Organizing a virtual fundraiser requires a lot of time, money, and resources. If the donors you acquire through these events don’t end up sticking around, it can almost feel like a waste of time. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Virtual fundraisers are an excellent way to attract and engage new donors. But there are a number of steps you have to take to retain these donors and develop a long-term relationship with them. If your donor retention strategy is well done, you’ll find that the investment you put into your fundraising is very much worth the reward.
Today, many organizations have shifted their event fundraising efforts and initiatives to online or hybrid channels. From annual galas to auction fundraisers, just about every type of virtual fundraising event can be held online. Consequently, it’s become easier for nonprofits to invite, attract and acquire more new donors since the fundraisers are now more accessible.
The ease and convenience that comes with fundraising or hosting events online isn’t all that nonprofits stand to benefit from digitization. They can also leverage digital donor retention strategies to encourage first-time donors to become volunteers, members or monthly, recurring donors.
With the right donor retention strategies, your virtual fundraisers will no longer be a one-and-done affair for first-time donors. Instead, it’ll be a pleasant introduction to all that your nonprofit has to offer.
This article discusses the steps that your nonprofit can take to steward and nurture the first-time donors, you acquired during a virtual fundraiser, and convert them to recurring donors who commit to your organization’s mission.
1. Promptly Say Thank You!
Thanking your donors is a vital step in nurturing long-lasting relationships and serves as an opportunity to show your appreciation for their support and even motivate them to give again.
80% of donors who only made a one-time donation expressed that they would have been more inclined to donate again had they received a thank you after their initial donation. Coupled with the cost of acquiring new donors far surpassing the initial value of a new donor by upwards of 50%, it can become a financial burden for organizations not to focus on stewardship and retention.
After your next virtual fundraising event, use your ‘Thank You’ email to follow up with admin details such as:
- a recording of the event
- a summary of fundraising results
- an invitation to support your mission long-term or attend your next event
This simple yet highly effective approach signals to your first-time donors that your organization is appreciative of their support, well-organized, and builds their trust in your mission.
Need some inspiration? Here are 7 Thank You Letter Templates to help get you started.
2. Create a Post-Event Community Page
Fundraising events often bring like-minded people together that share common interests and values. This is a great opportunity for them to connect and for you to create a community space to host them.
By creating a post-event page or group for your donors, you can keep them updated with information from the event, promote future events and speak to them on a more intimate level about the impact your organization is making in your community.
Other ideas to keep your organization front-of-mind is running exclusive promotional offers and creating interactive fundraising activities. These steps will help keep donors engaged and continue boosting your fundraising efforts.
3. Create a Post-Event Blog Post
Blogs are an excellent resource for attendees to recap your virtual fundraising event and have something to reference later on. This allows you to elaborate more on the details of your event, share standout moments, tips and takeaways from the teachings, and any other highlights you feel would be beneficial to your audience to take away from your event.
Your post-event blog post can also be an excellent place to add the video recording from your event. This way, registrants who missed the events can have a place to rewatch and review all resources from the event. Moreover, attendees can also go to the blog to rehash all their favorite moments and tips.
In your blog post, you can also share Call-to-Actions (CTAs) such as downloadable content, opt-in forms that readers can fill if they want to subscribe to your newsletter, become a volunteer or join an exclusive membership group.
4. Encourage Donors to Join Your Monthly Giving Program
Recurring donors are the backbone of your fundraising efforts as they provide sustainable month-to-month funding and contribute up to 40% more than one-time donors over a year. In addition, having first-time donors lapse can be extremely costly, considering stewarding first-time donors can cost up to 50% of the gift itself.
When it comes to the initial funds and resources it takes to host fundraising events, you must make a concerted effort to convert your first-time donors into recurring ones to create a sustainable and healthy revenue stream for your organization and avoid hemorrhaging funds into wasted efforts.
5. Show Love On Social Media
Another benefit of hosting virtual fundraising events is the content opportunities to help you build out your organization’s social media calendar. Tweets, tags, and mentions on the day give you plenty of user-generated content to publish and open the door to engaging with your newfound audience after your event!
Here are a few ways that you can show your donors you appreciate them through social media:
- Highlights from the event
- Share fundraiser results
- Donor spotlights
- Sponsorship shoutouts
- Reposts of event attendees’ content.
Pro Tip: To make it easier to track who’s engaging with your event on social media, create an event hashtag that’s used to promote the event and remind attendees to tag their posts using it.
Social media is essential to connecting with an audience in today’s digital era. As the name alludes, social channels are meant for socializing and allow you to participate in two-way engagement with your audience. Take full advantage of these channels to build relationships and connect at any time from anywhere - no longer are you pigeon-holed by location or time zone!
If virtual fundraising events are a new endeavor for your organization, don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different forms of communication to connect with your audience.
You can even get them to be a part of the process by asking them what they would like to see, how they would like the content delivered, and their goals for attending. Do this by sending out a donor survey before the event.
Your nonprofit’s event should be memorable for attendees and donors. So, be sure to get creative with your fundraising ideas, program details event schedule. You can consider gamifying the attendees’ experience by including polls, quizzes, or a Q&A session and sharing rewards during the event.
These events are the perfect opportunity to engage new and existing donors and steward them on a path to becoming lifelong supporters of your organization and its mission!
Your ability to communicate effectively will contribute immensely to your organization over time and lead to higher donor retention rates and higher donation averages.
Get Started With Keela’s Guide to Virtual Fundraisers
Planning is the foundation of any successful fundraising event, and Keela has created a guide to support you every step of the way. The guide outlines 10 key steps you need to organize your next virtual fundraising event. You can download the guide here. Get the guide here.
Taylor Palmer, Content Writer at Keela
Taylor has always believed that knowledge is power, and the pen (or, in this case, keyboard) is the sword. Philanthropy and human rights are at the core of her ethos. When she is not engaged in friendly debate, you can find Taylor training in the boxing ring, snowboarding on the mountains, or running on Vancouver's seawall.