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Virtual Events May be the Solution to 2020's Toughest Challenges


This year more than half of all US charities report that they will fall short of their 2020 fundraising goals. This is largely due to many organizations canceling their single biggest fundraiser in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, there is still hope. Novel technologies and new approaches to virtual fundraising showed remarkable promise in 2020.


Nonprofit leaders reported decreased revenue due to pandemic restrictions and limited donor engagement to be their toughest challenges in 2020. However, organizations that utilized virtual engagement strategies were able to successfully combat these challenges. Nonprofits that incorporated virtual events in their 2020 campaign were more likely to meet and even exceed fundraising goals. New findings by OneCause show over 70% of organizations who hosted an online event this year reported it to be a financial success while also furthering the mission of their organization. Nonprofits that were able to meet fundraising goals this year had many of the following strategies in common.

  • Events with live and prerecorded content

  • Smartphone and tablet accessible events and campaign materials

  • Social media engagement strategies

  • Regular video calls with constituents

  • Crowdfunding opportunities

  • Creative donation options

These new approaches will likely cause permanent changes to the fundraising landscape with more than half of development teams planning on continuing to incorporate these virtual strategies in their 2021 campaign regardless of the state of the pandemic. Disruption of the norm is so often a cause for growth. Could 2020 be the year that revolutionizes the fundraising landscape?

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