Virtual Fundraising in 2020

October 23, 2020
Veronica LeBourgeois

How International Esperanza Project used a virtual broadcast to raise record funds

Hosting a fundraising gala in 2020 comes with a unique set of challenges. For instance, travel is not an option for many guests. For those willing to travel, how can you help keep them in a safe, clean environment? And, there is a saturation of virtual and hybrid options in the marketplace. How do they differ, and what platform will you use to reach your donors? What kind of content will capture and keep your audience’s attention? How long should the event be? Is it possible to achieve good fundraising results without face-to-face interaction?

In late August, the International Esperanza Project [IEP] hosted their annual Hope Under the Stars event to a live virtual audience. With a combination of pre-recorded content, live segments, an online auction, and a strategic agenda, IEP exceeded their 2020 fundraising goals.

Providing Hope

More than half of Guatemala’s population lives below the poverty line. As a result, even with global developments in technology and medical care, many Guatemalan communities lack necessities that most of us are accustomed to. The International Esperanza Project is a non-profit organization committed to providing resources to underserved communities throughout Guatemala. They provide clean water filtration and install stoves as an alternative to cooking over an open fire. They provide free medical assistance from primary care to major surgical procedures. IEP also leads a school that provides educational resources to improve children’s lives in the Tecpán region of Guatemala.

Hope Under the Stars

IEP’s annual fundraising gala, Hope Under the Stars, provides much-needed support for their efforts throughout the year. Providing updates on their critical programs, human-centered stories, and a live auction were essential components of their in-person event that would need to be emulated virtually.

Setting the Stage

Michelle Hollaender, IEP’s Founder and Executive Director, reached out to PSAV to ask about her virtual fundraiser options. Partnering with our Digital Services team and her PSAV contact at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Dallas-based Michelle, and the IEP team chose the Coppell, Texas Presentation Stages™ environment for Hope Under the Stars.

record or broadcast your message in a professional studio

The Coppell PSAV Presentation Stage allowed IEP to deliver a live in-studio experience and broadcast it to their virtual viewers. Because of its high-production value, the professional setting created by PSAV provided the perfect backdrop for IEP’s hour-and-a-half black-tie event. VIP guests shared their “why” for serving, and viewers were given a personal glimpse into the lives of those directly impacted by donations and the programs started by IEP.

PSAV Encore professional studios for virtual events

By hosting Hope Under the Stars virtually, International Esperanza Project reached a larger number of donors than in previous years. In the weeks leading up to the event, the IEP team promoted the event through social media and email marketing. Along with that, a heavy promotion the week of the event helped ensure great attendance. By incorporating a studio set with professional lighting and camera work, a high-quality global broadcast, and a well-thought agenda, PSAV and IEP were able to treat viewers to a first-class charity event.

Moreover, Michelle and the IEP team felt comfortable in the clean, safe setting. All team members wore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) masks and gloves. Only the cameramen and Director were in the studio with the customer to keep the number of people in the room low per MeetSAFE guidelines. The control room and crew were housed in another part of the building and all equipment was cleaned thoroughly prior to and after the event.

Increase your audience reach with a virtual fundraiser

Exceeding Expectations – This Is How

Of the success of the event, Michelle Hollaender and the IEP team had this to say:

“I have no words to thank you for your kindness and amazing disposition!! It truly was an honor to be able to work with PSAV for our first virtual gala for International Esperanza Project – IEP. When we started working on this project, [we] did not know what we would encounter or what it would look like to have a virtual gala that would be seen throughout the world.

On Saturday, we had the most amazing and successful event! But that came with days of hard preparation by the team of PSAV. On our first dry run, on Tuesday before the gala, things did not go as planned. But after long hours of testing, the team made it work, and on the actual day of the event, it was flawless. I cannot say enough for the team that put this event together. They worked extremely hard to make it a successful event, and that’s why it was. I will forever be in debt to Felix, Ricardo, and all the crew that made the event a great one where we raised the much-needed funds for IEP to keep implementing in Guatemala the programs needed to help the ones in need.”

What’s Next

While they miss the human connection of an in-person gala, IEP views their 2020 fundraising efforts as a success. As a result, plans for next year’s event include a virtual broadcast – a feature that’s here to stay.

To learn more about the work being done by the International Esperanza Project, click here.

For information on Presentation Stages™ and to start planning your virtual fundraiser, click here.

Veronica LeBourgeois
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