Nonprofits scrambled to adapt after COVID-19 disrupted spring events season. And they came up with some outstanding virtual events! Now, as we move into the summer and fall seasons, we’re seeing nonprofits think of more and more creative ways to engage and excite virtual event attendees.
Fundraisers have hosted everything from cocktail-making tutorials to dance classes during their virtual fundraisers, but one of the most fun trends we’re seeing is digital games! Here are some fun examples of digital games our clients have added to their virtual events—we hope they give you some great ideas!
Check out our COVID-19 Nonprofit Resource Library for more ideas and inspiration!
This tried-and-true fundraising event activity translates beautifully to virtual events. Set up a way to sell raffle tickets online and write donors’ names on the appropriate tickets. You could choose to sell them in the days preceding the event, during the event itself, or both! You could even give attendees the option of adding the cost of raffle tickets to their event registration fees.
During the event, livestream yourself pulling raffle tickets. Since you’ve already written the donors’ names on the tickets they purchased, you’ll be able to identify the winners without having to match the numbers on two different tickets. After you announce the winners, ask them to contact you to arrange delivery or pickup options for the items they won.
The ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation ran a virtual raffle for a package of goods and services to local businesses! People could buy individual tickets for $5 each or could buy bundles of tickets at reduced prices. All proceeds supported families with children diagnosed with cancer. After the drawing, the raffle winner was publicly announced and could arrange to pick up their items.
Looking for an easy, engaging activity? Try bingo!
There are lots of ways to generate randomized bingo cards—you may even be able to find a free option! You could run a traditional bingo game, complete with a spinning basket of numbered balls, or put your own spin on it! Try making a bingo card with talking points from your keynote speakers, fun facts from a presentation, or other elements related to your mission. When you’re ready, send your participants a randomized bingo card.
You have lots of opportunities to get creative with how you run your game. If you’re running a traditional game or a game that’s related to livestreaming video presentations during a set event, let donors fill their cards and comment on your stream to let you know they’ve won. Alternatively, you could turn your bingo into a more long-form game. Invite people to fill out their cards while doing a fun activity that’s related to your mission. We’ll show you an example of what that can look like!
The Palouse Land Trust was looking for ideas to get their supporters outside during the lockdown when they hit upon the idea of Wildflower Bingo. For the month of May, people could download their Wildflower Bingo card and head out to any of the area’s hiking trails. They’d check off the flowers they spotted, and the first people to turn in their completed cards won a $15 gift card to local businesses.
On the bingo page, the Trust invited people who were stumped by flower identification to pick up a copy of their Prairie Field Guide. A portion of the proceeds supported “conservation, preservation, and protection of [the] special ecosystem,” so the activity was a revenue generator, too!
These seem really popular with the recent wave of virtual events, and they seem so fun! There are different ways to do one—we’ve even seen one that combined a wine pull with bingo—but the most straightforward example we’ve seen is really simple. Donors buy into the wine pull, and the emcee pulls a cork out of a big bowl. That cork has a number written on it, and each number corresponds in turn to a bottle of wine. When the MC pulls a cork for the donor, she shows the donor the wine they’ve won. It’s fun, simple, and a great way to raise money—especially if some or all of the wine is donated. Want an easy way to get wine for your wine pull? Ask board members to bring in at least one bottle of wine to the collection. It can add up quickly!
Big Brothers Big Sisters Southern Minnesota included a wine pull, or “Wall of Wine,” in their virtual auction event! Event participants could buy a cork through the Givi app, which the organization used to organize their virtual auction. When the emcee did the pull, she could see the names of everyone who purchased a cork. She’d pull the cork from a big bowl, match the cork’s number to the number on a bottle of wine, and arrange for the donor to retrieve the bottle later.
When bars and restaurants closed at the onset of COVID-19, many people started running online trivia games to replace the ones they enjoyed while out. Doing this with a platform like Zoom is easy! During each round, the moderator asks a trivia question and participants send in their answers as private messages. It’s a fun, easy, engaging activity that’s easy to do with a large group of people, especially if your groups can join virtual teams.
Trivia is fun in its own right, but you could get people even more excited about participating by adding prizes or incentives to the mix. Try awarding special items, gift cards, raffle tickets, or other prizes to the top performing teams!
Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis invited their supporters to join a virtual trivia game! The recurring event, which is run through Zoom, even has themes—their upcoming trivia night is movie-themed! Entrance to the game is $25 per person, which supports a JA student. Attendees can hang out together, have a fun night, and win prizes—all while raising money for a good cause!
One of the best parts of events is mingling with donors and watching them get to know each other. That’s not as easy to achieve virtually as it is in person, but it’s doable! Nonprofits are getting really creative with how they show their supporters a good time during virtual events. Raffles, bingo, trivia, and wine pulls are all fun activities that work on virtual platforms—which of them could be a good fit for your organization? Could you come up with something different? Get creative!