How to Run an Online Event And Engage More People Virtually
Are current news stories threatening your real-life events? In this webinar, Nikki Bell and Simon Scriver will take you through the steps and learnings of developing online engagement events.
Steven: And then . . . all right, cool. Simon, Nikki, okay if I go ahead and get this party started officially?
Steven: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you all for being here. Special Friday edition of the Bloomerang webinar series. We’ve been doing a webinar almost every day this week and we’re going to end it on a high note. So thanks to all of you for being here. I’m going to leave my slides like this because we’re going to go into some of those slides but just want to introduce everyone real quick.
If you are here for how to run an online event and engage more people virtually, you’re in the right place because that’s what we’re going to do in the next hour or so. Thanks for being here. Thanks to all of you for logging in early. Before we get going, like I said, we’re recording today and we will be sending over that recording and the slides later on this afternoon so if you have to leave or if you get interrupted . . . maybe you’ve got kids at home who are going to barge in. hopefully, that won’t happen to me here. It might happen but it’s okay. We’ll get you that recording. Don’t worry. It’ll all be in your hands later on today.
And I know a lot of you are already doing that but please feel free to chat in, introduce yourself, ask questions throughout the hour or so. We’re going to try to save some time for Q&A at the end. So don’t be shy about that. There’s a separate Q&A tab. If you ask your questions there, they won’t get lost in the shuffle as much if you don’t mind looking for that. So check that out. Definitely keep it engaged because we want to answer you as many questions as we can before the two o’clock Eastern hour.
And if you want to do that on Twitter, you can do that. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed there as well. And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just a special extra welcome to you folks. We do these webinars . . . it feels like all the time now that we’re all working from home and trying to stay connected but if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang, we are a provider of donor management software. So check that out if you’re interested.
But that’s not really important right now because I’ve got two of my favorites joining us from across the pond I think is the correct nomenclature. We’ve got Nikki Bell from beautiful Newcastle in the UK and Simon joining us from Ireland, my ancestral homeland actually. How’s it going, you two? You doing okay?
Simon: Yeah, pretty good. Getting through it.
Steven: We’re doing the best we can.
Steven: Well, I want to brag on these two real quick because they were really gracious to do this for us. I reached out to them begging them to do this because they are the experts in the space. They do virtual fundraising events, they do webinars. That’s what they are good at. And they want to bring all that knowledge to you all today. So extra special thank you for you two for doing this for us, doing it on short notice. You’re super busy. I know you’re ending the day. It’s almost dinner time overseas there and you’ve got a full schedule starting again on Monday. So thank you both, thank you.
If you’ve never heard of Nikki and Simon, check them out. They are the masterminds behind Fundraising Everywhere which they will explain better than I will but you’re going to want to check that out because it’s awesome, awesome content, awesome events and some tools for you to use to put on your own events as well. But they’re both former fundraisers and current fundraisers I should say. Not former fundraisers. They worked in shops. Nikki was at the Institute of Fundraising. Right? I got that right, Nikki? IOF?
Nikki: So I’m still there.
Steven: Still there?
Nikki: So I’m still on the board, yeah.
Steven: Awesome. Simon, you’ve worked at charities. One in Four Ireland, right? You were a longtime fundraiser there. So not only do they know what they’re talking about with this stuff but they’ve also been in your shoes as fundraisers which is what I always look for. So you’ve heard enough from me. Friends, I’m going to stop sharing my screen, let you all bring up your slides.
Simon: Oh, yeah, Simon. That’s me. Yeah.
Steven: Okay. Tell us all about the virtual events.
Simon: Sure. Well, hopefully, you can all see my slide deck now. You should be seeing the title of the webinar and names and stuff. You are very welcome. Thanks for tuning in and thanks for choosing to spend the next hour of your lives with myself and Nikki. Obviously, it is strange times. I don’t know what your personal situation is. I am on lockdown in Ireland and with work usually I travel quite a lot. So there’s a few changes here for me. But also, at the same time, I do a lot of online stuff. You might’ve seen me live stream before around fundraising. You might’ve seen me host a webinar before. I’ve been doing this for some time along with my partner, Nikki who I’m about to introduce you to or hand over to. We founded Fundraising Everywhere last year and Fundraising Everywhere is a series of virtual conferences and virtual training all around fundraising. We also do networking events. We do some social events. We do some clinics. We do all sorts of stuff.
And we also, under the title of FE Plus we also help people put their own events online. So we either provide the platform for them or we give them a bit of help through it. And that’s what this session is about today, is about how you can . . . you know, we’re all being forced to pivot more online than we even were before. And so what we want to talk through today is I suppose the basics of how you make that move, what you need to be looking for and how you make your events a bit more engaging and get the most out of them.
We’re going to be answering questions throughout the session. Myself and Nikki will look at the question box. We’ll also try and leave time at the end for question and answers. I imagine there’s a lot of questions if you’re new to this. Already I can see a lot of questions coming in. So if we don’t happen to get to them, I would say please do follow up with us afterwards. We’ll be leaving our details at the end so you can get in touch with us. You can always find us at fundraisingeverywhere.com and you’ll get the slide deck afterwards as well.
So anyone who watches the recording back or who reflects on it and wants to talk to us afterwards, find us at fundraisingeverywhere.com and we’re happy to chat.
Nikki: Yeah, I was going to say there’s over a 1,000 people online watching now. So the likelihood of us being able to answer everybody’s question is quite small but, you know, we are here afterwards. You know, that is exactly what we do as fellow fundraisers, we’re here to help you. So what we don’t cover here or what we can’t answer here, our contact details at the end so please do get in touch with us.
I’m Nikki Bell. Hello. I’m joining you from Newcastle in the Northeast of England. It’s quite late here and we just really appreciate you spending this time with us. We’re a little bit behind in terms of lockdown. I think that’s probably going to happen today. And one thing that we have seen massively over this week is just the whole landscape of fundraising is changing and there’s just this increased interest and need to engage with people online when moving events online. And what me and Simon wanted to show you was just how you can do that easily, how not to think too hard about it. You know, whatever you do in person, you can replicate that online but how people are going to interact with each other over the next 12 months, 18 months as, you know, we’ve just been updated today where we actually might not get to normality until that point, how we engage with our supporters. It’s probably going to be a little bit more at a distance.
So what we can share with you today that will help you create engaging online events which isn’t just . . . I don’t want to say just a webinar because we’re doing a webinar but just, you know, giving you some ways to make that clearer, brighter and also raise you some money as well. So we’re really pleased to be spending time with you today.
Simon: Cool. So let me just talk a little bit about why you might be going into this space very briefly because, you know, a lot of us have been forced into this space with everything that’s going on with COVID-19 and things getting canceled. But actually, you know, for quite, quite a large number of time we’ve been talking about why people should be moving their events online. And not necessarily moving them because one thing to say is that I am . . . you’ll see me criticizing digital quite a lot in terms of our mix. I love in-person stuff even though I consider myself an introvert. I love in person stuff. I go to a lot of conferences. I believe in event fundraising. I believe in community fundraising.
So, you know, mine and Nikki’s stance is not that this is going to replace in person stuff but that it can really, really complement what you’re already doing in person and when it comes to emergencies like this and extreme situations that we can still have a presence even if we’re not allowed outside.
So just to kind of flag the kind of reasons that we might be moving across. You know, obviously, we get a larger audience. We have over a 1,000 people on this session. For me and Nikki to get a 1,000 people into a physical room is a lot more difficult than getting a 1,000 people in front of us here. And, you know, usually there is an unlimited capacity in theory. You see some caps on some platforms like currently we’re capped on how many people we can let into this room. Depending on your plan and your service provider, you can have a cap on it. But in theory, you could have everyone watching this online whereas before you couldn’t. This allows us to go across border, this allows us to bring in people who couldn’t otherwise make it, this allows us to record things and play them back at different times for different people. So it’s just increasing our reach if we do it right.
There’s better chances for lead generation. So we can . . . you know, there’s a number of touchpoints that we’re going to see in the run-up to online events, during online events, after online events where we can start to capture details, where we can start to find out more about our viewers, where we can prompt them to donate, we can prompt them to take action and prompt them to sign up for things. So there’s a lot of possibility there.
