Technology continues to make fundraising efforts evolve and shift.

Mobile bidding has risen in popularity over the last few years.

Even virtual events started to pop up as a “viable option” in mainstream conversations in the nonprofit world.

While technology has been increasing and making fundraising events more efficient, it wasn’t until this year that mobile and virtual fundraising became a necessity.

However, there is no “standard” virtual auction fundraiser guide out there.

And even if there was before, this new season has everyone internet and zoom fatigued and worn out by technology.

So what is a nonprofit organization to do?

We have helped many nonprofits – small and large – engage their attendees on a virtual platform.

Here are some common questions we have received about working an event on a virtual platform:

  • What is a good length for any virtual fundraising event?
  • Why not have a long three-hour event?
  • What days of the week are best for a virtual fundraising event?
  • What time is best for hosting virtual fundraising events?

Question #1:

What is a good timeline for the event?

After many events, we present to you the most successful timeline we have seen!

Time-block: 55 minutes (under an hour)

  • Incorporate two pieces of entertainment ( 3 minutes each)
  • Present the organizations mission (10 minutes max)
  • 5-7 auction items (30-45 minutes max)
    • With sponsorship and donation appeals interspersed
  • Final donation appeal

First, it is important to incorporate two pieces of entertainment that is engaging, inspiring, and motivating. This is where you can build energy, emotion, and presence over the screen. It’s important to realize that this must be less than 10 minutes of your screen time. You are not there to be the entertainment, but to fulfill a goal and mission with your supporters!

Second, presenting the your mission is the most important thing you will do to set the tone for who your organization is and what you are doing to make a difference. This needs to be pre-recorded or scripted. It must be meaningful and every word should count.

Third, auction off your items! Do NOT do more than 7 items – people won’t have the attention span to do more. Consider giving sponsors room in social media and in email marketing before and after the event for publicity. Focus on them limited and concisely during the event itself.

Finally, donation appeals are a wonderful idea to have during the event as well as at the closing of the event. You may have more people attending your events than ever before! There is no massive expenditure that comes from more attendees and there is no time-commitment of driving to the event or setting aside a large portion of one’s night anymore! But let’s face it, not everyone will bid or like what is being auctioned off! Still give those people the opportunity to give $25!

For a more detailed account of each of these components of the event, check out our article: “The First Three Steps of a Virtual Fundraising Event”

Question #2:

Why not have a long, three hour event?

The biggest “rule-of-thumb” to follow is regarding time-tables. Make sure the event is under an hour.

30 minute bands, long videos and drawn out speeches work when it is a long Gala with dinner and champagne.

When it is over the internet, statistics show that many people log off events of this nature after 30-45 minutes.

If you think about it, this makes sense. In physical events, there is usually a time cut at around an hour or an hour and half where the first wave of people leave. The virtual world is no different, only faster.

Fit the time table to your content. Many successful events have only been 30 minutes!

Precision, scripted clarity, and meaningful content is the goal.

Question #3: 

What days of the week are best for hosting virtual fundraising events?

Virtual events are successful during the week for many reasons.

First, these virtual events are shorter time commitments.

Second, during this season of life, our society is reclaiming the weekends as a society.

We all want nothing tot do with zoom meetings, telephone calls, and computer screens, once Friday night comes. We want to go for a bike ride, feel the sun, spend some quality time with the family and those we love.

This is why Wednesday and Thursday events tend to be the best days for virtual fundraising events.  These nights are towards the end of the work week, and usually less booked than the weekend.

Question #4: 

What time is best for hosting virtual fundraising events?

This question will always depend on your demographic and geographic location.

We have found 7-8:30pm to be the most desirable time slot of virtual fundraisers.

However, if you are trying to reach the entire country across all time-zones, we have found that the “Golden Hour” is 6PM Pacific Standard Time (PST), which allows all work days to be concluded and is still accessible to anyone on east coast to join at 9PM their time.

If your non-profit is looking for advice on mobile bidding or needs zero-risk consignment auction items please contact Charity Fundraising today!