11 Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Everyone’s asking: How can I make my in-person event virtual and still ensure it’s a success?

We’ve all had to get creative to reach and engage our donors, as well as raise income, when we can’t physically host an event. Txt2Give has some tips for ways to move your in-person event to an online one.

Fundraising During and After the Era of COVID

Coronavirus has been disruptive for everyone (to say the least). Due to social distancing guidelines, many nonprofits have had to cancel or get really creative with their fundraising events. This has understandably put a lot of strain on many organizations that rely on fundraising income to operate.

Everyone’s asking: How do I make my in-person event virtual?

During this time, we’ve all had to get creative to reach and engage our donors, as well as raise income, when we can’t physically host an event. So before you cancel any events, consider whether or not you can turn it into something digital or virtual.

You could either turn an existing event into something virtual or create a completely new virtual event in its place. These virtual fundraising event ideas will help mitigate the loss of fundraising dollars, as well as keep your donors and participants engaged.

1. Live-Stream Event

With so many people social distancing, there are lots of opportunities for online video engagement. As some people work from home, and cabin fever starts to set in, they’ll be interested in connecting with people virtually.

You could also turn your planned fundraising event into a live-stream virtual event – inviting everyone to participate in your event on Facebook Live, Zoom, Instagram Live, and more. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and engage with one another as they normally would have at the event.

You can use any of these avenues to connect with your audience and raise money at the same time by giving out your Txt2Give giving number, or directing your audience to your donation page.

2. Webinar

Keep your supporters engaged digitally by inviting them to webinars.

This could be sessions with your CEO and board, interviews with your field workers/program staff and any initiatives where you have the potential to share information with your donors.

One of these initial webinars may be about how your organization is operating in the wake of COVID19, with further information about how your donors can stay engaged.

3. Virtual Race

Unfortunately, that 5K you were planning on this Summer is probably not going to happen. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a race! Encourage your community to run outside, or on their treadmill at home.

You’ll want people to sign up, possibly pay a registration fee, and have a date and time where everyone runs at the same time. This is best done as a peer-to-peer fundraiser, with participants seeking donations for the number of miles they run. You could also have participants run on their own for a specific timeframe leading up to “race-day” and log their miles, too.

Afterward, have a live-stream to celebrate your participants and give them the ability to connect with each other and hear from someone at your organization.

4. Virtual Bikeathon

Similar to a virtual race, you can set a virtual bikeathon!

Set a date and time and encourage participants to bike outside for a certain amount of hours or miles. Have them keep track of their miles and times. For those who have an exercise bike at home, you can also encourage them to, set up their laptop or mobile camera and cycle together.

This is best run as a peer to peer fundraiser as well, with participants seeking donations for the number of miles or hours they can cycle for. This can also be done in teams, so groups can fundraise together to increase the sense of community.

5. Virtual Hike

Climb out of the darkness is a virtual walking/hiking event where fundraisers can participate in any of the climbs in their own area- as a group or alone. This is a great example of a fundraiser that can still take place virtually.

A lot of people are stuck inside. A virtual hike is a great opportunity for individuals or families to get outside for a good cause. Most people have a trail somewhere near where they live, so encourage your peer-to-peer fundraiser participants to do their hike locally and share their amazing pictures on social media. Just be sure to suggest your participants stay aware of your surroundings and keep up social distancing- you don’t want too many people on a trail all at once (but they should be fine).

6. Online Auction

Setting up an online auction can actually be easier than a physical auction. Set up a page where all of the items available can be reviewed, and ideally bid on – you may want to use an online auction platform for this. Coordinate bids beforehand and then announce the winners via one of the other virtual events such as a live stream or webinar.

7. Virtual Tour

Our local Ronald McDonald house hosts a Cup O’ Cheer event every year. Some of the area’s most beautiful homes are decked out in the best Christmas decor. Attendees purchase a ticket and are allowed to tour all of the participating houses at their convenience. You can easily turn this same event into a virtual one. For the price of a ticket, people will simply be taken on a tour through the space via video or live-stream. This will help people still feel like they’re there, and connect them to your cause without needing to be there in person.

8. Virtual Movie Night

If we’re doing anything during this time, it’s watching a lot of movies. But, this doesn’t have to be done alone.

Set up a virtual movie night with Netflix Party! Encourage people to grab their favorite snack and join your Netflix party using a live-streaming link.

This allows all your participants to watch a movie at the same time with a chat window for people to share thoughts, jokes, and more. This is the perfect way to create a community and drive people to your Donation Page or they can simply use your Txt2Give giving number so they don’t miss a second of the movie.

They can easily register for your event and “purchase their movie ticket” by using your Txt2Give giving number or free branded donation page.

9. Virtual Conference

Did you have a conference planned that you had to cancel? No problem. Host a virtual conference event.

This could be a day-long series of talks and workshops, all hosted online where people can dial into the different events that are scheduled at specific times.

Here are a few kinds of speakers to consider:

  • Staff/Board – Have your Executive Director or Board Member talk about why the organization is so important to them.
  • Beneficiaries – Ask those who have benefited from your organization to share their own personal story about how their lives have been impacted.
  • Professionals – Have a popular professional (author, professor, psychologist, documentarian, etc) with expert knowledge about your cause give an informational talk.
  • Youth – Give a younger member of your community the opportunity to talk to the issue and how they’ve been impacted
  • Unrelated speaker – Have a standup comedian, yoga instructor, mindfulness coach, etc join for a fun activity.


These kinds of events can easily be run on a tool like Zoom. Don’t forget to make scheduled asks throughout the conference.

10. Online Concert

Unfortunately, concerts have ground to a halt, disappointing all of us music lovers and the musicians who entertain us. What’s everyone to do with all this free time now?

Why not do a virtual concert?

Depending on your area’s current guidelines, you could bring a few musicians together via a Zoom or do a Facebook Live event and host a concert or mini-festival benefitting your organization. These could all be streamed from home, and ask people to purchase a ticket to view. This is another great way of bringing people together who may be confined to their homes.

An additional bonus might be some behind the scenes or meet and greets with different band members – all online of course.

11. Virtual Happy Hour

With everything going on, it’s safe to say that things have been stressful, and it’s more important than ever to build relationships with donors and retain them. To help, consider launching a monthly series of virtual happy hours.

Ask your supporters to grab a glass of wine and join you to chat using GoogleHangouts, Zoom, or Facetime. In a casual setting, you can check on how your donors are doing, give them updates on your plans to navigate programming and fundraising during this time, and create a great space to unwind a bit.

Add a soft ask to donate monthly at the end of the session, and let them know the date of your next happy hour.

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Ready to get your virtual event up and running quickly, and with less stress?

Txt2Give helps you raise more money with less effort. We even offer same day setup! With our feature-packed, easy to use text giving platform and customized real-time fundraiser board, you can get started with virtual fundraising in no time. Contact us today to get started.

Virtual Fundraising Strategies That Work.

Need ideas for your virtual fundraiser? Grab our free download for some great, proven ideas to help reach your giving goals.

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