Someone’s asked in the question box about accessibility and best practice and we’ll talk about that. But yeah. These events, they allow us to put in subtitles maybe a bit easier. They allow us . . . for, you know, people who need special aids in terms of how they use their computer, they can still use these. People can get to these a bit easier than they would to physical events. So one of the reasons we love these as a sector is because they’re much more accessible for the people we’re working with and many of them have issues with accessibility.
There’s additional sponsorship here and so especially if you already have an in real life event, if you’re tacking on an online section to it, it can be a really cheap thing to tack on but you’re suddenly opening yourself up to whole new sponsors, sponsors who want to target their audience online, who are selling a product that suits that kind of sponsorship. And so there’s a lot more room for generating income here on top of what you’re already getting in your sponsorship packages.
Recorded content is going to really help us here. You know, we’re going to talk about our conference a little bit just as an example. Not to promo but just to tell you what we do. But everything we broadcast, we record and then stuff that we can sell later on, we can use it later on to attract people, we can push it out there for free to get attention. So the fact that you can actually reuse this content makes it really cost-effective compared to real life stuff.
Positioning yourself as the host and actually using your organization or yourself to push this stuff out is a great way to do it. You don’t necessarily have to have the content. You don’t necessarily have to do the event and presentation but just by hosting it, you’re kind of getting credit for it and you’re able to communicate with this audience around the event that you’re organizing.
And then additional material. You know, think of it like your delegate bag that you get at physical conferences or physical events, that goodie pack. We can do the same thing online. We can do physical stuff and send it out to people or we can do purely virtual stuff where we’re prompting people to take action, to download things, to get bonus questions and answers, to get discounts on next events and stuff like that.
So there’s really a lot of possibilities here and I think what myself and Nikki are really going to try and get into today is conventionally, we’ve held back from this because we thought of it as flat webinars. That’s what virtual events are, these flat webinars. But actually, more so the mindset we want to get you into is that whatever you can think of, we can do in some shape or form, you know. You can transfer this online. You’re going to have to make some changes and some sacrifices but it’s also going to open lots of doors to you that you didn’t have before.
So rather than considering what’s out there and trying to fall into that, we really encourage you to think, “Well, what would I like to do?” And then let’s find the tools and find the plugins and find the capability to actually delve that out because there’s so much we can do here that hasn’t ever been done before and people are starting to innovate with this because we have to. But really think outside the box of what you’d like to do and then let’s figure out how to do it. Nikki?
Nikki: Sure. A couple of people just in the questions box are now asking around platforms and we are going to cover that later on in the webinar. So we will get to that question soon, Lori. And yeah, just you mentioned there about accessibility, Simon, and I guess it’s really important to note that quite a large demographic of our audience may not be online in the general and we’ve got a few people asking, you know, what about people who are not using the internet. I’m not sure if immediately it’s the right thing or maybe the easiest thing to do has been like, “Right, let’s get you, you know, clued up on using the internet and social media and then we’ll campaign to you.” Still obviously communicate with those people in that way that they’re used to. You know, you can still pick up the telephone. You can still send them a direct mail. That is still a great way to fundraise with the right people. What we’re talking about now is just those instances where you would have done something in person which, because of the current situation, isn’t possible and we’re now having to virtualize it. So that’s what we’re covering in this webinar today.
And even though virtual events are referring to what Simon’s mentioned already around, you know, training, support and engagement, another way that a virtual event might be is like, you know, when people do runs and things like that. That’s still okay because obviously people are doing that on their own. Again, what we’re talking about now is something that people would be doing en masse which, you know, we can’t do that because of safety.
What I would love to know from you and there’s a 1,000 of you on here so if you all type at once, we might not get to see that but are you actually planning any events within the next few weeks and you’re having to do that virtually? So Andy is straight in there with film screenings. So how are you doing that, Andy? I hope you’re not, you know, running out of movie theater. Tell me. Tell me what events . . . you put yes in there which is great but like tell us some more because we can share those and other people can learn that as well. So lots of people doing virtual walks, virtual runs which is fantastic.
So the next slide. Here are just some ideas and ways that charities has been turning their events virtual. And these are happening already. These are just some ideas as well that we’ve come across from our work with fundraisers. Obviously, Steven mentioned at the beginning. Even though we run Fundraising Everywhere, we’re actually fundraisers just like you as well.
So that big gala that you’ve unfortunately had to cancel and you can still do a virtual element of that. People can still get suited and booted. They can still dress up in their finery, they can join online through a platform like this, they can have a glass of champagne. You can host, you know, an auction. That is still possible through the medium of the internet. And like Simon said already, the trick there, the beauty is in having a charismatic and energetic host that can really tie all of that together and we’re going to be talking about engagement later on in this webinar as well.
So after parties. On the Fundraising Everywhere site we will be hosting a third-party conference next month. I wish I thought of that. Some of you may have heard of it. And for the after party we’re actually hosting an awards. It’s a Charity Film Awards. We’ll be looking at some films that charities have put together. People will be voting and then someone will be crowned a winner and that’s something that we can do through video, through chat boxes just like you’re doing right now. Obviously, if you’re doing this for your charity and you did it through something like Facebook, you could use the Facebook fundraising tool. You know, you can follow it up with mail. We’re going to be talking about how to tie all that together today as well.
Coffee mornings. I’m running of those for a charity next week. People will just be joining with a cup of tea and a biscuit and they’ll be chatting online. And there’s just some other examples that you can see there as well.
Now if you did have a big run or a walk that was due to be canceled, again just, you know, you can create a private Facebook group and you can direct people to this group. They can do the walk in their own time and then they can all come together collectively in this group. They can share videos. They can share photos. They can connect with each other. You know, you can do a Facebook Live or you can stream something live of you doing it yourself to tie it all in together. You know, let’s not overcomplicate it too much. We’re all using social media and we’re all using these tools to connect with people personally. You know, I hope you are doing that because, you know, video and connecting with people online is fantastic.
So now we’re just thinking about with a different audience, with our supporters. And as you can tell by everybody’s internet speed lately, everybody is online now. I have never known people video call so much than they have done in this week and I think for us as fundraisers who love to connect with supporters and then engage with them, now is the time because they’re . . . you know, that’s normal for them. You know, with millennials, if their phone rang, they would probably throw it out of the window but they can’t do that now because, you know, they have to have that to stay connected and they’re more likely to pick up the phone.
So just think of it in that way. Simon has this awesome idea. Simon, am I allowed to share this idea about Dolly Parton? No?
Simon: No. Well, I feel like you can. You can say it, whatever.
Nikki: I’ve kind of started now. Well, basically, let’s just forget whose name I read. But if you’re a charity . . . let’s just say for example who . . . you know, it’s all about giving books to children because you care about reading. You know, just filming something of you reading that book and sharing it with people and encouraging them to donate. There is a charity who is an animal shelter and obviously they’re having to shut down to protect the public and what their team are doing is they’re taking it in turns throughout this week when the schools are on lockdown to host a 10 minute information video about the animals. And I’ll be tuning into that because I have a four-year-old. I don’t know how I’m supposed to homeschool him. So I’ll be tuning into this charity stream next week, learning about rabbits, learning about Guinea pigs and if they ask me to donate, you know, I probably will because I feel so grateful for that. I feel connected. And obviously, I’ll be able to connect.
Someone’s actually mentioned quarantine karaoke. Judy, that is happening on Fundraising Everywhere very soon. So if you want to come and sing with us, please do because I don’t want to and we do need somebody else. Oh, Judy is doing quarantine karaoke. Amazing. No, I won’t be singing at that.
So there’s just so many different ways that we can do this. You can do quizzes. Yes, don’t think too hard about replicating the in-person event. Just think now about how you can use those existent tools to connect with people individually but on a group platform.
Over to you, Simon.
Simon: Did you want to talk about these plugins here or will I talk about it later? I think I’ll talk about it later.
Nikki: Yeah, we can talk about them later.
