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5 Fall Virtual Fundraising Ideas For Your Nonprofit

Children in Halloween costumes are on their way to a fall fundraising event.

Now that your nonprofit organization is beginning to find its footing in the virtual fundraising world, you need some new and creative ideas, especially for the fall season. Fall is a particularly giving time, as most communities celebrate a bountiful harvest by sharing a traditional feast with family and friends. Thanksgiving is a holiday that inspires gratitude, which in turn inspires giving. In his article, “Pay it Forward,” Robert Emmons writes, “Gratitude is more than a pleasant feeling; it is also motivating.”

Every nonprofit should plan on virtual fundraising becoming a lasting part of its fundraising efforts in the future. A member of Forbes Nonprofit Council said: “Practice delivering quality virtual events while everyone expects it, so you will do it well after Covid-19.” Quality is the key to executing successful virtual fundraising. Donors will be more inclined to participate and donate online when your events are well managed.

The Blackbaud Institute found that online giving grew 21% in 2020 and they project this trend to continue. Now is the time to fill your nonprofit’s calendar with quality virtual fundraising events to encourage online giving.


Here are 5 Fall Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Your Nonprofit:


1. Hold a virtual Thanksgiving dinner tutorial

Every year, The Food Network holds a live event where their chef personalities demonstrate techniques for cooking Thanksgiving dinner dishes, while answering viewer questions. Your organization could hold a similar virtual fundraising event this fall with a local or celebrity chef.

Raise money by selling tickets to the live stream event. Increase donations by offering tiers or levels that allow the donor to ask the chef a specific question.

Zoom has made hosting streaming events easy by adding a donation button to their platform. Organizations can then require an additional donation if participants would like to ask the chef a specific question.

2. Build donor relationships with a Halloween costume contest

A costume contest is the perfect virtual fundraising event for fall because people love to show off their Halloween costumes. Request a donation in lieu of an entrance fee. Offer prizes for various categories, such as: the scariest, the punniest, the best pop culture reference, the most timely, and the best group ensemble. Create categories for both kids and adults to encourage everyone to be involved.

Feature the best costumes on your website, your social media channels, and/ or in a newsletter, and then ask people to show their support to all the participants with a donation. This encourages giving, while also creating a bond amongst donors.

Pro tip: Social media is a great way to conduct virtual fundraisers like costume contests. Have the participants post their costumes on social media with the hashtag of your choice, and then use your organization’s channels to reshare them. Social Butterfly can be its own category, recognizing the social media post with the most engagement.

3. Schedule an online evening with…

One problem with virtual events is that they may not feel very personal because the participants are at home. One way to change this is by holding private virtual events with bands, musicians, authors, or celebrities that are just for your donor base.

Scheduling an online evening with a personality that is intimate and allows participants to interact with the guest is always an effective virtual fundraising event. It is also a great way to show appreciation for your current donors by giving them first access to these events.

To further involve your donors, you can ask them for suggestions on who the celebrity guest should be. You can share a poll by email and on your social channels. This allows everyone to be involved – not just the donors who pay to attend the event. And don’t forget to post some snippets and photos on social once the event is over.

4. Build your donor database with a virtual concert this fall

Many organizations rely on concerts to raise money and add to their donor lists each year. The pandemic has abruptly ended these critical events. Luckily, many organizations have found success holding virtual concerts.

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has offered online concerts throughout the pandemic. The concerts were free, but were funded by donations.

Pro tip: Your organization can combine virtual fundraising forces with local symphonies and choirs. By connecting your cause to a virtual concert series, you will be benefiting both organizations by increasing awareness.


5. Host a fall virtual auction

Your organization can easily set up a virtual auction by creating a landing page on your website where items can be viewed and bid on. There are a few auction software platforms that can help you do this.

Send a newsletter to your email list to announce the auction and raise awareness for why your organization is holding the event. Connecting a virtual harvest concert to an online auction will increase awareness and encourage participation in both.

Encourage participation in the auction by planning to announce the winning bids during the live stream.


Fall virtual fundraising will create lasting donor connections

The ultimate goal of any nonprofit organization is to create a lasting relationship with its donors. Putting on quality virtual fundraising events in the fall will boost your planned gifts throughout the year.

These virtual fundraising events will make lasting connections with new donors, while keeping previous donors involved. This encourages them to continue supporting you for the years to come.


Learn more about how Donor Compass™ can help you build lasting relationships with your donors here.