5 Tips For Success With Your Virtual Gala
Once again the charity sector is finding ways to keep doing their vitally important work in these difficult times. Virtual Galas are quickly becoming a popular and successful way to stay engaged with donors and fundraise at the same time.
Many of our clients have generated some superb results in funds raised through their Virtual Gala, in a time when raising money is certainly not the easiest.
We’ve now supported a number of Virtual Galas and have more than 50 planned in the Autumn / Fall season. Below are some key learnings and best practices that will lead to success and ultimately maximise your fundraising on the night.
1 – Keep it Simple
In the six months since Covid hit, virtual events have evolved at a remarkable pace and now, half a year on, we’re able to build a reliable picture as to what works, what sometimes works, and what downright doesn’t! Here are the key learnings we’ve gleaned so far:
Keep it simple. We always recommend clients keep their messaging clear and concise. In this new, virtual world, it’s become all-the-more important, and is the key to fundraising success.
Keep it brief. The reality is that you have about 45 minutes before your audience will begin to switch off. Our advice is to keep your run of show short, sharp and concise. That way, you’ll retain your audience’s attention and they’ll leave feeling engaged and entertained.
Pre-record. This is another simple one. The best and most professional-feeling virtual events have been 95% pre-recorded. Speeches, entertainment, interviews; you name it, it’s pre-recorded. The last 5% is your live host, or auctioneer and this is crucial, as it makes the whole event feel live. In pre-recording you remove the risk associated with live broadcasting, be it Internet connections, webcams, lighting, or anything else.
2 – Make sure you ASK
99% percent of the events we support have one primary objective – fundraising. So we’re always a little surprised if the first mention of fundraising doesn’t come until two-thirds of the way through. Instead, consider laying your stall out at the very start in a way that is tactful and polite, but direct in its ultimate goal.
3 – Get Participants
Virtual Galas are an amazing opportunity to engage with a wider audience than you might have done at your physical event. With fewer barriers to entry, such as ticket price and location, your guest demographic is much broader and this provides its own unique opportunities.
You will need to provide a run-of-show that engages with everyone attending and offer fundraising opportunities, and levels, for everyone to get involved. A larger audience should equal more fundraising opportunities!
4 – A Production Specialist
There’s one aspect of virtual events which strikes fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned event professionals: LIVE STREAMING. Even with just one live host, it’s a technical area which can seem daunting.
Our advice here is simple: get yourself an AV professional to manage this for you – either in-house, through Givergy, or via a production company. You’ll guarantee yourself a smooth, slick and stress-free event!
5 – Get The Money In The Bank!
Pre-Authorisation means that no bids, donations or purchases are accepted until valid credit details have been provided. This way, not only do you weed out the timewasters, but you also get the funds returned to your nominated bank account far more swiftly when your campaign closes. There’s no chasing, no phone calls, no defaulting; it’s all done for you.
As mentioned, the Virtual Galas we’ve supported with the best results have incorporated some or all of the above, so I hope it’s helpful information in your own virtual gala planning, or if you’re on the fence of hosting one at all.
For more information on our services just get in touch.
John Roberts – Director of Business Development & Auctioneer (Givergy)