Simon: Okay, sure. So we’re starting to get ready and what we need to consider . . . we’ve got here talking about speakers and hosts where we’re talking about specific events where you’re doing kind of more presentations where people are talking into the camera but this applies for all virtual things. One of the biggest challenges you’re going to have when you switch to going online is how you get people to speak at it or how you get people to host it. Who’s the one that’s going to be in front of the camera? And I saw someone talking in here about their CEO, their CEO being worried about live content, worried that no one’s going to comment, no one’s going to give, worried that they’re going to look foolish and I think that’s a really good point. I mean, we struggle sometimes to get in real life speakers to be willing to speak in front of the camera online or to do a live stream. It just seems like unknown territory for so many people and so many people seem to be worried about it.
So there’s a few things we need to consider here because this is one of the first things you’re going to have to do is figure out who’s going to be in front of the camera, who’s going to be speaking to your audience, who’s going to be engaging them, who’s going to be reading the book, who’s going to be running the pop quiz. All these things. And I want you to think about this because online actually opens up a few opportunities that we didn’t maybe have before and that now we can access new people. So whereas, you know, speakers, we felt like we were tied to a certain group of people because they were local or we could afford them, suddenly now we can look around all over the world and we can pull in speakers who have a bit of kind of international flavor to it. So you’re not restrained in who is actually in front of the camera now. So let’s look further afield.
You want to try and find people who are going to bring some of their own audience. So you’ll see like in one of our conferences that we’re having in May, you know, we knew we wanted to get people like Dan Pallotta and people like the founder of Charity Water because they have their own following and they’re going to bring people. It’s going to be easier to sell tickets if they’re bringing some of their audience. So even if they’ve never heard of us or our conference, hopefully, we’re going to pick up some of those.
So look at your own kind of base, your own followers, your own network. Who else is out there? And just think who has the influence? Who has a lot of followers on Twitter? Who has a lot of followers on YouTube? And let’s reach out to them. And what you’re going to see is this whole community of well-known people, well-known speakers that, if you’re anything like me, you’ve never heard of, yeah. They’re influencers online and for those of us who have hit 40, these people mean nothing to us. But they are going to be people who actually draw in these new audiences.
Think about when you’re going to pay or not pay people who are going to do this for you. So all of our speakers, we commit to paying them. We pay all of our speakers but we understand as nonprofits that maybe you don’t have that opportunity to do it. Maybe you don’t want to take that risk. Maybe, you know, you can’t get permission to pay. But consider it. You know, we have to be fair. We have to pay to get expertise, to get people’s times. You know, it’s the right thing to do.
So even consider if you don’t have that budget to spend on speakers or presenters or hosts, think about maybe a profit share. So when we first started up, we were paying our speakers in a profit share model because we knew we wanted to pay them, but we really didn’t know how many tickets we’d be shifting in that first year. So consider the different ways you can structure it and what’s right for your organization in terms of payment plans.
Start with the network that you know. It’s the same thing in every area of fundraising. You know, if you look at corporate fundraising or community fundraising or whatever, you always start with your network and you work further afield. It’s going to be much easier to pull people in and pool together if you look at the existing network you already have rather than trying to identify cold people and bringing them in. So start with your own network and be smart about how you spend your time trying to find these people.
And then, you know, think about that this is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to share some of ourselves. And so, you know, one of the things that Steven does which I love on his webinars is he has it running for 15, 20 minutes before we actually start so you hear us chatting. We were having conversations with people in there. And it gives you a chance to kind of humanize Steven. I mean, he’s not a very human person as it is. But it humanizes him so that you actually kind of see behind the curtain. You know, you see behind Bloomerang, you see inside there and you feel a little bit part of it.
So we have a real opportunity here where we can connect to our audiences, we can bring them into our nonprofits, we can show them behind the scenes, we can show them the staff and we know that really engages people. So this could be the time to bump up that staff member, that volunteer, that beneficiary who’s willing to get in front of a camera and think about people that we wouldn’t normally use. You know, if we have a big gala, we have to put our CEO up there. We have to put our chairperson up there. You know, we have to kind of use these top tier people. But online it’s a little bit rawer and we can actually have the luxury of using people from across the organization. And donors connect with that actually better sometimes. So it can be really, really good.
Nikki: Yeah. So we had a lot of people asking very specific questions about how to turn specific events virtual. Obviously, with so many and such niches in there, we can’t really spend time in this . . . what? Thirty-five minutes left to cover it but obviously, like I say, catch up with us after. But what I will say is that there are companies out there already that exist to make your events virtual. You know, there are websites where you can do virtual quizzes, where you can run like virtual galas. Those people have been out there and have existed for a long time who will be able to assist you very quickly and easily with this. Obviously, you will have to pay for that service and expertise but then as a fundraiser, you just have the relief of just being able to just give them the audience and then they will do the rest.
What we do at Fundraising Everywhere is we do that with training and conference events but for fundraising events specific and I think there’s somebody in the chat box here already who has said that they can help you. And of course, I’m loving as well in the chat box everybody, you know, sharing ideas about what they’re doing as well. But do get in touch with us after and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction or help you ourselves, if we’re able to.
Now a few people as well have been asking about paying and charging and I think we’re going to cover that a little bit later. Are we, Simon? On the . . . about charging and . . .
Simon: Sorry. We’ll touch on it. We’ll touch on it a bit later but I’m happy to jump into it now if you . . .
Nikki: Okay, cool. Yeah, we’ll pop that for now and we’ll come back to it later because it kind of leads into this. I mean, how many of you at your organization have already been creating film content for your organization because if you haven’t, you know, now is absolutely the best time to start. And you don’t have to have, you know, really fancy equipment to turn your events virtual. All you need is a smartphone. I’m pointing that way because that’s where my smartphone is or even just your webcam. You know, these cameras have brilliant quality that can record great content and if you are thinking about leading someone up to a paid event where you do want to ask them for a ticket fee which, in some cases, you’ll have to.
You know, Fundraising Everywhere, we have this value that we will always pay people for their talents and we will always pay speakers. And to get speakers like that, obviously, you know . . . I’m not going to be able to pay that out of my pocket money so we do charge for the Fundraising Everywhere conference. But what we do in advance is we have lots of free and accessible content that we give people to lead up to that. So obviously, we have the free events next week, we have a free conference the week after. We do weekly fundraising tips. So you can build it up that way before you actually get to the main one.
Now in terms of actually going live and putting your videos on screen, you want it to look great so that people will engage with it. Obviously, they’ll stop to stick on it. They won’t go off and just start doing their emails. Now with your virtual events you can either run it live which is an opportunity because obviously you’ve got like YouTube Live, LinkedIn Live which is still in testing mode, Facebook, etc.
Obviously, it does have its negatives because as you probably know, you know, the internet’s under a lot of pressure at the moment because everyone is just doing video calls and virtual events. So technology wise, it can be a little bit risky. What we do is we actually prerecord the majority of our content so that we can quality control it so we can make sure that it’s to the time that we’ve given people for the brief and of course, previously so we could subtitle it but we outsource that now and we actually do live subtitles through an external company.
So you do have that opportunity. If you want to do something really quick and just get it out there, then obviously live is your option. If you’ve got time, then do it prerecorded. Try and keep your editing to a minimum. Of course, what we want people is to just realize that it’s just someone in their own setting engaging with you. The whole point of a virtual event is that someone doesn’t feel like you’re talking to the masses. You’re literally just taking to that person one on one. So right now, Emily, I’m speaking to you or Nadine, I’m speaking to you. This information is just for you. That’s the kind of connection that we don’t always get the opportunity to have when we’re in these mass, you know, physical events that we’ve done previously. So again, use this opportunity to really connect with people.
You’ll notice as much as possible I’m trying to talk to the camera again to create that feeling of connectivity so try and do that as much as possible in your videos. And I know now probably isn’t the greatest example but the sun’s just starting to set so it is getting a little bit darker. But, you know, be lit from the front. Be illuminated. The people who you’re filming, making sure that they’re well seen because again, the tools that we have are able to record great video but if you can’t see people on them or you can’t actually see them, then it’s not that much greater.
Now in terms of sound quality, if you are running a virtual event online and you do have a host or you do have speakers, make it clear that they 100% have to use a mic. Now you can see that I’m using just my iPhone headphones which are hopefully more than okay. Hopefully, you can hear me all right. I have a Yeti mic which is down there. I would show you but it’s on the floor. But all of that is totally fine to use but try not to use the built-in mics in your phone or on your laptops because obviously that is patchy. You can pick them up on Amazon and other online retailers. They’re very cheap so make sure that you invest in one of those.
