A nonprofit’s guide to bringing fundraising events online

on December 10, 2018

We often talk about how the modern nonprofit is bringing an increasing number of events and fundraising efforts ‘online.’ But what does that all really mean? How do you take something that’s so tangible and experiential and get that same energy for the components you move online? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you make sure you’re getting the full benefit of social sharing and the always-on, anytime, anywhere nature of the internet to grow your event.

We’re here to tell you how the modern day fundraising event can benefit immensely from having an online presence. Not only will your supporters appreciate it, but they’ll also feel more connected to the cause that they love so much.inBlog_1_ConnectedThe modern online fundraising campaign

There are so many components that contribute to a successful nonprofit fundraising program. You may have live events, dinners, ticketed events, general fundraisers, holiday campaigns, etc.

When you take these campaigns and integrate an online component, you’re allowing your supporters to go above and beyond, creating more engagement moments and opportunities to support your cause.

For example, say you have a charity gala coming up and you need to sell tickets to raise money for the event and your cause. Instead of sending direct mail or phoning people to encourage ticket purchases, modernize your campaign by reaching out and asking your supporters to purchase a ticket to your event online.

This ticket purchase is directly connected to your event’s online fundraising campaign, which enables you to show pictures of what the event will look like, highlight auction items or special guests attending, ask for donations in addition to a ticket purchase, or even request that supporters start their own fundraiser for your cause. You’ve taken the simple act of purchasing a ticket to your event and turned it into an multi-faceted online engagement opportunity that benefits your cause.inBlog_2_TicketingMore ways to bring your event online

Online ticket purchasing is just one way you can modernize your nonprofit fundraising event. Here are six other proven ways to increase engagement, donations, and excitement for your upcoming event by moving traditional fundraising elements online...

1. Fundraise early

When you set up a nonprofit crowdfunding page tied to your event, your attendees can see the goals you are trying to hit for the event, and can see the donations being made to support these goals in real-time. And by setting up this page a few weeks or months before your event date, you open up the opportunity for your supporters to begin working towards these goals before your event even begins.

Start asking supporters to give to your cause as soon as you want, instead of just asking for donations the day of the event. Additionally, take the early opportunity to include some fun before the event starts. Maybe you run a contest where you create teams out of each table of guests, and the table that raises the most money before the event gets the best seat in the house. Creating more opportunities to raise money early while also keeping engagement high is a great way to prepare for a memorable event.

2. Register online

Much like purchasing tickets online, you can also encourage supporters to simply register for your event online. Not only are you providing an easy and modern way for your supporter to register for your event, but you’re also collecting all of their data which you can use for future knowledge and insights.

Also, bringing registration online allows for simple, relevant moments for you to ask for donations, explain more about your event, and encourage supporters to help you hit your goals.

3. Send out campaign updates

Now that you have registrants, ticket holders, and fundraisers all under one online campaign, you can use a tool like our Campaign Update Tool to help keep all of those supporters in-the-know.

This quick and easy messaging tool allows you to reach out to everyone who is attending your event and keep them up-to-speed on milestones, goal updates, shout-outs to superstar performers, or just give them more details about the event. In today’s world, communication is key to keeping a happy supporter base, so messaging your event participants really does go a long way.inBlog_3_CampaignUpdate4. Make your event mobile friendly

When you have an online component to your event, don’t let it stay hidden on the big day. Make sure you are mobile-optimized to make the most out of your event. And by mobile optimized, we mean not only do you have everything you need at your fingertips as an organizer, but also that your event is mobile optimized for your supporter’s experience as well.

One way to do this is with mobile text-to-donate. Throughout your event, offer up prompts for your audience or attendees to text-to-donate right from where they’re at. For example, “The next ten people to give $100 will be entered to win a spa package. Text SPADAY to 44444 for your chance to win.” This offers up an easy way to foster contests during your event, or just encourage incremental donations at a time when your supporters are feeling most connected to your cause.inBlog_4_TexttoGive5. Spread the word with social fundraising

One key element to an online event versus a traditional event is that you have the power of social fundraising working hard for you behind the scenes.

Social fundraising is how your supporters these days want to engage with your cause, make it their own, and show the world how they care and give back... all through the megaphone of their mobile device and social networks.

When you take your event online, you’re able to tap into the power of social fundraising and allow your supporters to expand your reach in ways you’d never be able to do without them.

Asking for them to share at the end of their donation or having them set up a fundraiser on your behalf are actions that you can’t do alone. These are incremental supporter networks that are being reached because you empowered your supporters to take your cause and make it their own. And, it works. Your supporter’s megaphone is louder than yours when it comes to those who are not as familiar with your cause.

6. Don’t stop engaging after the event is over

By using tools such as the aforementioned Campaign Update Tool, you’re able to keep an engaging experience going with your supporters even after your event is over. And, this is a crucial time to boost post-event engagement.

Make sure to thank supporters after your event is over, surprise and delight them with some pictures or goal updates, and keep the conversation going — not only with campaign updates, but with personalized emails and follow-ups.


Bringing your event online isn’t a daunting task. It’s just a shift in the way things have been traditionally done, and it’s also something that your modern-day supporters are longing for. In this day in age when everything is at our fingertips, allowing your supporters the ability to do more for your cause is such an asset.fundraising-event-online

Brandy Shippey

Brandy Shippey is a Growth Marketing Specialist at CrowdRise. She is passionate about giving CrowdRise users a great experience and inspiring them on new ways to fundraise. Brandy is also an advocate for snacking multiple times throughout the day and holds the unofficial record for most dog photos in her camera roll.