Hybrid Fundraisers: The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits

Hybrid fundraising is an excellent way to get the best of both worlds. Typically, it involves a campaign with both online and in-person fundraising elements. If you're not sure how to make that work, we have the guide for you! Read on to learn more about this type of fundraising and how it can help you raise more for your next campaign.

7 minutes read
Hybrid Fundraisers: The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits

Corporations worldwide are struggling with employees demanding remote work by offering hybrid offices. A similar thing is going on in the nonprofit world. Hybrid fundraisers combine traditional in-person fundraising events with online campaigns and streaming events.

This article will show you why hybrid fundraisers are the future of fundraising and how you can create one of your own.

Why Hybrid Fundraisers are the Future of Fundraising

hybrid fundraiser

Hybrid fundraisers allow nonprofits to benefit from both in-person events and online campaigning. Thanks to this, many believe these events are the future of nonprofit fundraising. With hybrid fundraisers, nonprofits can engage a larger audience and offer numerous donation options to supporters. Any event can be turned into a hybrid fundraiser. All it takes is creativity, communication, and teamwork.

Thanks to the safety and convenience of online donation processors, more donors are donating online. Hybrid fundraisers using this technology allow in-person and online event attendees to give online before, during, and after.

Finally, hybrid fundraisers are an excellent option for supporters worldwide. Live-streaming and pre-recorded videos allow both in-person and online attendees to enjoy entertainment, games, and auctions during the event.

9 Steps to Running a Successful Hybrid Fundraiser

hybrid fundraising

Hybrid fundraisers have many benefits, but they can take more effort than a traditional in-person event. By following the steps listed below, nonprofits can create an event that reaches more people and raises more funds.

1. Ask why you want a hybrid event and what you’ll accomplish

Your organization must ask what you hope to accomplish from a hybrid event. Do you have supporters based in different locations? Has your event grown tired, and are you having difficulty encouraging attendance?

Before planning begins, here are a few more questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How long do you have before the event?
  • Do you have any experience streaming online?
  • What is the theme of your event?
  • Will you sell tickets?
  • How will you fundraise?
  • What entertainment and speakers will your event include?

2. Create a budget

Most hybrid events come from preexisting fundraisers. Past fundraisers can show how many people have attended an event in the past and how much the organization has raised. They also give you an idea of how much the in-person event cost. The addition of an online campaign will add costs to the event, and your nonprofit can plan for these costs by researching the online tools you’ll need.

There are several tools nonprofits can use for a hybrid event. Facebook Live and YouTube can be used to live-stream your event. If your nonprofit is holding a seminar, you can also use Zoom to invite and share with your supporters. Another tool nonprofits can use for a large gala is Airmeet.

3. Build a hybrid fundraising team

hybrid fundraising

Now that your nonprofit has a good idea of what you want to accomplish and your overall budget, you should build a team to help plan and run the event.

Here are a few areas where volunteers’ help can come in handy:

  • Experts for streaming and recording pre-recorded videos
  • Social media marketing
  • Creating sponsorships and finding sponsors
  • Collecting raffle prizes and auction items
  • Help running the online event
  • In-person event volunteers
  • Help with contacting donors after the event

4. Find ways to encourage online and offline involvement

One of the ways you can encourage involvement is with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Volunteers can create their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages and share event and campaign information with their friends and family online. They can keep their supporters updated with images, videos, etc., raise money, and sign people up to attend the event.

During your event, you will need to find ways to engage your audience. Live-streaming and pre-recorded videos will help with this. But for your offline event, it is best to have a separate day-of coordinator and emcee. These volunteers or paid professionals can keep your offline audience involved and run events created just for the attendees.

5. Create an online fundraising event page

When planning for your hybrid event, you should look at ways to simplify and move all your registration and ticket sales online.

One of the best parts of holding a hybrid event is the numerous ways people can give to your organization. A few options you can include are text-to-give and recurring donations. Make sure you have all giving options on your fundraising event page and identify how people can participate.

When choosing an online fundraising tool for your hybrid event, you’ll want to make sure they are mobile-friendly and include the following options:

The below online campaign is a great example of a hybrid event fundraising campaign. Depending on the donation amount, donors will receive free tickets to live events, full access to live as well as online events, and more. This online campaign helps encourage online as well as offline participation.

hybrid events examples

6. Market your hybrid fundraiser

Hybrid events are slightly more complicated, so explaining as many details as possible to your attendees is vital. One of the best ways to do this is with email and social media blasts. You can send one or two posts/mailers out each week explaining in detail how donors can participate in each activity.

For your in-person event, market all the safety guidelines you are taking with your event to ensure their safety, including face masks, social distancing, and cleaning procedures. Another way you can market your upcoming event is by highlighting sponsors that are supporting the event.