And for a lot of people who are going to be doing virtual events now and featuring on our virtual events, this is going to be a new space for them. They might feel a little bit weird. It’s totally fine to support them or get them to send you a test video of course just to make sure that they’ve set up correctly because you don’t want them to spend an hour putting together some content for you and then realize that they’ve filmed it in portrait mode. Obviously, it needs to be in landscape. So just coach them, talk them through what you expect. Let them know that they don’t have to do too much edit and they just literally have to sit down, deliver to the camera and you will do the rest.
And as you can see, you know, we have the floating heads on the screen here and we have the branding in the corner. If you are going to put something like that on your own slides, just make sure that they leave space for it as well. You can control that further. Of course you can just make the slides for them and send them across. Of course, if they are going to be doing it presentation style. But otherwise, you know, if it is a live streamed event or more of a video-based event with accounts like StreamYard and broadcasting platforms, you can put your own branding on that as well. You know, you can have your logo in the corner. You can do shout outs on the screen. All of that is absolutely possible.
And I will mention as well. You know, I know it is hard, you know, you’re having to cancel your events and potentially lose that money. I do, I totally feel for you. We’re all in this together and I guess the main thing to point out right now is that our donors completely understand. You know, it’s not . . . you know, when you cancel an event because of bad weather and no one can believe it. But everybody else is kind of set at home right now feeling a little bit lost, a little bit unsure. If you can go to them with a virtual event and say, “Hey. We’ve been solutions focused. We really want to stay connected with you in this time. Here’s just this really simple and effective way to do it.”
Because again, what we’ve got to remember with our virtual events, we’ve got to give it to supporters in a way that’s comfortable for them. We can’t go off using too much, you know, fancy tech and equipment. It has to be something that they’re used to using already. You know, like Facebook, like YouTube, you know, like your own website, if you have the capacity to host video on there. Let’s not overcomplicate it and make it more about engagement and the content rather than the meetings that we’re using.
Simon: Sorry. Yeah, I was sanitizing my hands and forgot to turn off my mic. So yeah. I mean, on this I think like just to follow up from what Nikki said, what we find is one of the most time-consuming, one of the biggest challenges in all this is getting your speakers ready and getting the content and that’s why we’ve spent a bit of time there on getting the right speakers in place and on that filming because it . . . you know, don’t hold yourself to the standards of like professional TV. That’s not what we’re talking about in virtual events. That’s not important. It’s about bringing the human element through in your broadcast. We have to have good sound and we have to have decent lighting but it’s about getting the human side through and that’s what people connect with. As un-static as possible. But don’t worry about aiming too high in terms of quality. It just needs to be you and it needs to be convenient for them.
So a few people have asked about accessibility and we want to spend a little bit time talking about subtitles. But accessibility as a whole . . . this is one of the reasons we do like these online events. For us, we have the policy that any event that we are involved with has subtitles. We see it, you know, as a right and that it’s an accessibility issue. But for you, it does just make good sense because the vast majority of people watch videos without sound. And so depending on the nature of your event, people will be watching it, you know, on transport or just on their phone or, you know, in bed next to someone else and they don’t want sound on. There’s all sorts of reasons people do it without sound and so we need to be prepared for that. So we really, really recommend subtitles. We ourselves, we don’t do an event except for this one . . . but on our platform, we don’t do one without subtitles.
So that’s another one of the reasons we recommend prerecording. Prerecording allows you to take out, you know, all of the problems or most of the risk of this. And prerecording it allows us . . . gives us extra time to add subtitles to it. So that’s one of the reasons we do like and do recommend prerecording.
Having said that, we also do live prerecording which, as you can imagine, is not cheap and not particularly easy. But if you insist, if the nature of your broadcast, the nature of your event is that a lot of it is live, that the live part is very important, then do look into and consider the possibility of having this subtitled live because if could really help accessibility and it can really help a number of people who are going to watch this.
So if you’re paying someone to do subtitles . . . you know, what we found is that it ranges from about a dollar to $4 per minute of subtitling and as you can imagine, that adds up pretty quickly if you’re doing your own. But there are other ways we can do this. Things like YouTube have built in closed captions, you know. So they will auto-generate subtitles based on the sound of your video. It’s not great, yeah. And most robots, most kind of automated ways to do this. They’re not fantastic and you’ll see a lot of mistakes in them. You might see some accidental swear words as we’ve gotten in the past. You might just see, you know, it’s just not up to scratch. So while it’s free and it’s really convenient, it might not be fit for purpose but it might be what you need depending on what you’re broadcasting.
What we found has been quite good is using something like YouTube to auto-generate those captions and then you have a volunteer or yourself who goes through it manually and just kind of cleans it up. So there’s a few ways that you can do this but essentially the more accurate you want it to be, the more time consuming and the more expensive it becomes. But we really, really do recommend that subtitles go into your broadcast where possible, especially in the prerecorded sessions because it just makes them much more accessible.
In terms of multilingual, that’s worth flagging here. One of the other great things about subtitles is that you can then make it international. So if you’re a cause that has maybe supporters across the border, if you’re a Canadian cause who’s dealing with bilingual supporters, things like this . . . you know, whatever circumstance you’re in. If you’re targeting people with more than one language, what subtitles allows you to do is auto-translate those. So things like YouTube and other streaming platforms have that capability that if you have English subtitles and your viewer can just flick and they can change it to Chinese, they can change it into French, they can change it into whatever they want.
Again, the quality might not be perfect but it allows them to access it where they wouldn’t have before and we’ve had people contact us after conferences, non-English speakers and they thank us for having English subtitles because even reading English subtitles makes it easier for a non-English speaker to understand.
So little things like that have been really helpful. We’ve put conferences on into Germany. You know, neither of us speak German but the fact that we were able to get English subtitles translated into German, that suddenly opened it up to an audience that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to tap into with most of our events.
[inaudible 00:37:16]. Now lots of questions about the platform. Yeah, lots of questions about what you should be using and you’re going to get really annoyed at me because I’m not going to give you one straight answer. I’m not going to tell you, “This is definitely the platform you should be on.” Because it depends. Yeah, it depends what you’re trying to achieve and so what I would recommend is actually where you start from is what do I need to do, what capabilities does this need to have and who am I trying to get this to? And then we start thinking about a platform and, you know, we have limited time here. I’m not going to go into everyone’s particular scenario. If anyone wants to reach out to me afterwards, I’m happy to talk you through it and help you.
But just to give you a quick kind of run-by of what’s out there, you have things like Facebook Live and Twitter and kind of the social media platforms which now have video streaming to them. So they make it really easy that you can do it with your phone or mobile. You can see a screenshot there of Facebook for example and LinkedIn there. And essentially, they’re free to do. You apply to them. You get them set up and then you broadcast through them. They talk you through it. People can watch it live.
And the good thing about those is if you already have an audience there, then it works really well. So if you have a following on Facebook, just start doing Facebook lives. It makes a lot of sense because your audience already follow you. They’re going to get notifications that you’re going to go live. It’s going to be easier for them to dip in. So people worried about maybe older people accessing their stuff, actually, what we find is a lot of older people are using Facebook quite, quite successfully. And so to run something for them on Facebook isn’t as much of a stretch.
Twitch, you’ve probably heard of. It’s thought of generally as a gaming platform for people who stream gaming, if anyone’s into that kind of thing. But actually more and more now people are streaming in real life, IRL. They’re streaming like what’s actually happening. They’re streaming different things. And Twitch is cool because like most platforms, you can communicate with people. There’s conversation happening in the chat while this is all happening but then you also have the ability to make donations and to do fundraising and things like that, as does Facebook. So a lot of these now have a lot of the same features that we’re looking for and features that really help us.
YouTube I love and I’ve been streaming to YouTube for a few years now and it’s just really, really comprehensive in what it can do. So everyone knows YouTube, everyone finds it easy to access. The backend of it, when you’re broadcasting is great because in terms of what you share live and prerecorded it allows you to edit things. It allows you to put in famous music sometimes. It allows you to put in links and put in clicks, short codes to take you to other places. So I really, really love YouTube and I recommend checking it out in terms of broadcasting. It’s quite a good one.
