The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Event Fundraising ft. Glen Fladeboe

This week we are joined by one of the most successful event fundraising auctioneers in the business, Glen Fladeboe! He tells us the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of virtual fundraising, and shares some tips and tricks to help make your next event great. You won’t want to miss it!

Did a lot of people cancel gala events and fundraisers due to the pandemic?

We saw clients cancel. We saw a lot transition. Experts across the country say one thing – the worst thing you can do is nothing. The non-profits that didn’t go forward, I do think they regret it. They should’ve engaged, should’ve moved forward. And you have to share your mission and you message. We’ve done over 125 virtual events now, and I think the business will do a couple hundred next year.

How have layoffs this year effected fundraising as a whole?

There’s no doubt fundraising was more challenging this year. That said, especially for upper midwest clients, or Minnesota clients, if you ask me the top lines of our results in 2021, it is that we did well, we raised a lot of money, partnerships were string, the net revenue in virtual events in many cases is higher than at in-person events and in a difficult economic environment we’ve raised a lot of money. And the credit goes to the community. Good people wanna make a difference, they are showing up they are not abandoning their non-profits. The human spirit is remarkable.

What are mistakes you’ve seen in virtual fundraising?

The biggest mistake anyone make in a virtual event is not having a pre-engagement strategy with their core donors. Communicate with donors. But for all the great things about the virtual world, some are not as great. You can’t always rely on your donor coming into the virtual space because it’s not live. You need a comprehensive strategy going into the event. Other than that, you have to be aggressive in reminding your audience that tonight is the virtual event to drive attendance. Not just in the months before but in the 72 hours before as well.

What are things that have gone well?

One benefit of a pandemic is that everyone can online shop. They have time and we have seen robust bidding on silent auctions. We did see a dip in value on those signature items. But now, with the vaccine closer we have seen more bidding on that, and there is a pent-up demand for the items like that. The online bidding and shopping is robust. And people are also using auctions as a window to new relationships. The silent and live auction is more than a revenue tool, it’s a relationship tool.

What are tips/tricks for producing a great event for next year?

What we know about fundraising is transferable. But the world will always now have an online audience for these larger events. Hybrid events are where events are going and that is the big next step. We cannot close the door for casting the message online after a year like this. All events will have an online element.

Final thoughts?

To the event industry, when looking at the future, you will need a professional partner. It is important that online and hybrid events are done well. Non-profits will need professional partners.

About the Author
Event and Video Production

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: