Portland, OR. With stay-at-home orders in place in Oregon and Southwest Washington, and bans on large social gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many charitable organizations have had to move their spring benefits online. 

Tucker Maxon School faced one such situation. With less than two weeks to make a pivot from a traditional live benefit auction, Tucker Maxon held a live virtual gala on April 3rd. The event (pictured above) raised $176,000.

OES’s state-of-the-art design center was the site of its 34th annual auction, the first virtual event in the school’s history.

Swaim says virtual benefit like the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp online event raised $214,000, Community Action raised $205,000
Bridges Middle School raised approximately $120,000.
Below are some of Swain’s suggestions for going virtual:

When pivoting to a virtual event, you can utilize all of your in-person event elements (auction, videos, script) and arrange them into a much shorter event format and engage your key constituents in some immediate and valuable fundraising.

While you may not raise as much as with your in-person event, you will be able to capitalize on the moment and let donors continue to be heroes creating impact and funding your work. Canceling an event means no fundraising, but going virtual can help you continue to bring in funds.

In Going Virtual With Your Fundraising Event we offer some guidance when considering virtual events.

E-Appeal Communications + Fundraising

Your event’s special appeal holds the largest fundraising potential at your event. So, without an event, consider ways to build an even-more imperative case for your work with an e-appeal to your donors.

Watch the video here and get point-by-point instruction with illustrative examples, and start to create your own impactful e-appeal communications now.

Relationship Cultivation + Management

On a larger level, the truth is that this may become a climate where it becomes harder to fundraise. But something that is always good for fundraisers to spend time doing is cultivate donors.

Run a GoFundMe Campaign

If you have a specific need you’re funding, especially if it is in response to the outbreak, put together a contained GoFundMe Campaign on a fixed timeline to gather your community around a cause they can immediately impact.

Using Facebook to Fundraise for Your Nonprofit

For nonprofit organizations, Facebook goes a step beyond simple social distancing and provides easy-to-use tools to help you fundraise online. Facebook’s Charitable Giving Tools provide a simple way for you to raise money through Facebook—and 100% of the donations go directly to your work.

Convert Your Live + Silent Auctions into an Online Auction

You’ve already done all the procurement for your event, so use those items to fundraise now by converting your auctions into an online auction. Communicate often with donors to let them know where to find the auction and to create buzz around some of the packages. But, most importantly, build the case that their purchase of auction items will fund your important work at this very crucial time. Use countdowns to the auction closure in your communications to prompt action on deadline.

Greater Giving occasionally offers discounts to activate the mobile bidding platform to facilitate online auctions.

Resources from us: