Today, a Q&A with Christopher Quereau on the New Frontier of Virtual Fundraising.The COVID-19 pandemic has left much economic uncertainty in its wake, with millions unemployed and businesses shuttered. One niche group that you may not have noticed this affects is nonprofits.
Vibrant Brands, a brand and marketing agency located in Albany, N.Y., has a long list of nonprofit clients. Christopher Quereau, founder of Vibrant Brands, has more than two decades of experience that spans work from New York City to the Capital Region and beyond.
In this Q&A, he provides insight on how marketing campaigns can take the lead for an economic rebound by nonprofits.
1. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the nonprofit world?
While many businesses have been able to keep their lights on , social gathering and entertainment – key ingredients for successful traditional fundraisers – are off the menu. Fundraisers continue to be canceled, plans for galas and award dinners are being shelved, and even the fate of future events are consistently uncertain. These events provide the necessary fuel for nonprofit activity.
2. Online events are very popular as people shift. Is this enough to keep nonprofits afloat?
Many nonprofits have moved to virtual events, but simply hosting a gala online is not likely to get you to your fundraising finish line. The desire to give is just one component of successful fundraising. Donors also look for social experiences that keep them connected to their peers and the organizations they support.
During social distancing, how can organizations deliver value and encourage giving? Vibrant Brands has a solution – Add rich, experiential components to your virtual event. Airbnb recently unveiled a new service in response to the pandemic’s chilling effect on the hospitality and vacation industry. Instead of acting as an exchange for lodging sharing, the company has launched Online Experiences, where users can attend a wine tasting, practice yoga with an Olympic athlete, take a painting class, and a host of other options — all delivered in a virtual yet engaging format. While any user can log in and enjoy these events solo, the experiences are perfect for groups.
3. What marketing strategy can be utilized to help nonprofits?
Consider creating a series of hosted small-form virtual events with hosts from your local community or around the world. Tour guides, bartenders, chefs, and others are available, with affordable per-participant pricing. Airbnb has a plethora of experiences available to browse through. You could sample some options, find experiences that would resonate with your audience, and then approach these tour guides with an offer to host your events.
Here are just a few ideas that could turn your virtual fundraiser into an exciting, and successful, experience:
· Wine Tasting – Imagine sending a few wines to attendees and then a virtual date where a sommelier guides the attendees through the selections.
· Classical Home Tours – Make a moveable event, a virtual one. Highlight architectural gems, and bring attention to historical preservation, too.
· Virtual Bartender – Video conferencing happy hours are increasingly popular, but they are rarely executed with the precision of a professional cocktail artist. Your attendees will love tips on how to make their favorite libations at home, and they’ll enjoy the social interaction and special attention they receive from the host.