At Help Hope Live, we are dedicated to ensuring that you can still achieve fundraising success no matter what comes your way. Whether you are dealing with quarantine guidelines, social distancing requirements, or a medical issue that always makes it difficult or impossible to meet up with others in person, you can plan a virtual fundraiser that unites your community of support.
Virtual Fundraising 101
First of all, take a deep breath, then let it out. Every business and family is facing significant disruptions right now, so give yourself a break and take your time as you plan your next steps for fundraising. By reading this post, you are doing everything right, and you are not alone—we’re right here with you.
It’s okay to change your plans, reschedule a fundraiser, or start planning a virtual event from the ground up. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate stress and medical concerns along with these changes to your fundraising strategy.
Don’t have a Help Hope Live fundraising campaign yet? You can reach out for assistance by getting started here.
There’s also some good news about virtual fundraisers: these events offers a few unique benefits that can make them even more effective than in-person gatherings, including:
- Giving people the chance to participate no matter where they are in the country.
- Lower cost to participate and no travel required, which means people are even more likely to attend and donate.
How We Can Help
We are dedicated to remaining your partners in community-based fundraising. That’s why our team is working diligently from home to bring you the fundraising support you need and expect.
Here are just a few of the fundraising features your Client Services Coordinator will continue to offer you:
- One-on-one fundraising guidance via phone and email
- Customized virtual fundraising materials such as flyers and community appeal letters
- Support for transitioning from an in-person event to a virtual fundraiser, including how to use our online event registration pages and online auction tools to ease the transition (more tips on this below)
- Advice for optimizing your Campaign Page and sharing Updates
- Speaking directly with authorized team members (members of your community) who want to help you fundraise
- Social media and press outreach
Your Coordinator is your fundraising partner for the lifetime of your campaign, and social distancing won’t stop us from providing compassionate and insightful fundraising support at every step of your journey.
Assembling Your Team
One of your first priorities should be to consider who in your network may be willing to become a team member to help with your fundraising efforts. More than 150 million Americans are currently being asked to stay home—and this statistic can work in your favor for fundraising.
Many adults and young adults are either working from home or unable to work right now. Navigating significant lifestyle changes and the constraints of social distancing, many of us are looking for meaningful ways to connect, support our communities, and make a difference.
You can empower the stuck-at-home individuals in your community to use their time for an amazing purpose: helping you with critical fundraising efforts so that you can meet your medical needs.
It’s time to assemble your virtual fundraising team! Ask your Coordinator if you need help figuring out how to ask a potential volunteer to get involved with fundraising. Keep in mind that we can also work directly with the team members you’ve authorized to help.
Putting a dedicated and motivated team in place means less work for you and more time to focus on your immediate health and family demands.
How to Virtually Volunteer
Everyone is too busy worrying about their health and community needs to volunteer at the moment, right? Actually, there’s good news: research shows that volunteers want to help others right now, particularly if they can volunteer to help vulnerable populations (such as individuals living with immunosuppression).
44% of volunteers are willing to help virtually or online. With no commute or in-person meeting requirements, virtual volunteering can be an ideal way to get involved with no financial requirement or travel.
So, how can a volunteer get involved with your fundraising campaign virtually? There are countless ideas out there, but for starters, a campaign volunteer could:
- Communicate updates about your fundraising journey and medical need on social media for you
- Start a Blog to document your journey in-depth
- Help you launch a video diary
- Help with video editing if you are already making videos
- Write articles for websites such as Medium and LinkedIn explaining how your story fits into the COVID-19 narrative
- Recruit other volunteers with time or talent to give
- Respond to email inquiries for you
- Create digital thank-you cards for supporters
- Start a Facebook Fundraiser for Help Hope Live in your honor and teach others how to do the same
- Design a website homepage to complement your Help Hope Live Campaign Page
- Help you reach out to local or national media (our team can provide a customized press release and other support)
- Interview you for their own Blog or social media
- Help to expand your social media reach and community
- Assist with other kinds of promotion and marketing
- Reach out to local businesses that may want to donate or get involved in your campaign
- Plan or host a virtual fundraiser (ideas below)
- And much more!
