Foster Forward is a nonprofit organization that supports foster children and the families that care for them. In years past, in-person fundraisers were the most effective way to generate the vital funding needed to continue day-to-day operations and help improve the lives of foster children. Without the option to host an in-person event, Foster Forward looked for some help to ensure their first virtual event fundraiser was a success.
For this particular challenge, Brightcove and Stagedge, one of our partner production agencies, teamed up to create a best-in-class experience and help raise as much money as possible.
Here’s how we did it: One 90-minute program produced by Stagedge, proudly streamed by Brightcove. The broadcast-quality, high-definition live stream was a success, raising nearly $1,000 for every minute of the show. But the best part? Additional fundraising outreach, supported by the on-demand event video, generated an additional $110,000 - exceeding giving expectations and securing $200,000 for Foster Forward.
If you’re planning a virtual gala or fundraiser, here are 10 Tips from Allison Vecchione, Account Executive at Stagedge, to ensure your event is just as successful.
KEEP IT CONCISE: Attention spans are much shorter in a virtual environment. Be sure to weave in the right narrative and content throughout the show and keep it concise so folks stay engaged.
ENLIST THE HELP OF AN EMCEE: Professional talent can add excitement and help move the show along with calls for giving. For Foster Forward, we brought in a local newscaster who was a familiar face and immediately connected with attendees.
CONSIDER A LIVE AUCTION: Consider an auction for people to bid on virtually, with an auctioneer to check-in throughout the show to replicate that sense of urgency at an in-person event.
PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT: Foster Forward was lucky to secure musical superstar Sia to perform and also speak at the event. Leverage your network to find someone who will keep your audience entertained, and make sure to include your talent in event promotions.
TRACK REAL-TIME DONATIONS: Consider displaying a giving thermometer or running a fundraising ticker along the bottom of the screen. We partnered with Greater Giving to track live event donations.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR DONORS: Keep the energy and participation up by displaying donors’ names or having your emcee give them a shout-out to acknowledge their generosity.
FIND NEW WAYS TO ENGAGE: Look for opportunities to create interactions through things like polling or by offering a chat function for people to connect with each other.
GET SAVVY WITH SOCIAL: Use social media to its full extent, from Facebook events to “show us your selfie” campaigns – get creative to generate some buzz.
PEPPER IN SOME PRE-RECORDED CONTENT: Don’t feel like the entire show needs to be live. Add in some pre-recorded video content to provide a brief break and help with the overall pace of the show.
UNLEASH YOUR VIDEO ASSETS: Share video before, during, and after the event, especially via email and social. Brightcove video-on-demand was essential for helping Foster Forward actually raise more funds after the live show.
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.
Nick Iuliano is Brightcove's Senior Director of Content, helping to tell our best brand, product, customer, and partner stories across global marketing channels.