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Four steps for creating a virtual fundraiser

Steven Hadt | Aug 19, 2020

 

The need for social distancing continues to impact fundraising plans for Kiwanis clubs around the world. But the needs of the community remain. Without the funds raised by those events, many community needs will remain unmet.  

However, nearly all in-person fundraising events can be done online, says Anna Wu, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Hacienda Heights. Wu has chaired virtual fundraisers for several Kiwanis clubs since social distancing orders went into effect.

“Whether we’re at home, apart or together, we’re always making a difference. That’s what Kiwanis is doing every single day,” Wu said.  

On the August 12 Lunch with a Leader Kiwanis video series, Wu detailed the four-step process she uses to help guide her planning for virtual events.

Step 1: Decide the details of the event.  
Pick the date, time and kind of event you want to have. Some options that have worked well for other Kiwanis clubs include wine tastings, painting nights, cooking class, walk-a-tons and virtual auctions.

Step 2: Create a way for people to sign up.  
A simple Google Form may be all you need to collect the attendees’ contact information. Other options include Eventbrite or Facebook Events.  

Step 3: Publicize your event.  
Let people know how they can participate and pay the registration cost.

For one event, Wu teamed up with a local wine shop where participants could pick up the supplies needed for “Wine Night.” During the 60-minute virtual event, a wine expert from the shop went through the descriptions of the four half-bottles of wine, noting the flavors and profiles of each of the samples — just as the expert would have done if the participants were together in a room.

“It can be a little logistic-heavy in the beginning,” Wu said, “but once you have everything figured out, it just all falls into place.”

Step 4: Send the link to participate.  
Once the person pays, send them the link they need to participate virtually and instruct them how to pick up the supplies.

Wu says she’s talked to clubs that have made more money with virtual events than in-person fundraisers. There are fewer expenses such as facility rental or food. “There’s no chance of losing money because you’re only buying supplies for the people who have signed up,” she said.

Since people are getting accustomed to interacting with each other on Zoom, Wu finds there hasn’t been a problem getting people to participate in a virtual fundraiser — especially when she connects the event with its purpose.

“You want to make sure people know why they’re spending this money — to help kids achieve another level of literacy, help them stay safe or prevent injuries,” she said. “The purpose is just as important as the event.”

Wu’s last piece of advice is to have fun and create events that interest the club and community.

“While we are apart, it’s important for us to be together in the same environment, doing the same thing,” she said. “During our virtual fundraisers, we’ve been fortunate enough to recruit two new members because they enjoyed our interaction and they wanted to make a difference in the community.”

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