Keep in mind that if you make a volunteer one of your official team members, you can manage their permissions and access through your Dashboard. Depending on the permissions you assign, team members can help you virtually by:
- Communicating directly with your Client Services Coordinator via email and phone about virtual fundraising plans and more
- Posting Updates on your Campaign Page for you
- Updating your campaign picture and photo Albums
- Adding virtual fundraising events to your Campaign Page
- Submitting Fund Request Forms on your behalf
- Managing contact information, particularly in light of an unexpected change of address or temporary address
- Communicating any questions that arise to Help Hope Live on your behalf
- Downloading lists of supporters for thank-you purposes
- Reviewing and sharing Guestbook messages with you
- And more!
If you would like to learn how to lift your stress and administrative burden by authorizing a team member to help you with these and other fundraising tasks, contact your Coordinator and ask about your team member options.
If You Have a Fundraiser to Reschedule…
If you have an in-person event planned already, you may need to reschedule it or host a virtual fundraiser in its place. Here are a few tips:
- Talk to us first. Your Coordinator is here to help you make a smooth transition—get in touch so we can guide you through the process of rescheduling or making an event virtual.
- Communicate on social. Your community understands that health and safety always come first. Just make sure you let them know as soon as possible that you need to reschedule, postpone, or replace an upcoming event with a virtual fundraiser. Share your plan on your Help Hope Live Campaign Page and via social media, especially if you are maintaining a Facebook Event page. Don’t forget to contact your supporters who may not be connected to you on social by email or phone.
- Update your event registration page. If you have an event registration page at helphopelive.org , make sure you update the page to reflect news details in light of COVID-19. If the event has been cancelled or made virtual, you may want to alter the date and location on the event registration page as well. If you have a flyer that needs to be updated, ask your Coordinator for assistance.
- Communicate with event registrants. You can view a list of event registrants by visiting your Campaign Page in Edit mode—select Manage Events and then View Registrants. Contact all registrants who have provided contact information in case they are unaware of the changes you have planned.
Here’s how they did it:
Take notes from the Curl-A-Thon if you need to postpone or cancel an event: communicate openly and maintain virtual event features if you can (such as an online auction). Ask your Coordinator how our resources can help you to seamlessly move your live and silent auctions online.
Example: Making a Fundraiser Virtual
Christine Morris realized that her Vendor Market fundraiser, scheduled for early April, would no longer work as an in-person event. To avoid disappointing vendors and guests, she transformed the fundraiser into an innovative Virtual Vendor Market with our help.
Christine will hold the virtual event via a Facebook Group to help vendors easily communicate as guests browse and buy, supporting Help Hope Live in Christine’s honor. The event is not just a way to raise funds but also an opportunity to bring the community together for a fun and social virtual get-together.
Example: Supporting Local Businesses
Sofia Carpenter found a special way to continue supporting a favorite local business despite COVID-19 challenges.
She planned a percentage-of-sales pizza fundraiser, but when COVID-19 began to restrict in-person dining, she worked directly with the business to convert the event entirely to carry-out and delivery. The fundraiser flyer highlights a creative and caring way to participate in light of social distancing: ordering pizza for yourself as well as a friend, neighbor, or staff!
If you need instructions or advice on turning a fundraiser into a virtual equivalent, reach out to your Coordinator. Your Coordinator can also help you to coordinate materials such as flyers, press outreach, and more.
If You Want to Plan a New Fundraiser…
Community support is stronger than COVID-19 and social distancing. Now is the perfect time to find smart and safe ways to virtually gather your community for a good cause. Here are some ideas:
- Start a Facebook Fundraiser
- Use the Netflix Google Chrome extension to plan a donate-and-tune-in Virtual Movie Night or TV series Binge-a-Thon (we can provide instructions on how to incorporate donations!)