We have then a lot of meeting software, things like Zoom, you know, which we’re on at the moment. Things like Whereby. And these can be really good for especially smaller groups where you’re just inviting a small group into it. I’m talking to my son’s school at the moment about ways that we can bring his class into a group to do different things. And so Zoom and Whereby can be quite good but they can be quite restrictive in what they allow you to do. So they’re very much made for presentations like this, PowerPoint presentations with talking heads speaking. But if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, then actually they’re some of the best. And I use Whereby for a lot of meetings because it’s free for small numbers of people. Zoom likewise has free options and then you start to pay as you get bigger as you need more functionality. So these can work for you.
You might also consider actually streaming into multiple locations. So this is what we do when we do free sessions. We usually stream them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube. We stream them on our website. We stream them everywhere we can at the same time because we’re simply trying to get as big an audience as possible.
So some of the platforms that we’re talking about here will let you stream to other platforms. But otherwise, look at things like Restream. Again, there’s so many tools out there that do these things now. These have all been there all along but suddenly now we’re discovering them because we have to. But Restream, we’ve been using for a couple of years and that allows you to split your broadcast so you just stream it once but it goes onto your Facebook page and it goes onto your Twitter page, it goes over here, it does whatever you want to do. So I like Restream.
You’d be surprised then as well at how easy it can be to stream on your own website. This is great because you keep control of the surroundings. You know, you’ve got your donate button there. You’ve got your signups and mailing list there. You’ve got your sponsors there. You have a bit of control of it. So whoever does the backend of your website, maybe have a conversation with them about how difficult it would be for them to embed something like YouTube, embed other kind of video streaming things there so that the video actually plays on your website. It’s a lot easier than you think and anyone who’s responsible for the backend of your website can probably do this for you. Otherwise, if you’re in WordPress, there’s lots of plugins that allow you to do this. You’re just embedding a video that you’re broadcasting. And so suddenly you have a lot of ownership and that you’re not using another platform.
And then obviously, we just have to say Fundraising Everywhere. You know, if you were going to make me recommend one platform, obviously I’m going to recommend my own. But the truth is we do a lot of great things and a lot of, you know, interactive things but it’s not always going to be the right answer for you. And so what I would say is think about what you’re trying to do and then start to look at what’s out there, get in touch with me and I’ll point you in the right place. But there’s so many good tools out there and I especially love YouTube for like tutorial videos and tips. There’s a whole community that have been doing this kind of thing for years and years and years and they will give you this answer if you search YouTube for what are the benefits of Zoom and what are the drawbacks of Zoom or what are the benefits of YouTube and things like that.
And so it is much more accessible for all of us than we think but again don’t tie yourself into this idea that we’re talking about webinars. Yeah, Zoom is good for webinars but if you want to do something really interactive, if you want to bring in other elements of your existing campaign, then you might look beyond that and see what other services are out there depending on what you want. But for your own specific problem, do feel free to reach out to me and I’ll try and guide you as best as we can. I hope you understand we can’t go through a 1,000 people on specific issues.
So once we decide where we’re going to do it or even before you decide the platform, we then want to sell tickets. We’ll put tickets out there because, you know, there’s no point in these things unless people attend them. You don’t necessarily need hundreds or thousands of people to attend these. If you have an engaged donor base, you know, sometimes these things are still really worth doing if there’s only four or five of you there. Yeah, and if it’s your major donors or people who are really committed to you, engagement is good. And so, you know, this is something we should be in the habit of doing on small scales on a regular basis through our weeks, checking in and having these virtual conversations with people but also starting to scale them up and doing much bigger events.
So consider whether you’re going to give away tickets free, whether you’re going to charge tickets or whether it’s going to be a mix of it. And it’s the same challenge we have with our regular events. In a perfect world, we’re going to charge for them so that we generate income from that but obviously, then that discourages people from actually registering and people from attending. So the benefit of running free events is that you capture email addresses, you build these leads but also what free events do is they build your numbers. And remember, one of your sources of income is sponsors for these events. So to actually put it out as a free event and call in more people, more registered people, that can then be more attractive in driving income from your sponsors.
So there’s no right answer here but with most of our events what we have is a mix of it. We have our paid tickets which we make some of our income on but we’ll also send out free tickets to people we’re trying to get in. we’ll also run contests and things like that. And we’ll also actually reach out to groups, umbrella bodies and companies and say, “Would you like to buy a bulk of tickets, you know? Buy 10 tickets and we’ll give you 10 free and then you can hand them out to your clients in whatever way you see fit.” So just like regular events, there’s a mix of ways we can do this but we want to find the balance between generating income and getting email addresses, getting people registered for this.
The weird thing about virtual events we found as well is that you need deadlines. So because there’s no capacity on these digital events which is a plus but because it doesn’t sell out, people tend to leave it to the last minute. And for most of our events, we get . . . most of our ticket sales come on the day of the event which is obviously a massive pain in the butt and not very helpful for our planning. So what we can do or what you can do to alleviate that in your event is set up deadlines, set up early birds. So the price is going to go up on this date even if it’s just a little bit and then what you’ll see is a rush for people registering before the early bird finishes. Offering incentives, telling them if they register, they’ll get access to something in the meantime. So creating kind of urgency there where we don’t traditionally have it because it doesn’t sell out. We have to think about our own urgency, our own deadlines so that people get their skates on and actually pay this money.
How you sell the tickets? One of the most popular platforms is Eventbrite and it’s a pretty good platform. They charge you for every ticket that you sell. You might already have E-commerce or some sort of shop or donation facility. I hope you have a donation facility on your website. So again, talk to your web people about adding ticket sales to that, adding or processing donations through it so that people get access to your events. If you already have an E-commerce solution in place on your website, that might be all you need and it might be the cheapest option for you. But otherwise, Eventbrite and lots of other vendors out there provide them. We run it through our own website using something. But then for our clients as well we’ll also process tickets if they want us to.
And just to flag on that again, most of them charge a percentage. Some of them charge a fixed fee and a lot of them charge a mix of that. So you’re charging a fixed fee to use the service and then you’re paying a percentage of every ticket that you sell. But things like Eventbrite, things like us who only charge you per ticket sold, they can be really good solutions because it gets rid of the risk. You know, there’s not necessarily any outlay before you launch this event. But with all these things, with fundraising, with sales, with everything I always say that it’s always harder than you think and whatever you think you’re going to sell, I always recommend that you halve it and then I generally halve it again. I’m very pessimistic in every walk of my life. And it’s the same thing in terms of targets. These things are always going to be harder to sell than you think. But they can still be sold very well.
Nikki: So just, you know, quickly on this section. I have been going through trying to reply to people’s questions in the question and answer box because there is a lot coming through there and like I say, what we can’t cover on today’s webinar, please catch up with us after and we’ll be more than happy to answer them for you. But when it comes to running a virtual event, the difference between, you know, running a virtual event and just running a webinar where you can’t see anybody or, you know, you’re just playing a video that you’ve had lying around for ages, it’s all about the engagement. And this is the beauty of doing it online. You know, you can have that connection with people.
So when you are hosting something, even if you are playing something that’s prerecorded, make sure that you do have some live element to that. I don’t know if Simon’s mentioned already because like I say, I was typing it as he was talking but there is software out there already where you can line up your prerecorded videos and you can just instantly cut between the live segments and the prerecorded. That’s how we do it on Fundraising Everywhere. And then that just really keeps their intention engaged.
Our fundraising conference was 12 hours long so that we could do it over multiple time zones and there were people that actually stuck with us for the full 12 hours because we were engaging with their comments that they were putting into the chat boxes and we were reading them out, we were using the names of, “Hi, Elaine and Heather. Thank you for your comment.”
You can run contests through your events as well. Like I say, you can just do that on the tools that exist already. You know, you can do it on your Facebook Donate, you can do it on your own pages, you can send them something out afterwards, you can connect it to external tools as well. So there’s this great company in the UK called GivePenny and you can actually fundraise through Spotify. So when you’re doing your runs, you know, virtually and then you’re coming back to Facebook and you’re sharing your content on there, you can actually connect it to donate that way. It’s all about sharing.
