Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.” – Charles Dickens 

Virtual events are becoming more prevalent as corporations and government organizations look to save money while improving the efficiency of their major meetings – but are virtual events good for non-profit organizations as well? Is it possible for non-profit organizations to raise significant amounts of money by holding virtual events?  

Non-profits are starting to see the usefulness of virtual events and beginning to experiment with them as a way to raise money and connect with their key audiences. There are several reasons why virtual events might be an ideal choice for your non-profit organization:  

  • Save money while you make money: For non-profit organizations, hosting fundraising events is often a major expense with a questionable or limited payoff. When you add up the costs of renting a venue, catering a meal and all the other expenses that go into hosting an annual fundraising dinner, awards gala or other “in-person” fundraising event, it can amount to hundreds of dollars per attendee. Instead of shelling out tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on a venue, travel, accommodation and related costs (not to mention the staff time dedicated to hosting the event), non-profit organizations can often save money by investing in a virtual event platform like the ones offered by Social27. A virtual event is not a small investment, but much of this investment is a one-time expense that can be amortized over multiple virtual events – unlike renting a venue and catering a dinner, where the expenses have to be paid again and again with each new event.   
  • Increase participation: One of the biggest advantages of virtual events is that they extend the reach of your organization. Instead of being limited to the 5% of your audience who have the time, disposable income and ability to make the trip to your in-person event, you can reach the other 95% of your audience who might prefer to access the event content from home, or while on the go from a mobile device 
  • Synchronous vs. Asynchronous content: With a traditional “in-person” fundraising event, you have to be there to see it. Once the event ends, it’s over – if you’re not in the conference room hearing the speech or seeing the video, you’ve missed it. With virtual events, you don’t have to be limited by time and space. You can save your entire fundraising presentation and give it a permanent home online. You can make it possible for event attendees to pick and choose with presentations they want to see – or let them see download and watch videos at the time of their choice.  
  • Engage the emotions to tell a powerful story: Virtual events don’t have to be dry, “technical” and boring – far from it. With a virtual event platform, you’ll get powerful tools to engage your audience’s emotions. You can show live video (or asynchronous pre-recorded video) demonstrating the work of your organization and showing real stories from the people you help. You can use instant polling tools like the Mood-o-Meter to gauge your audience’s reaction to every stage of your presentation. The best virtual events are immersive, interactive and highly emotional experiences that leave a lasting impression on your audience.    
  • Be Green (and make some green): If you’re a non-profit organization that works on issues related to environmental protection and sustainability, it might interest you to know about the environmental benefits of virtual events. Virtual events help avoid the environmental impact of business travel, air travel, hotel accommodations and even the environmental impact of printing brochures and handouts on paper. And if your organization is trying to send a message about protecting the environment, hosting a virtual event is a powerful way to do it. It shows your donors that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is.  
  • Enlist support for your cause: Virtual events are ideal for cause marketing because they encourage collaboration and dialogue (by soliciting feedback, using instant polling and generating ideas from the audience), because they are so easy to integrate with social media, and because they are well-suited to taking on a “life of their own” that goes beyond the date of the event. Just like the TED Conference became a worldwide phenomenon by making it easy to save and share videos of riveting discussions by innovators and thought leaders, perhaps your non-profit’s next virtual event can become a new hub of activity for activists, donors and stakeholders who care deeply about your cause.  

Join the conversation. Agree with me? Good. Disagree? Even Better! Tell me why… 

What are some examples you’ve seen of successful non-profit virtual events? What are the best ways to “make the ask” in a virtual event environment?  

Host your own virtual event: 

Interested in hosting your own virtual event? Social27 has been enabling organizations across all industries and sizes to host their own engaging virtual events since 2010. 

The Social27 Virtual Events platform brings the best of content streaming, networking with rich profiles, virtual sponsor pavilions, lead generation, gamification with points and badges, AI chatbot support and deep analytics powered by machine learning.