- Ask friends to contact their employers about matching gifts
- Create a weekly or bi-weekly email blast to share updates and ask for support
- If you have items remaining from a past event, hold a Virtual Auction (ask us for help)
- Hold a Virtual Photo Contest with a special prize and a suggested donation-based entry fee
- Plan a fancy-dress Virtual Gala or Costume Party—tuxes and ballgowns, pirates, all-white, or something completely different—donate to attend.
- Invite the gamers in your life to stream through Help Hope Live Gaming
- Ask friends to support local businesses and your Help Hope Live campaign by buying gift cards and donating them for use as auction or raffle items in future fundraisers
- Plan a Virtual Family Fun Night with games, challenges, and surprises (suggested donation to participate)
- Hold a Virtual Paint-and-Sip Night (think Painting with a Twist—with a twist! Donate to download a template or sample picture)
- Virtual Coloring Contest for kids (everyone wins! Donate to get the coloring pages emailed to you)
- Plan a Virtual Birthday Party for one friend or multiple, or their kids, with a corresponding Facebook Fundraiser to accept donations in lieu of gifts
- Plan a TED Talk-style Expert Virtual Chat (donate and tune in)
- Hold a Virtual Talent Show or Open Mic Night (for adults, kids, or both!) with a suggested donation for audience members and participants
- Plan a Virtual Cooking Class (how about a Chopped-style limited ingredient challenge?) or a Virtual Baking and Decorating Party (suggested donation to join the fun)
- Ask friends with special skills or secret talents to donate hour-long Virtual Training Sessions, Webinars, or Consultations on any topic (French for beginners? How to juggle for kids? Stay-at-home Pilates? TikTok for Dummies? House cleaning hacks?) in exchange for a donation from each participant
- Host a Virtual Tea Party or Virtual Coffee Date (donate the cost of a week’s worth of coffees or teas in town, or buy a local coffee shop gift card to donate)
- Plan a Virtual Bingo Night
- Hold a Virtual Happy Hour or Wine Tasting (suggested donation to participate)
- Plan a Virtual Exercise-a-thon, whether it’s a Treadmill Walk-a-Thon, Pelaton-a-Thon, CrossFit-a-thon, HIIT-a-thon, Yoga-thon, Step Counting Marathon, or something completely different) and ask participants to collect pledges per mile walked or run, per yoga pose, per crunch or sit-up, etc.
- Host a Kids-Only (or Adults-Welcome) Virtual Dance Marathon with a virtual live DJ or Spotify playlist—add tracks to the playlist in exchange for a donation!
- Plan a silly Virtual Field Trip for the kids—virtually explore each other’s houses or backyards in exchange for a suggested donation
- Host a Virtual Dress-Down Day at a workplace that is operating remotely, encouraging co-workers to stay in their pajamas for the entire workday in exchange for a donation (and see if the employer will match donations, too)
- Plan a Virtual Block Party to get all your neighbors together for a video hangout (donate to join in)
- Hold a Virtual Gaming Tournament (featuring anything from Call of Duty to Words with Friends) with a suggested donation to join the fun
- Hold a Virtual Pet Party with games and challenges for pets, funny pet videos for humans to watch, a pet photo contest, and more with a suggested donation to participate
- Turn an existing virtual event, such as a free concert or webinar, into a fundraiser by holding a pre-event social and a post-event wrap-up—ask for optional donations from viewers to enjoy the pre- and post-event festivities
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg—keep checking back as we update this post with even more!
How to Promote Your Virtual Fundraiser
There are a LOT of ways to share and promote your virtual fundraiser. Here are a few simple virtual fundraiser promotion and sharing tips from our team:
- Reach out to your top supporters personally. Do you have a small crew of friends or family members who are always cheering for you? Make sure these individuals get a personalized invitation to participate in your virtual fundraiser, whether via text, call, DM, or email.