Like what we’ve got to remember, our supporters are probably at home just with their friends and family, were told not to interact and mingle at the moment. So again what we need to do is kind of get that idea out of our heads of like getting a group of people together. We’re trying to create that same community and connectivity on social media which people are doing already. So let’s just tap into that.
Share your pictures, share your videos. Most importantly, make sure that you have somebody at your organization who’s online to engage with that because it will be rapid so make sure that someone can go on, you know, say, “You’re amazing. You know, here’s a photo from us.” You know, maybe have some graphics that you’ve knocked up already from Canada or in fact, a video of yourself at home, you know, just saying, “Yay, congratulations, well done.” Just again, anything that you can use to create that human element.
If you are hosting something live, you can send them a private link away from the public link that they will usually get and you can actually bring them onto screen as well and have conversations with them. And again, you know, if there are people in there . . . we do that on our events if there’s someone in the chat box who’s really engaged. We’ll just send him a private message with a link and say, “Hey, do you want to come on and talk to us one on one now?”
We’ve mentioned already about the beauty of a host, the person that can just keep the conversation going, move everything along. Especially if you’re running an auction and there’s somebody there that can, you know, flag up the items on the screen and can monitor the chat box and just really has to have that energy about them that can really come across on the internet.
On the functions . . . on Fundraising Everywhere and on here obviously, you will have those functions where you’re able to chat with each other as well so do make use of those. And even though we can’t encourage people to have watch parties at the moment, again, you know, it’s socially conscious to do social distancing but people can still have watch parties and you can encourage your supporters and even your teams to gather together on a streamed event. You’re all there together. You can chat with each other privately and again, it’s just creating the sense of connectivity.
There’s an app called Houseparty which is being created to host multiple people in FaceTime calls rather than using things like WhatsApp. So just sign up to these platforms. See what they’re doing and think, “Actually, you know, how can I connect with this group of donors in this way?” So closed groups on Facebook tend to work very well. You know, you can replicate that in other areas. The only reason why I say Facebook is because like Simon said, we mustn’t assume that older people can’t use the internet because I think it is just genuinely more older people that are on Facebook at the moment and it has, you know, by far the most amount of social media users than any platform in the world. So if your supporters are going to be anywhere, it’s most likely to be there. And there’s just something about a group and just being able to connect and share with people that can really create that together.
And surprise and delight people. You know, and this comes through anything. So just send them something that they weren’t expecting. So I was just chatting with someone there in the question and answers box and they were going to do a sponsored dinner and instead, you know, they were going to host this virtually and they were thinking about ways to actually send the food to people which is . . . you know, it’s a great way to think about it. Logistically, if you’re on lockdown, how can that happen? But instead, why don’t you, as a team, you know, put together some of your favorite recipes that you share with your own family and share that with donors and say, “Hey, look, you know. Here’s something that I make with my family, from my family to yours in this time of need when we all need to connect together. I wanted to share this with you so that you can experience it in your own home.” And if you got that from a fundraiser and you were like, “Oh, my goodness. That’s just someone just like me. I feel connected to them.” It’s all about that relationship building and they won’t be expecting it and it will make a difference rather than just, you know, being the charity that goes, “Here’s a video of an advert that we did last year. Give us some money.” So you can see how it can make a difference.
Simon, this is you.
Simon: Sorry, I was talking. I forgot to unmute myself. Which is great timing for this.
Nikki: He has done this before. I know. Aren’t we supposed to be like doing a webinar on how to do like good online events? I’m going to have to fire you.
Simon: Yeah, please do. I’m just distracted because there’s lots of questions going through and I’m tired. So the thing about these virtual events is you have to assume there’s going to be problems. I suppose like any real event but online, you know, we know with the technical side of it, most of us don’t have the knowledge to do it. And so when these problems come up, they can be a bit more lethal to our service. So we expect problems. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You know, one of the hosts might be an idiot and keep leaving his microphone muted. Doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s not the end of the world. But there can be problems that are going to critically damage your event and going to make it not happen.
So that’s part of why we recommend prerecording as much as possible. It’s to minimize that risk. It means there’s less problems. Speakers do turn up because they’ve already prerecorded. And just if your internet connection goes, if someone else’s internet connection goes, you can have these prerecorded videos available for people to go and access anyway. So usually what we’ll do with any event is we’ll have all the prerecorded stuff backed up onto YouTube with a private link or onto somewhere else where they can access it. So we know if our website goes down, if our connection goes down, if everything goes down, at least we can say, “Look, all the content is here.” They’re not going to get the hosting, they’re not going to get the experience but it’s not the end of days. You’re not talking about refunds because you can still send across a lot of the material. So that’s why we really love prerecording and we like to have our recordings at an alternative place to get them ready to go. It’s there sitting there coming into any event.
We prepare backup images, we prepare emergency emails, we prepare emergency social notifications so that if anything does go wrong, you’re not spending your time writing communications or trying to get in touch with people. You’re spending your time fixing and all the other stuff is ready to go.
So it’s about being prepared and letting people know where to look beforehand. So if they . . . you know, letting them know if there is a problem, keep an eye on your email or if there is a problem, keep an eye on your phone and we’ll let you know or go to this particular location. Just communication with people. You know, again, people are very understanding of the problem if you’re open and you’re transparent with them. So don’t be afraid of problems but be prepared because when they come up, you’re going to be so stressed, you’re going to be all over the place. The last thing you need to worry about is also getting these messages ready to go out to people.
We also want to consider the call to action which is one of the most important bits on this. Is this you, Nikki? Is that why you’re smiling?
Nikki: Yeah, yeah. You’ve done it a few times. But it’s all right. [inaudible 00:57:16].
Simon: Oh, my God. Nikki is going to kill me today. I’m driving her nuts today.
Nikki: And so I’ll carry on answering these questions.
Simon: All right, thank you. So obviously, as nonprofits or any business or any organization, you know, you’re looking for people to take action. You’re looking for people to donate. You’re looking for them to sign up. You’re looking for them to share or recommend to a friend. And one of the things about online is presents a lot of great opportunities to implement those calls to action that we wouldn’t necessarily have offline. So you can show videos within your stream. You know. sometimes in our events we’ll show little commercials, we’ll show little calls to actions, we’ll have actual segments in there which are really encouraging people to take a certain action.
You can have captions flashing up on your screen. So without breaking the beat of people speaking or without breaking the program, you can flash up and give discount codes, tell people to go somewhere, tell people to do some action. All the stuff we see on TV in terms of how they advertise and engage with us during a show, it’s the same thing that we can bring into our own live streams. So we don’t want to annoy people but there’s little call to actions we can have in there.
So consider what you want people to do. Do you want them to buy a ticket for the next event and are you giving them a discount code to do that? Do you want people to make a donation to you? Do you want people to share this and get more people watching it? You know, like all fundraising, we have to spell it out to our audience and we have to hold their hand through the process.
For most of our events, we have a chat box underneath the broadcast. So you have the video and then underneath you have a chat box where people can communicate with each other, can ask speaker questions, can just chat. And usually, our hosts of that particular event or ourselves will be in there also promoting things. So if the speaker mentions a particular book, we’re going to have a link ready to go of where they can buy that book. If someone mentions a particular resource, we’re going to make sure we can send that or give people the link to download that resource.
So that’s what our job is in the backend is to make sure these things are all going through. The point of these things is to convert people, is to raise money, to continue a relationship with them. And so we have to use these calls to actions.
We have emails going out before, during and after events and then we’re looking at other ways that we can engage people and give them a call to action. Even stuff that’s outside of the broadcast, even outside of their computer. What other ways can we interact with people to do it? Like I said, think about what you’d love to do and then more than likely, there’s a tool out there that will allow you to do it. So let’s work it out that way.
Nikki Bell, you are follow up, aren’t you? Or is this me?