Pro tip: Offer additional perks to your sponsors. Increasing the online marketing you give them through your social media and email blasts will encourage more involvement from other companies.

7. Finally, time to execute your event

It is necessary to keep your whole team involved on the day of the event. Having a team member lead the online campaign will help it run smoothly. You will want to put two separate members in charge of each part of the event.

On the morning of the event, you should turn off all ticketing options. You must also turn on or continue collecting online donations. Put up a unique QR code at your event venue to help your attendees make a donation online. Donorbox gives you a free, unique QR code for each of your campaigns. Just download it and use it for your events, marketing, and emailers.

Pro tip: A good way to receive donations during the event is to promote text-to-give. Share your campaign ID, custom keyword, and texting number with your online as well as the offline audience. As soon as they send the text, they’ll receive a mobile-friendly donation page link to make the donation. With Donorbox’s repeat donation feature, they can easily repeat the same donation at any point in the future.

8. Thank and deepen donor engagement

All event donors must receive an acknowledgment right away. Your fundraising tool should take care of that. All cash and check donations should be acknowledged within 48 hours.

After the event, it is time to turn your event attendees into long-term supporters. The best way to do this is with follow-up thank you messages. On the night of the event or the following day, you should send an email blast to all event attendees. Have your event team or board members call all major donors, thanking them for their involvement.

In addition to donors, you should personally thank your ambassadors. You can do this during the event and publicly honor how their efforts made a difference.

9. Track data to gain insights

hybrid non profit

After the event, you want to evaluate and analyze how your hybrid event went. Your website and online donation processor should track where online attendees spent the most time. You can also use tracking tools from social media to see how people heard about your event and send out surveys to collect more feedback from event attendees.

5 Hybrid Fundraiser Best Practices to Make it Work

hybrid non profit

1. Communication is the key

Communicating with donors before, during, and after your event is vital for a hybrid fundraiser. Before the event, you will want to build momentum and explain how supporters can participate in all areas of your event. During your event, you can live-stream and send videos to engage participants. After your event, send a quick follow-up, get feedback, and find ways to encourage future involvement.

2. Diverse programs for both audiences

hybrid fundraising event

Remember you are creating two different fundraisers. While each group needs to hear about your organization’s mission and programs, you must do it in different ways.

Your in-person event attendees will be easier to engage. Having an emcee and entertainment is a must. But your job is to personally connect with donors during the event. This way, when you send a personal note or call them the following week, you have a solid footing to build a relationship.

Your online attendees are a bit different. These individuals can quickly lose interest and leave the event with nothing to show and no further connection to the organization. Include live-streaming and pre-recorded videos. You can also create online games and programs specifically for this audience.

3. Different tickets and registrations for online and offline events

Since each group will have a different experience, charging them the same amount for the hybrid event makes no sense. When creating your ticket and registration packets, create separate sections on your event fundraising page to explain each group’s ticket perks and expectations.

In-person attendees are used to paying for entertainment and food, but online attendees are not. It is best to offer the event for free to online attendees unless they receive additional perks like hand-delivered meals.

4. Intense marketing for sponsors

hybrid fundraising event

Most sponsors want to receive marketing in exchange for their gifts. Thanks to the various ways you have to reach out to event attendees, you can offer more marketing than ever before. When creating your sponsorship packets think of ways to highlight sponsors online and in-person at the event.

  • Add sponsor logos to your fundraising pages and at the event
  • Create pre-recorded messages from sponsors for online and in-person attendees
  • Create a social media promotion plan for each sponsor
  • Share sponsor videos and graphics online and at the event
  • Have the emcee announce sponsors live and online

5. Donation appeals that maximize funds

Your donation appeal should look for ways to maximize the funds. One way to make that happen for both audiences is to find a major donor or company willing to match the fundraising goal. With matching gift programs, you can double, sometimes triple the total donation amount. For example, the below campaign is a matching gift challenge where two supporters are willing to match up to a donation amount of $20,000. It’s a great way to encourage people to give a little extra.

hybrid fundraising event

Donorbox also integrates with Double the Donation to offer nonprofits an easy-to-use matching gift widget embedded on the Donorbox form. Your donors can search for their companies’ matching gift programs on this widget and will be guided to complete the process at their end.

You can also create a contest or competition before the event for your ambassadors or fundraisers. Ask each to raise money for the event and offer a prize for who raises the most.

Final Thoughts

hybrid fundraising

The benefits of running a hybrid fundraiser are clear, but they take work and creativity to ensure success. By following the steps we have laid out and the best practices, you can turn your traditional event into a financial windfall for your organization.

Donorbox is here to help with all your online fundraising needs. Our fundraising solution allows nonprofits to raise funds with online donation forms, text-to-give, crowdfunding, and peer-to-peer campaigns. If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to help with your annual fundraising goals, visit our blog.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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