand the virtual instructions to access the event

For their latest event, Project Morry knew their audience spanned a wide range of ages, so they were worried about the technology challenges they might face. Ensuring the virtual platform they chose was user-friendly was key, and Cadence was the best fit for them. Beyond that, they implemented assets like user-guides and ‘know before you go’ emails that got sent to their audience to ensure that everyone knew where to be and what to click to get connected.

2 - Ensuring that the audience would be engaged through a computer screen

Project Morry really enjoyed implementing a virtual photo booth at their latest event with Cadence partner, Brandmatic. Gumaer mentioned this also created great marketing content after the event.

3 - Successfully incorporating live & pre-recorded content that had live appeal

Gumaer wanted to ensure that their event wasn’t just a long, one-sided presentation. For this reason, the event leveraged a VIP reception in a breakout room to connect the executive directors, honorees, and attendees with one another. Gumaer also mentions how using breakouts for a “Digital Table” was very effective, as well. Like coming together at a dinner table at a live event, these digital tables were turned on before and after the event to encourage small group conversations.

This was actually one of the best features of the event, because people were able to see their friends. It was our 25th anniversary in 2020 as an organization, so we had alumni from all 25 years and guests from across the country and some international folks who were able attend and participate in the breakout rooms. It became kind of like mini reunions… and it helped make the experience very special.
Shanna Gumaer

Shanna Gumaer

Project Morry

The Pros of a Virtual Event

Geisinger and Gumaer reflect upon all the unexpected pros of having a virtual fundraising event.

Allowing guests to join from anywhere to support the cause

When you’re hosting a live event in a specific city, it really narrows your audience. When hosting a virtual event, attendees can join from anywhere in the world to support the cause. Project Morry found this to be true at their latest event.

Offering a lower ticket price can allow for more attendees

By cutting down on food, beverage, and venue costs, you can implement a lower ticket cost. This can widen your audience greatly.

Creating content that can be used afterwards for marketing

Organizers can repurpose replays or marketing materials from the event. The event can also last much longer than just the one day it would be if in-person. Organizers can even offer a post-event package. This way, attendees can take in the content on their own timeframe.

The cost savings were very significant. As a non-profit, that’s really important to us… Generally, for our event, we have a very high return/net on our revenue. Between 75-80% which is very good for a non-profit event. But virtually, we were able to do close to 90% which was amazing. It allowed us to really expand the groups of people we were able to include.
Shanna Gumaer

Shanna Gumaer

Project Morry

What’s Next for Fundraising Events

With all this said, there’s still a lot to consider when moving forward with events in the non-profit sector.

The hybrid concept

Incorporating both virtual & live formats is a great marriage of old and new. Like mentioned above, the virtual element really helps expand the audience which in the non-profit world is so valuable.

Building event momentum

Incorporating the virtual elements to in-person events can also be valuable. For example, setting up event page in days leading up to event can help build the hype and get people ready for what’s to come.

Continuing to reach an audience inside & outside venue walls

Offering more ticket and sponsorship options will create even more opportunities for these non-profits to raise money for their causes.

Watch the full video for more details about the non-profit perspective. You can learn more about these two great organizations here: Powered by Professionals & Project Morry.

Love the look of the session’s video? Explore what Cadence and its partners can do for your event’s branding and flow, and book a demo today!

Hailey Ingraham
Hailey Ingraham
Hailey is the Lead of Marketing Operations at Cadence. She is known for her creative copywriting and her bubbly, optimistic personality. Her dream event is a beach music festival with lots of dancing, and she'll never get tired of listening to anything by Harry Styles.
Hailey is the Lead of Marketing Operations at Cadence. She is known for her creative copywriting and her bubbly, optimistic personality. Her dream event is a beach music festival with lots of dancing, and she'll never get tired of listening to anything by Harry Styles.