Immersion into a New World Reality and Virtual Landscape
In a new world, where face-to-face fundraising events and revenue-building programs have been cancelled, ready or not, small non-profit and charitable organisations must embrace the challenge to engage through virtual connections. Yet, for organisations looking to host live stream or virtual fundraising events, effectively and affordably; there are numerous competing platforms to choose from; like Tiltify, DonorDrive and Be.Live, among many others. Making the right choice can be daunting.
However, the virtual challenge is well and truly here, the needs of charitable, community development organisations are now greater than ever and, when done right, the returns can make live stream, virtual fundraising very worthwhile. Having assessed the various permutations of technical features and compatibility with pricing options; we chose a combination of StreamYard and Raisely. Read on to learn why.
Community Development Sharing Support
At The Small Things, a family-first, child safeguarding and community development charity, we wanted to connect our supporters to the children and families we support and empower in Tanzania, while also securing funds to keep their communities safe during COVID-19. To save other similar, small organisations, with already busy, multi-tasking staff, the hassle of spending much-valued time researching the various platform options and combinations, we put together this guide outlining why StreamYard and Raisely can fulfil your needs.
Making Virtual Connections Easy
StreamYard is a virtual broadcasting studio, which you can integrate into owned online platforms and/or livestream through Facebook, YouTube and IGTV. The interface is user-friendly and allows for easy event management. Unlike straightforward video-conferencing tools, a studio enables greater control of the schedule, content and flow of programming, who and what content is on air, and when. This broadens the scope of attracting potentially interested viewers by opening up format possibilities from simple, private group chats to something more complex. Throughout May and June, we are running a schedule of live stream virtual events, from interactive organisational presentations to pizza-making tutorials, yoga classes and private birthday parties.
- Anyone can stream the event and interact with it. All viewer comments on platforms where you stream (e.g. own website, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) redirect into the StreamYard chat box, allowing hosts and speakers to interact with the audience in real-time.
- In addition, viewers can “call in” via a live video link. Of 10 guests in the offline, virtual green room, any 6 can alternate to join on air at any one time. This allows for greater participation and interaction with a wide range of audiences.
- Presentations can be interspersed with up to five minutes of pre-recorded video footage (max 100mb) to support key messaging.
- The basic, paid package is just $25 a month, which means a large ROI when hosting high-impact fundraising events.
Automating Personal Donor Email Responses
In order to incorporate the digital fundraising aspect in our events, we chose to use a new, donor CRM and crowdfunding platform. Raisely is more than just a landing page to integrate with live streams. With peer-to-peer fundraising functionality and segmentation ability, it allows non-profits to host personalised campaigns for a low-cost fee structure.
- 100% of donations, minus the usual payment processor fee, are received by the organisation. To cover costs, there is also a small fee to Raisely by the donor. However, this is optional.
- Multiple fundraising campaigns can be hosted at once, meaning there can be potentially hundreds of people simultaneously fundraising with you.
- The donation amount and the particular event through which it was made, are also automatically recorded. This adds to the personal, one-to-one element of thank you emails when showing appreciation to each donor.
- Each campaign event and fundraising team can have its own customisable sub-page. In this way, each event, for each fundraiser, can be individually branded. Progress is tracked through running-totals from each of these team sub-pages, spurring fundraiser motivation and updates to disseminate among their own supporters. Each event’s running-total feeds into the overall campaign total.
Virtual Connection Yields Real Fundraising Dividends
Our Connection Campaign was launched to reach out to TST supporters and new visitors during the advent, and new challenge to society, of quarantine and lockdown. It is a way for viewers to connect virtually with our community and programmes in Tanzania and with each other from living rooms across continents. As the world stopped suddenly and we all re-evaluate the priorities of life, these events offered a medium, through various themes, to remember to focus on the small things.
Events like our live yoga and pizza-making party are fully participatory. Yet, presentation-style events also encourage interactive engagement. As a non-profit with a small fundraising team, combining two platforms gave us the capacity to host high-impact fundraising events digitally and with a global audience. In just 3 weeks, we fundraised over $18k, giving us the power to support our clients during the pandemic.
Engaging Features Encourage Participation
- The onscreen display of livestreaming interaction between hosts, guests and video call-in participants can alternate between single shot, split screen or other combinations.
- Each video guest’s screen displays a name tag. These can alternate with banners displaying links to a donation page, the video call-in link and personal thank yous as donations come in live.
- Viewers can interact with the live stream video, and the messages of other viewers, on their choice of the Raisely fundraiser event page, the YouTube stream and Facebook Live chat boxes or on any other preferred platform of your choice.
- These messages, in addition to those from the <10 guests waiting in the virtual green room, appear in the administration section of the StreamYard studio and can be replied to off-line.
- From these, selected comments can also be easily shown live on screen with rolling banners and captions.
Strengthen Brand Awareness
The StreamYard paid package allows for;
- Uploading own brand colours, logos and backgrounds
- The ability to redirect the broadcast simultaneously to two additional streaming platforms, for added viewer choice. We chose Facebook Live and YouTube.
- Live streams are also recorded, for playback and re-purposing on social media.
- Each Raisely fundraiser event page can have a chat box embedded from the YouTube live stream video and a donate box beside the video on each fundraising event page.
- Automated ‘thank you’ emails are generated after each donation by Raisely’s built-in email system.
- The template and messaging of these can be customised.
The Raisely paid package allows for:
- Manual scheduling of campaign emails for tailored messaging themes, times and frequency
Virtually Evolving Small Charity Fundraising
For TST, we found this combination of StreamYard and Raisely to work well for us and at low cost. Our plan is to continue to use these platforms because of the success they have brought in such challenging circumstances. We would encourage other non-profits, looking to fundraise through virtual events, to do the same. If short on time or expertise, we invite you to investigate our recommendations or to use them to inform your own research, needs and preferences.
To watch playbacks of our Connection Campaign live stream events or to support our programs and the children and families that they empower, visit our campaign page: https://connection.thesmallthings.org