'Tis the season for event planning, but how do you plan an event when donors are sheltering in place? Crossroads Fund is a public foundation that supports nonprofits and groups in the Chicagoland area working on social, economic and racial justice.
The transformation of their popular annual "Seeds of Change" spring gala into a vibrant online celebration--complete with DJs and awards--offers a great example of how to pivot from a traditional offering to an online format that is still full of celebration (and still meets fundraising goals).
Here are our 5 top tips for moving events online.
#1: Cross-Promote the Event Across Platforms
Crossroads Fund decided to move their one-night event into a weeklong Zoom celebration with an online silent auction, live DJ sets, and dance party--and were successful in raising $135,000 (and counting).
âTheir online event captured the joy of their annual in-person event, which is both a fundraiser and a social gathering, bringing the feel of a venue-based party to a digital space.
The foundation took advantage of many social media platforms in their communication about the event, including Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, your Facebook and Instagram news feeds, and Facebook event pages.
#2: Elevate People Who Honor Your Mission
Facebook Live gave Crossroads Fund a way to celebrate award-winners in real time. Awardees help attendees get fired up to carry on the fight for social justice, and to open their wallet to support this important work.
Award-winners are often a key driver of connection for the event and can help motivate a decision to give.
#3: Create an Easy-to-Remember Landing Page URL & Use a Virtual Hashtag on Every Post
Crossroads Fund's easy-to-remember landing page URL was a key for driving action off of the social posts related to the gala. By driving all event-related activity to one landing page, they made it simpler for their audience to respond to their main call to action: Donate.
They also created a hashtag for their virtual event, #virtualseeds, which empowered all participants to spread the word. This type of tagging builds brand recognition and creates a ripple effect that can hook new viewers into learning more, or participating.
#4: Deploy Consistent Visual Branding Across Social Media Channels
Crossroads Fund did an excellent job keeping its eye-catching images consistent across the many social media channels it utilized for the event. Their decision to choose bold colors and use consistent fonts, images, and messaging that were clear helped donors quickly and easily identify their event and stay alert to new information.
#5: Tap Into Staff, Board, and Others to Create Compelling Appeals
One of the most compelling opportunities that social media presents us with is the opportunity to speak in a direct and personal way about the causes that are so important to us, and to make personal requests to give.
Crossroads Fund's staff, board, and host committee made compelling, direct appeals through pre-recorded video and participation in the nightly Zoom celebration. Their stories helped attendees feel more engaged and put familiar faces front and center.
What We're Reading
Not sure how to adapt or promote your spring fundraiser? We can provide remote consulting--and help you strategize how to work remotely with staff and volunteers.
Crossroads Fund is offering a Virtual Fundraising Grassroots Webinar, scheduled for May 5, 2020, where they'll share what they learned from their Seeds for Change event.
Here are some of our favorite resources you can peruse for ideas on moving your event online:
Learn more about our services on our website. Nonprofits and faith organizations can also sign up for a free 30-minutes consultation to get help with marketing, Zoom, SEO and more. Nonprofit organizations can sign up here. Faith organizations can sign up here.