- Use social media consistently. If you can, vary your content between text, videos, and photos, and between regular posts and Stories. Don’t be afraid to post to multiple platforms, either!
- In all your communications, focus on hope, good news, and positivity. Even if you or your community are being negatively affected by COVID-19, now is the time to bring people together in hope. Make your fundraiser a shining light in the darkness. Share plenty of positivity as you promote your fundraiser, and continue that attitude of gratitude during and after the event, too.
- Along the same lines, celebrate successes as they occur. People LOVE to be thanked personally and publicly. They also love to be part of things that already have momentum behind them. So as your fundraiser unfolds, any time you see a chance to celebrate a milestone or impact, do it!
- Consider using live video for part or all of the fundraiser (if it will be a fun experience for folks to watch live). Ahead of time, ask any in-person participants whether they are willing to be featured live on camera, and be respectful if they’re not interested. You may want to practice mentioning the cause behind your event so that you can do so every few minutes during your live broadcast.
- Be specific about the impact. Both before and during your fundraiser, make sure that you take the time to illustrate exactly why you’re fundraising and how community support will help (check out our additional communication tips in the next section). You can give specific examples of how donations have impacted your life in the past, or you can share your dreams of a brighter and easier future that you can unlock with help from community support. Bring this story to life with photos and video!
- A simple tip that goes a long way: do your best to collect email addresses from participants. After the event, you can email everyone who participated to share your gratitude, and you can also use the email list to share regular email blasts with updates about the fundraising campaign and supporters’ impact. If you are using a Help Hope Live event registration page, registrants will automatically get the chance to share their email addresses as they register. Never email someone who didn’t give their email address to you personally, and always respect someone’s decision to ask you to remove their information from your email list.
How to Communicate About Your Needs
You may be wondering how to talk about your medical and financial needs during these uncertain times. Do people really want to hear another “ask” for support while they are being bombarded by stories of critical needs and struggles?
The answer is yes! Your community still wants to hear from you and support you. Now is a great time to work with us on a special message for your community about fundraising and more.
Ideas for what to include in your next social post:
- How the situation is affecting you medically (if anything has changed)
- How the situation is affecting you socially and emotionally
- Where you are finding hope and positivity (everyone could use a little hope right now)
- Why community support is so important to you right now
- Why you still need to fundraise (be as specific as possible)
- How supporters can make a virtual donation (you may also want to share our information about eCheck donations)
- How else supporters can help you, such as by planning a virtual event from our list
We believe that you are already an expert on many of the challenges that others in your community are facing right now, from managing stress to social distancing. Use that expertise to bring hope and advice to others, drawing them closer to your fundraising cause in the process.
A few examples from our community:
You may want to plan daily or weekly check-in posts that include your unique observations, encouragement, medical updates, and where you’re finding hope around you. Also consider incorporating fun suggestions for virtually getting your community together; sharing happy memories, videos or photos of you; and posting polls or questions (about fundraising or something completely different) to engage your followers.
Keep in mind that you can easily share a link to your Campaign Page along with a special message by using our Share My Page buttons:
Struggling to find the buttons? Tap the Close button if you are in Campaign Editor mode, then you’ll find them under the gold GIVE button (on most computers) or near the bottom of your page (on most phones).
Lifting the Burden
As you plan, reschedule, gather, fundraise, and communicate, keep in mind that Help Hope Live is here to lift some of the burden for you.
If you haven’t already, read through our COVID-19 plan and other COVID-19 content on our Blog for tips and resources—hit Subscribe to have fresh content and announcements delivered to your inbox every day.
Want to contribute to our community of support? We would love your help! Reach out to us if you would like to contribute virtual fundraising tips and ideas, share words of hope to encourage other clients and team members, or help us to spread the word that we are still a valuable fundraising resource for families who need it:Written by Emily Progin