It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 changed education. Many schools aren’t meeting in person, and some school districts haven’t seen in-person learning since last spring. The early stages of the pandemic took place during the typical mid-year fundraising push that many schools experience, but they need to raise money doesn’t go away just because parents and families are skittish about gathering in large groups.
You don’t have to let pandemic protocols prevent you from hosting fundraisers — instead, consider hosting a hybrid fundraiser. You can combine in-person events for those who want to show up in person with online events that are compelling and effective. Here are some tips for creating a successful hybrid fundraiser that can help raise money for your school.
Make Your Hybrid Events Exciting and Fun
Your fundraising events can be fun and memorable for both in-person and online attendees. You don’t have to please one audience at the expense of another. Some examples of exciting hybrid events include a virtual fun-run where participants measure their progress on fitness trackers no matter where they are, a silent auction with items available both in-person and online, or a talent night that you can turn into a competition where a donation serves as a vote for the winner.
For the in-person component of your event, safety is paramount. Make sure you have plenty of tables and chairs for physical attendees, especially where you must allow for social distancing. Have large registration areas, along with a health and safety space for temperature scanning and any other health measures you need. For outdoor events like golf tournaments, make sure you have outdoor seating that feels comfortable and looks stylish. Make sure any set for a webcast or social media event looks interesting and compelling. Find the right decor elements that create an exciting set-piece.
Consider Smaller In-Person Events
Big events were ideal when people could gather in larger numbers, but smaller events can have an equally powerful impact in a post-pandemic environment. Host events with limited numbers in smaller locations. One of the biggest advantages of smaller events is that they allow for more conversation. Dinners and coffee or snack gatherings can give you opportunities to speak to targeted audiences both in-person and online.
Be sure to have compelling speakers or hosts at each location to make a giving pitch. You’ll need tables, chairs, and other seating in those locations, so you should be prepared for the socially distanced seating you’ll need. Add a Zoom or webcasting component to make your event hybrid and include those who can’t or don’t want to attend in person — you can offer online attendees opportunities to speak up or ask questions as well.
Combine Single Events with Ongoing Fundraisers
You don’t have to limit your fundraising opportunities to single events or short timeframes on the school calendar. Use your school site or social media accounts to create a 24/7 fundraiser with an ongoing presence. Technology makes it easy to create ongoing fundraising opportunities. You can offer a product or service like a more traditional fundraiser or simply develop convenient ways for people in your community to donate.
Create opportunities for one-time donors to become regular supporters by setting up “crowdfunding” drives or subscription options for recurring giving. A key element of ensuring success is making your online fundraising opportunities easy for people in the community and beyond to discover. Find a domain name that’s catchy or easy to remember and use it as your fundraising landing page.
Make Online Giving as Easy as — or Easier Than — Giving in Person
Prospective donors to your school are more likely to give online if it’s easy to do so. Having a simple and quick process for online giving will also make donors more likely to give through your site or app anytime as opposed to giving one time at a single event. Be sure to minimize clicks — donors don’t want to have to jump through too many hoops to give, and they’ll become discouraged if giving takes too many steps.
Consider options that allow donors to give via text because givers like having multiple options. If you give donors the option to cover online giving fees, many of them will do so, saving you even more money. Allow options for recurring gifts for those who want to donate to your school on an ongoing basis.
Pitch Your Fundraising Appeals at Online Micro-Events
Another way to create a buzz for your fundraising efforts is by hosting small online events. You can make fundraising appeals via webcasts, Zoom events, or live broadcasts on social media. Combine live speakers with compelling video elements that make the case for community members to support your school. Team up with corporate partners for gift-matching opportunities or online door prizes like electronic gift cards.
Nothing is worse than an online event that’s glitchy or impossible to watch, so make sure your technology is robust for all online events. Have redundancy or backup Internet options to ensure failsafe technology Have an expertly designed and decorated set to make your event look good on screen as well. If your set design is as compelling as your message, people will donate.
When you’re ready to pull off a successful hybrid school fundraising event, chances are you’ll need tables and chairs for the in-person components. You’ll also want a memorable set design for your online viewers. Your one-stop source for all your furniture and decor needs is CORT Events.
Think of CORT Events as a subscription service for the furnishing you’ll need for any event. From seating for groups large and small to decor, you can count on CORT to have what you need to be successful. The best part: When your event is over, you don’t have to hold on to it. Delivery and assembly are a breeze because CORT handles it all, and we ensure that your items are clean and sanitary.
CORT Events is ready to assist you with stylish set design and everything else you may need to make your hybrid fundraiser one to remember, give us a call or check out our website.