Tens of thousands of non-profit organizations rely heavily on live, in-person events — walks, runs, bake sales, galas, auctions — to both engage the public and raise the resources they need to do the good work that benefits us all. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced nonprofits to develop viable, virtual alternatives to these critical, in-person fundraising events — and quickly, at that.
Fortunately for many of these organizations, excellent technology exists that helps ease the transition from real to virtual. Still, it can be challenging to excite your core group of volunteers that typically make these events both fun and profitable. Here’s an example of how one nonprofit managed to creatively transform an annual, in-person event into a virtual success.
A virtual trot
The Celiac Disease Foundation is transitioning from an in-person Turkey Trot 5K at multiple locations to a nationwide virtual Turkey Trot in the form of a 3.1 mile cross-country challenge. With a new, virtual setup, it is important for the foundation to uphold the main components of the event that have made it successful in past years: fundraising, incentives and prizes, sponsor participation, and cultivating lasting community relationships.
Moving from an in-person event to a virtual event presented new opportunities for the Celiac Disease Foundation, including utilizing technology in exciting, innovative ways. Instead of attending the event and running or walking on a set course, the virtual event allows participants to choose their own health adventure using an app that will count “steps” toward a 3.1 mile goal (5K).
Activities like yoga, biking, running/walking, gardening, cleaning, and more may be done at the pace and place that works best for each participant. They are encouraged to create and join virtual teams with friends and family across the nation, expanding their reach beyond state borders and further connecting the community, even in this time of social distance.
Virtualizing events can engage community members from across the country, provide prizes from sponsors, and still be fun and exciting for everyone.Learn more about the event at celiac.org/2020turkeytrot.