Nikki: Yeah, yeah, cool. So importantly, obviously, when you’ve done your virtual events, don’t just log off and leave it there. One hundred percent follow up with people. Obviously, have this lined up so it feels really slick. You know, they’ve logged off and then a couple of minutes later, you know, a video drops into their inbox and it’s you saying, you know, “That was absolutely fantastic. We really appreciate everything that you’ve done. Please, you know, give to this page, sign up to this, you know, host your own.” Especially if you’re doing things like runs or coffee mornings. Anything like that online. Obviously, what we’re trying to do is get that vibe of peer to peer going. So it’s like, “Well, you’ve done this with us. Now do your own.” And then encourage those people to do their own and just have it like this report, a fact.
Definitely send them your recordings afterwards. I believe you are getting this after this as well so Bloomerang are all over this definitely because again, you know, a lot of people, they have busy lives. They’re distracted at the moment. They might have kids at home with them. So they will want to catch up in their own time and that’s obviously the added value of virtual event because, you know, you can just watch it whenever you want.
We’ve mentioned before that on Fundraising Everywhere we like to keep in touch with people with bonus events, so we run a fundraising every week through our mailing list. So every Tuesday we send a free fundraising tip. We do video content as much as possible. We do socials. We have a virtual karaoke in a couple of weeks. We have clinics where people could come on and just, you know, ask their questions and just chat about fundraising. So we’re doing all of this and then obviously when it comes to a point where you have this big quality event, then obviously you can ask for the money and we only do that at like 55 euros. It’s still quite low value but of course with fundraising and often case it is, you know, larger volumes of lower value amounts.
Because that’s something that we’ve got to remember as well with our virtual events. There is still that perception from people whether rightly or wrongly that it is kind of like a lower quality of something that they would get in person and in some cases, that might be right. So I was just in the middle of replying to somebody there who’s, you know, trying to replicate a feeling of a gala at home and truthfully, I’m not sure if you will be able to completely do that. But what we’re trying to do in this instance is connect with people at this time in the best way we can so you’re not encouraging them to still get dressed up and host a dinner with the people that they live with and share that experience with you.
It’s all about experiences now. It’s all about connecting with people via the internet in their own homes and I think people are open and susceptible to that because we are feeling a bit vulnerable. We are craving a bit of connectivity and normality. That’s what we’re trying to tap into. We’re not trying to create, you know, this feeling of this five star . . . five course meal sort of thing. It’s just all about connecting people in that great fundraiser way that we do.
And make sure as well, you know, that you are keeping that content going just to keep in touch with them throughout.
Simon: Nice one. So we are coming to the end and I know there’s so many questions that we haven’t got to. So depending on how Steven wants to run this, we can stick around for a little bit and answer some questions or if we haven’t answered your question in the inbox, please email us or get in touch. There we are. There’s our Twitter handles. Nikki is @CharityNikki. I am @ToastFundraiser. There is the Fundraising Everywhere email address which is [email protected] So if anyone has any of these questions that we haven’t tapped into, do send them across and we’ll answer them as quickly as we can. As you can imagine, we’re quite busy but we’ll come back as soon as we can.
And just for anyone who wants to kind of have a sneak at some of the stuff we do, we’ve just given a code there. Hopefully, Steven won’t mind. But any friend of Bloomerang’s is a friend of ours so we’ve given you 20 euros off if you use the coupon code Bloomerang on fundraisingeverywhere.com. You’ll get 20 euros off anything. So you can register for the conference, you can . . . that’ll be enough to cover one of the trainings or your first month’s membership. So you can use it on anything and just have a nose around and see how we do things. You might love it and you might want to copy some of it or talk to us about working together or you might just be inspired and steal it and do whatever you want and we’re fine with that as well.
But we really encourage you. This is a great opportunity for all of us. It’s difficult times but it’s an opportunity to do something really cool and really that’s not been done before online and start to engage your audience and a new audience that we, you know, we otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have done. So have the confidence to mess around, to try it. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Make your mistakes. People are going to appreciate the effort and they’re going to appreciate your connectivity with them. Nikki, any other thoughts?
Nikki: Yeah, that’s fine.
Simon: Oh, that’s fine.
Nikki: All of that’s amazing. Thank you.
Simon: That’s what she says when she’s not listening to you.
Nikki: No, I’m still just typing. Everything that Simon said . . . you know, definitely get in touch with us. That’s us there, email address there. You know, I don’t know. Steven, can we hang about for a bit and just answer some of the questions?
Steven: Oh, yeah. I will hang out with you guys for hours. You tell me when you want to stop because this has been good for me, just for my soul, listening to you and seeing your faces finally after so many months so . . .
Simon: All right. Do you want do like 5 or 10 minutes of working through the questions?
Steven: Yeah, why don’t we do 5 or 10? One thing . . . I made a note. I was making lots of notes actually. I got a full page of them. But the biggest thing I heard from you two was don’t try too hard to completely recreate exactly what you were doing in person, right? So I know you’ve been answering questions like mad but I saw a lot of people saying, “Well, we have, you know, a fancy black-tie gala. We had to cancel it.” What, you know . . . kind of reiterate if you don’t mind, you know. You can’t really create a black-tie gala online or can you? Is there some way to maybe have some fun with that concept? What do you think?
Nikki: I mean, you can definitely have fun with it. I think if you’re trying to . . . I say gala, gala. I say gala.
Steven: I’m not sure.
Nikki: Like yeah. I mean, and again, I think just in the times that we are, I think just that authentic reaction to it of saying, you know, “We can’t do this right now. We promise we will, you know, have this experience for you in the near future. However, like here’s just a fun way for us to connect together at the moment and do it. You know, put you, you know . . . ” Gone over it already, you know. Put your glam rags on and host a dinner and like share it with us. And like we say, it’s all about those experiences. There are great tools where you can send like virtual gifts to people which might be a nice way to, you know, add like a layer of prestige to it. Especially if you do have like a high value crowd. So in the UK, we have this app called Hug where you can like send an email to people and obviously when we’re allowed outside again, you know, you can redeem that for flowers or cupcakes in posh bakeries. Like things like that. And I know that equivalents do exist in the U.S. but I’m not sure of the name. I can find that out.
But I think at the moment it’s just all about connecting and getting through. And it’s on platforms as well that people are already using. And like I say, definitely check out and look at those companies that are doing it already that can help you virtualize your existing events but again, it’s going to be a different element of it because I think what people have done before is they’ve just streamed from a physical event. And we can’t do that now. So it’s new times. And I think these times are going to exist for a long time and we just need to adapt and test different things as well. Just because you start off one way doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. You know, if your first virtual dinner sucks, just do it again in a different way and get feedback from people about what they would actually like. You know, people are open to that when you ask for advice.
Simon: Yeah, I think we’re in like a really interesting weird space where if you’re, for example, organizing a black-tie dinner, you can’t replicate it online. But at the same time, you don’t necessarily have to throw it out because there’s some cool stuff you can do only online. So something like a gala dinner. You might consider moving it to a dinner where people make their own dinner but you provide the recipe and you talk them through it and everyone’s aiming to make it at the same time and there’s a bit of a community there and then, you know, you sit at your virtual table and you watch something together or you chat to each other. And then suddenly, you can have Bruce Springsteen performing on it because you’re just streaming YouTube or something like that. You know, so it’s like you can take like the best elements of it but let’s also try and find the best of elements online that we couldn’t do offline. And we have like a whole new space here to play with that hasn’t really been done. We’ve seen online stuff but I think we’re going to start to see innovation and changes that just we never even considered before.
Steven: Love it. Can you all talk a little bit about sponsors and maybe some of those businesses that may have been engaged as the caterer, you know, the table linens and all of that stuff? Certainly, the restaurants are feeling the pinch as well. Is there a way to maybe get them involved that’s not . . . that’s tasteful I guess is the best word.
Simon: Yeah. yeah, I think it’s . . . I’d be curious to hear what Nikki says about this, but I think there’s some sponsors who were doing really well and are now really going to struggle. You know, already we’ve seen layoffs. We’ve seen people who just don’t want to commit to this stuff. So I think we have to acknowledge there’s a whole chunk of the sector out there who are just not going to touch us at the moment. Yeah, they might get involved, they might volunteer, they might attend but they’re not necessarily going to be giving us money at the moment because things are so uncertain.
