These four mistakes can wreck your once in a lifetime event.
It’s taken lives, destroyed businesses, and trapped the rest of us at home. For those who’ve rallied, understanding one thing has been key. We need to find new ways and platforms to crowdsource our friends, supporters, and―for non-profits like you―donors.
At Flowmotion Studios, we’ve hosted dozens of virtual fundraising events, from dinners to massive shows that got the entire Jewish world talking. We’ve been constantly amazed by how many of these live streams were more successful than anticipated, with a ROI of 100s of times over, raising millions of dollars!
We’ve been through it all. And we’ve learned a lot of what to do AND what NOT to do.
Here’s the big takeaway: Cutting corners to “save money” can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
Looking back at this entire year of corona, here’s a list of the mistakes you should never make when planning your virtual event:
Over $35 Million raised! Watch Flowmotion highlights >>>
Mistake #1: Building your own website to avoid paying platform fees.
They sat in my studio in tears, reciting chapters of Tehillim and pleading that the enormous sum of money they invested wouldn't go down the drain.
The program was fantastic. Imagine the best singers, celebrities, a beautiful stage, lighting; they had it all.
Just five minutes before their live broadcast, their donation web page crashed! The servers could not handle the heavy traffic.
At the last minute, they directed the domain name to Youtube, but could not process any donations.
What a loss!
Mistake #2: Lack of campaign strategy and cohesion.
The planning for the show was exacting, the event was amazing. The viewers enjoyed it immensely.
All 5 of them.
Ok, kidding. Kidding.
Still, viewership was relatively TINY compared to the reach of the organization. Large donations were made, but minimal in number. Just tens of thousands of dollars were raised. Compared to what was invested and the expectations, this was a big disappointment.
Why did so few people watch the show?
Because there was no active awareness campaign to accompany the program. No ads driving viewers to the live event. Most people hadn’t even heard about it! No cohesive campaign existed to blast the news out across all social networks to excite and merge the various donor demographics.
Mistake #3: Skimping with a cheap video production company.
Ok, we all know you get what you pay for. Still costs can seem staggering at first. Why not save a little with someone who’ll charge less, right?
This campaign had amazing advertising, bringing in over a hundred thousand viewers at home. All the big name singers were there. Rabbanim. A stunning set.
You could already taste the popcorn. The ads promised a one-of-a-kind experience. Expectations ran high.
But, at home, all the viewers saw was shaky cam and tech glitches―and not in a cool, indie-horror film kinda way.
Although, the stats were just as scary.
Viewers were dropping like the Zombie Apocalypse and continuing to grow.
This feature is called a “PR Nightmare.”
Mistake #4: Ditching the professional virtual call operator.
Everything was almost finished.
They did it by the book. Task after task was completed. Our photography team took care of all the right angles and provided the perfect viewing experience.
And the viewership was enormous. Yay!!!
The show was highly emotional. Donations poured in. People knew where to give and why. Tears were shed.
And, even more tears when they began their Zoom interviews.
This was one thing they were unwilling to pay for: a professional operator for virtual interviewing.
Why is this a problem?
We do Zooms all day. In our pajamas! Before coffee. Often, with a dear volunteer operating the communications.
What could go wrong?
The first interview of the event featured a billionaire from South America.
He was an older man, and like many his age not as tech savvy. The interview went something like this:
“Do you hear me?”
“Do you see me?”
Unfortunately, he didn't see us and we didn't hear him and we had to end that virtual interview.
He was going to announce a donation of half a million dollars!
At least no one became a cat. But you can bet kittens were had with that missed opportunity.
I don't know what happened afterward, whether the organization managed to get that donation, but they can't help but feel they lost out on broadcasting that enormous investment.
It could have been one of the greatest moments of the event. A major philanthropist, who had the power to influence his friends and others to make big donations themselves, wasn’t able to say a single word.
Out of six interviewees, the MC managed to speak with just three of them. Three! The sixth demurred and said, “maybe next time.”
At a time when we cannot meet in person, when all programs are canceled, and the need for funding is even more critical than usual, the only way to show that you are still relevant is with a highly professional virtual event that will incorporate a full strategy and marketing to convert your viewers into donors.
A tip for those planning an event:
When you sit with your budget, add a line for, “What will happen if it doesn't work?” This way, you will decide where to invest and how you can save money on the things that don’t matter as much.
Good luck with your next event!
May you have abundant donations to help you bring more good into the world!
Get a professional, livestream production that will engage and impress your donors, and help you reach new donors, who’ve never given to you before!
Create an event that anyone can join! No matter where they are in the world.
Are you with us? Click here to launch your next live event with Flowmotion!
Bracha Torenheim studied communications, business management and marketing at the Ono academy. Today, she works with business owners and non profits to create visual and marketing content to mobilize the crowd.