10 Successful Nonprofit Virtual Fundraising Events

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Planning your first virtual fundraising event? 

You might feel a bit uncomfortable trying something new – aren’t we all? However, if we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s how to adapt, change, and pivot our strategies.

If you’re anything like me, it helps to see how other organizations have hosted their own successful virtual fundraising events.

10 examples of virtual events 

1. The Homeless Families Foundation – No Show Mother’s Day Gala

The Homeless Families Foundation hosts an annual fully-virtual fundraising campaign, the No Show Mother’s Day Gala. By making this event completely online using text-to-donate, peer-to-peer, and online donation pages, the Homeless Families Foundation was able to save overhead costs and support more single mothers.

They also promoted the event through social media, mobile messaging, and email. The Homeless Families Foundation raised 131% of its goal for the gala, more than the previous year!

No Show Gala

Total Raised: $78,410

Gifts Received: 283

Click here to view the event



2. Believe Big – Believe Big Livestream Event

A virtual evening of inspiration, information, and celebration. Attendees were the first to hear the latest on the progress of the Mistletoe Clinical Trial with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Believe Big Institute of Health, inspiring stories from patients on Believe Big’s impact on their cancer journey, and the importance of an integrated approach to cancer treatment.

Be the change

Total Raised: $205,171

Gifts Received: 269

Click here to view event



3. Climate Resolve – COOLest in LA Gala

Climate Resolve pivoted their in-person event to a private virtual event using Remo with more than 200 guests. The tickets sold out and all of their in-person event sponsors stayed on board to support! 

Coolest Gala

Click here to visit their event page

Watch a full recap of their event and Q&A with Kristina Von Hoffmann




4. Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County – Celebration of Hope Virtual Graduation 

For the first time in 20 years, TSIC hosted a virtual graduation celebration for the Class of 2020. In one week, I worked with TSIC’s staff on the virtual program, and tech needed to make it happen. The graduation created an impactful experience for their students, mentors, and donors. This event was not meant to raise funds, but provide a special evening of recognition for the students. Rave reviews immediately poured in!


Click here to watch the virtual celebration using StreamYard





5. Infinite Flow – Uplift 

Infinite Flow is a professional dance company and nonprofit in California. Their mission is to create an inclusive environment for people to learn how to dance. They wanted to provide a virtual environment to promote a discussion around authentic stories from black creatives with disabilities. On June 13th, they hosted a private panel conversation using Zoom. 

Home Team

Check out their mission




6. Dressember – Virtual 5K 

Dressember hosts an annual 5k around the US to raise funds and awareness for victims of human trafficking. However, due to COVID, gathering people together for a race wasn’t possible. Using their online fundraising platform, Funraise, they quickly pivoted to a Virtual 5K. They provided beautiful creative assets, T-shirts for purchase, and digital bibs to print out.


Click here to view their registration website.





7. Mirowitz – Gala in the Cloud 

This spring, the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School gathered online for a virtual gala.  They celebrated their students, brought the community together, and raised funds. Using Funraise, they built a custom website and hosted a livestream on the page with donation capabilities.

In the cloud $290,783 raised

282 donors

52-minute program 

Click here to view their livestream and fundraising page.


8. New Story – The Neighborhood

When COVID hit, families were hit hard trying to pay their rent. New Story came up with a brilliant and beautiful online campaign called The Neighborhood. Their goal? Through monthly donations, pay the rent for 200 U.S. families. The campaign messaging was straightforward and powerful. 

Within one week, 3 months of rent for 150 families was funded. It’s not always about a live event, but creating a campaign or experience that reached your impact goal.

pay their rent

Click here to view The Neighborhood Campaign on Instagram.





9. Washington Performing Arts Gala

In less than 3 days, the Washington Performing Arts transitioned their in-person gala to a virtual livestream experience. Their gala was scheduled for mid-March, right as all group gathering restrictions were put in place. How did it go?

performing arts

300+ virtual attendees

$200k+ raised

Click here to view a webinar of how they transitioned 



10. San Francisco Ballet

When 60% of San Francisco’s Ballet Repertory Season was canceled, they needed to find a solution to keep their staff employed and health benefits active. I love this example, not as a live streaming event, but to showcase their impact goals. They clearly outline what each gift amount goes towards. Starting at $50, they make it easy for anyone to give.


Click here to view their fundraising page on Classy.



About the writer

I’m Dana Snyder! An entrepreneur, digital strategist, and passionate conscious consumer. I founded Positive Equation in 2017 with a focus on helping nonprofits cultivate passionate online audiences of donors, partners, and advocates using social media.

Currently based in Atlanta, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with Movember, Dress for Success, USTA, Honest Company, Sports Illustrated, American Idol, The Global Foodbanking Network, The Gary Sinise Foundation, LA84 Foundation, and many more on their digital strategies.

Want to learn more about how to plan an engaging virtual event for your nonprofit? Check out my DIY course here. 

To book a social media audit to align your business goals with digital strategies to attract new donors, click here!


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