Having said that, there is a whole chunk of businesses who are doing really well at this. You know, places like Zoom. Their share prices have gone up. And, you know, delivery services are maybe going to be more successful than restaurants and catering services at the moment. So we need to kind of shift our view into thinking, “Okay, who’s managing here and who’s trying to tap into this audience?”
But we know for our own events in the last week we’ve seen a big shift of sponsors who have lost their physical events because all the physical events are being canceled. They don’t have anything to sponsor. And so suddenly, they have to spend their budget, their money somewhere else and they get a lot more for their buck online than they sometimes do offline. So actually, we’re having conversations with people who . . . whereas they were sponsoring one real life conference, they now want to sponsor three or five virtual events because they can afford it compared to the real life stuff.
So there’s definitely opportunities here. We have to be tactful and we have to understand that people are being hit hard. All of us are being hit hard in some ways but then there are sectors and there are industries where this is their target audience. They’re trying to get to people in their home. They’re trying to get to people who are expecting delivery or who can’t get out to work, who are looking for other things to do.
So it’s like everything, you know. There’s lots of negatives and we have to understand them but then there are positives and it’s . . . you know, the people who are going to succeed in their fundraising are the ones who identify those positives.
Steven: I love it. I’m glad you said that because there are so many opportunities out there in the midst of all this. A few people are asking about, you know, “Should we ask for donations now?” And I don’t know how you two feel but I feel like yes, ask. Right? I mean, this is an interesting moment we find ourselves in where people . . . there’s so much generosity going around. We were talking before we started at least here in Indy at least if that’s indicative of everywhere else but people seem to be feeling philanthropic. So thinking of your call to action slide, you know, what would you say to people who are maybe wringing their hands a little bit about actually asking for money or help?
Simon: Yeah, we’ve had this conversation a lot over the last week and generally, what we’ve been saying is, you know, again, we have to acknowledge there’s a big chunk of our dataset and our mailing lists who are in trouble now. Like they . . . you know, they’re worried, they’re scared, they’ve maybe lost their jobs, they’re homeschooling when they weren’t expecting to. Things like that. And so, you know, I understand people’s hesitation to ask and worry but I think there’s a way to do it. I think what we need to be doing right now is communicating. And so I think this presents a great opportunity to reach out across the borders and tell them what we’re doing, you know, what the changes in our organization, how are nonprofits affected and saying to them, “Look, we understand we’re all going through this but if you felt you’re in a position to help us, this is why we need money and we need money because our cleaning costs have gone up or because there’s a, you know, there’s a problem with our supply chain or people can’t get to us.” One of my clients just sent an appeal because they’ve had to move stuff online and there was a cost involved in that, you know. They didn’t really know how to do it. So they’ve asked people to help them move some of their services online. And that’s a real tangible, good ask as long as we respect the fact that we can also say to them, “Look, we understand as well if this isn’t the right time for you and things are uncertain. You know, no pressure but we’re just going to keep communicating with you.” I mean, you and I have been talking on Twitter, Steven. Like I got two emails from Krispy Kreme. You know, Krispy Kreme updated me twice about what’s happening about COVID-19. And then some of the nonprofits that I love, I haven’t heard from once.
Steven: Nothing. Yeah.
Simon: You know, so I think communication is the key here. People are interested in this, people want to know how things are affected, people are interested to hear things that they hadn’t thought of. So if you’re not sending something out to your mailing list, I think you’re missing the trick.
Steven: You said it. Yeah, I had 11 monthly donations. Haven’t heard from any of them but I got an oil change like nine years ago and I heard from those folks so . . .
Simon: Yeah, did you? Yeah. How’s your oil change going to be affected?
Steven: Right. I don’t know. I have to do it myself I guess.
Steven: Any last thoughts? I’ll let you have the last words here. I know you were answering questions in the chat. And definitely follow these two on Twitter because they’re super active and obviously they’re beautiful human beings who will talk to you and have a lot of knowledge. So any parting thoughts, folks?
Simon: That’s sweet. Well, I want to say thanks to Nikki for being better on the questions and being tolerant of me who is not with it today.
Steven: Seems to be the MVP for sure. I saw her typing.
Simon: But yeah. I mean, again, apologies as we didn’t get to all the questions, but I would say tweet your question at us. Then we’ll answer it. Or email your question at us and we’ll answer it. You know, we love talking fundraising. We love helping people. You know, if we can work together, that’s great but that’s not why we’re doing this if we can just increase fundraising and help charities get through this, then me and Nikki will be happy. Nikki?
Nikki: Yeah. I would also like to end on a note of positivity that yes, it will be difficult and yes, there will be people who will be more conscious of their spending but there will be people out there who love you, who love your organization and want to see you succeed and it’s just about giving them a sensitive ask with the right ask at the right time. Obviously, this is where support relationships come in really, really handy but people will . . . there are people that do want to give, that will want to give. So just give them a way that they can get to you in a way that’s right for the moment.
And importantly as well, obviously we’re thinking about what we can do right now. It’s very important to think beyond, you know, this next month. How is your charity going to cope? In the UK, you know, we are expecting a recession. So my most important piece of advice would be yes, think about what you could do now but please forward plan and because this is going to impact us for a while. And please stay in touch because we would, you know, love to help you and see you through. And thank you, Steven, for asking us to come on.
Steven: Oh, no. don’t thank me. I mean, I said in the intro but I asked these awesome people a week ago to do this. They said yes, short notice. They are super busy. So they were very gracious enough to do this. So thank you, thank you both of you for doing it. You filled the room. I had to turn people away. I feel bad about it but we’ll send them the recording. We’ll send all you the recording. This was awesome. Thanks, you two. This was really a bright spot in my week so thanks for being here.
Simon: Thanks, Steven. Can I just answer two questions really quickly?
Steven: Yeah, go for it.
Simon: I’ve seen this one come up a couple of times, someone asking about alternating between prerecorded and live feed. That’s a great question. So there’s lots of tools that will do that online but actually the easiest way often to do it is through screen share. So when you share your screen, you actually share your prerecorded video. And so that’s just like a little starter up tip that rather than showing a PowerPoint presentation, you go over to your prerecorded video and press play. And that way you can mix prerecorded and live. That’s a really simple beginners’ way to do it. It works great. But then there’s other services that’ll do it a bit more professional too as you get bigger. Someone said about should they be doing a 50th reunion that only comes around once. Absolutely. Absolutely, I think that’s a perfect opportunity to do a 50th reunion, something like that. I think there’s great scope here for everything. But yeah, sorry. I just had to answer those because right now people are getting annoyed with us not answering.
Steven: Those were good.
Simon: Thanks for having us, Steven. Steven, we love you. I love Steven. He is my brother from another mother.
Steven: That’s right.
Simon: So thanks for having us. It’s great. All these things Bloomerang are doing around this so quickly. So thanks for putting them on.
Steven: Oh, we’re having fun. I mean, we love it.
Simon: I heard Sean Triner was excellent.
Steven: Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah. He was . . . he started the week off strong and you all ended it on a high note too. And we’re going to keep it going. We’ve got Tuesday. I think it’s the 24th. Yeah, Tuesday. Our buddy, Erica. She’s kind of the queen of monthly donors. She’s going to come on and talk about what you can do right now for your monthly donors specifically. Important group and your database for sure. And we planned that a few months ago but Erica was gracious enough to reformat it a little bit for what’s going on now. So register for that one. Again, totally free. We’ll record it if you can’t make it. I know things are a little busy right now. But check it out if you’re able. And we’ve got lots of other sessions on our webinar page. We’ve got some definitely timely topics coming up.
So thanks to all of you for hanging out. I know it went a little long but to me, it was worth it. I enjoy going long so no problem. But we’ll call it a day there. I’m going to email the recording and the slides just as soon as it gets done processing behind the scenes. I’ll get that out this afternoon. I promise.
Nikki: I just want to point out that someone has networked in the chat box as well and they’re going to connect. So see? In virtual it still works. Well done, Deb.
Steven: I just . . . I was loving seeing the chat, yeah. People were interacting. Yeah. Exchange contact info. And hopefully, we’ll see you again. So stay safe this weekend, stay warm. And, you know, we’re all in this together so hopefully we’ll see you again next week. Take care, guys.
Simon: Thank you.