| 4 min read

How to Effectively Present and Fundraise in a Virtual Setting

In this day and age, the advancements in technology have pushed nonprofit organizations to have to get creative when it comes to fundraising. Especially with the recent COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the planet, organizations are moving towards a more virtual avenue for raising charity funds. Hosting fundraiser Zoom events has quickly become a great way for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for their cause. As reported by Zoom, “Zoom Events allows you to turn your Zoom Events into a fundraiser. This allows Attendees to directly make in-platform donations to verified nonprofit organizations during your Meeting or Webinar event. A live donor feed will be shown as well.”  To effectively host these events, it is important to know the key strategies of presenting well and the importance of having a personable presence. Fundraising is quickly taking on a prominent presence online. That is, people are more than happy to donate through digital fundraising events due to their convenience and ability to make people feel more connected to the cause.  In a recent What the Fundraising podcast episode, Heather Sager discusses her top suggestions for good communication. These tips include how to portray your authentic self, turning the conversion towards money, and how to use body language to your benefit, amongst other key recommendations.  Heather Sager is a renowned coach, speaker, and trainer who also happens to host her own podcast, The Heather Sager Show. Her expertise includes teaching prominent business owners and leaders about the art of developing a magnetic personality to effectively communicate and drive sales and fundraising.  During the podcast, Heather explained, “When you’re communicating to other people, you’re selling your ideas. The way that you’re explaining things to other people, you’re getting people to either agree or disagree with you.” As such, raising funds through virtual presentations isn’t as simple as just showing up and asking for money. Check out Heather and my top tips for effectively communicating in a virtual setting to compel viewers to donate to your cause: Key Virtual Communication Tips:
  • Make donating easy through Pledge
  • Step Outside Your Comfort Zone.
  • Don’t Expect Perfection From Yourself.
  • Be Authentic and Intentional.
  • Nonverbal Communication is Important, Too.
Make Donating Easy!  While there are so many options out there for online fundraising, nothing makes raising funds easier than Zoom. Especially due to the recent pandemic, most people are familiar with using Zoom as a mode of communication.  With the Pledge app, you can now give your donors an easy “Donate” button to click during your Zoom presentations! Instead of scrambling to figure out how to donate, people can quickly and conveniently donate right there in the Zoom call.  Now, people can click “Donate” when they feel compelled to do so rather than having to leave the call or even wait until the very end to figure out how to contribute. In addition, Pledge comes with a variety of other benefits, including:
  • The ability to conveniently donate without having to leave the Zoom call, 
  • A viewable fundraising goal right there on the screen for everyone to see,
  • An alternative donation option that allows people to donate through their text messages,
  • An honorary “I donated” virtual background that appears behind each person who donated,
Making the donation process seamless and convenient is a great way to raise even more money for your cause. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is a great way to build resiliency when it comes to doing hard things. Remember, the things we are most uncomfortable doing are probably the things we need to practice more.  For example, many people feel uncomfortable when it comes to asking others for money. This is understandable, especially since many of us are raised in an environment where it is considered rude to ask for money or to even discuss finances.  Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is the key to building resiliency and being able to enter into uneasy situations with ease and grace. When presenting virtually, people can sense when the presenter is uncomfortable or not confident. This can have a negative impact on your fundraising efforts.  Don’t Expect Perfection From Yourself. In our podcast episode, Heather Sager said, “Speaking, selling, and communication is simply a skill that’s a combination of technical components, but there’s also a lot of emotional components and feelings around communication, and that’s where it starts feeling a little messy.” Being a little messy in your virtual fundraising presentations is okay. In fact, people who are too calculated and perfect in their delivery can come off as robotic and perhaps a bit untrustworthy. By allowing yourself to be your imperfect and positive self, you are showing your viewers your true personality. This will allow donors to feel a personal connection with you and will encourage a willingness to help your cause. Be Authentic and Intentional. People can smell it when others aren’t being authentic. Before you choose to host a virtual fundraising event, connect with your core values and the reasons you believe in the cause you represent.  Ask Yourself These Questions:
  • Why is it important to raise money for this cause?
  • Why should people care about this particular cause?
  • Why do I personally feel compelled to raise money for this cause?
Pinpointing these “whys” will help you reconnect with your purpose and your authentic reasoning for raising money for this cause. During your presentation, viewers will be able to see that you genuinely care about the cause. In turn, this will make them care more, too. Nonverbal Communication is Important, Too. When we’re nervous or uneasy, our nonverbal communication tends to go by the wayside. That is, we often forget about body language when we are uncomfortable or are focusing too much on trying to make each that comes out of our mouth perfectly. As stated by Heather Sager, “When we speak, 7% of our message is the words we say, 38% is how we say it, and then 55% is the non-verbals and the body language.” It’s true. People are watching what we are doing just as much or more than they are listening to the message we are portraying. To maintain more open and positive body language, try to release the compulsion to be perfect. Forcing yourself into perfectionism will only make you more nervous. In addition, you’ll feel more relaxed if you allow yourself to just be authentically you. For more valuable information about important topics such as nonprofit management and fundraising, I would like to invite you to check out these helpful Resources

For more of my favorite fundraising tips and tricks, check out my Resource page! Here, you can find relevant articles, webinars, quizzes, etc. about fundraising in the nonprofit sector. In addition, you can subscribe to What the Fundraising for ongoing conversations about how you can fundamentally change the way you lead and fundraise. And to learn how to raise more from the right funders using the Power Partners Formula, you are always welcome to join one of my free Masterclasses at malloryerickson.com/free.

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