How a charity team member raised over $20,000 while drinking wine on her porch

Casey Hill

Every October, Sam’s Fans, a charity dedicated to helping ill children with music and art therapy, hosts a big fundraising event called Threads of Hope. 

The event is a fashion show, complete with bubbly live music, raffles, and silent auctions. It’s a memorable evening and something that each year generates hundreds of thousands of dollars for helping kids. 

But in 2020, live events are off the table. 

The team at Sam’s Fans was forced to suddenly pivot and think of how they were going to still create engagement for the cause.

They landed on the idea of a virtual event, one that would take place over an entire week, where they would try to re-create the immersive experience of Threads of Hope under the new conditions.

But they had a big hurdle. How could they create that same emotional experience that connects donor and cause without that in-person, human touch? 

Pivoting event engagement to personalised videos

The team at Sam's Fans decided they would try and use personal video to drive attendance for their new virtual event.

They took all 125 Auction of the Heart donors from last year’s event and personally invited them to join for their virtual event. 

Here is an example video:

Notice how Mandy uses personal context? The video is warm, human, and not pushy. 

It’s a perfect example of how to build a compelling invite/ask. 

Here is another one

Another amazing virtual event invitation. It’s light-hearted and fun as well as sentimental. 

It also illustrates something powerful about personal video itself. You don’t need a fancy studio or perfect lighting. In fact, you will notice that many of our top power users have quite informal videos like the one you see above.

What makes them work is they are human and authentic. 

And boy do they work. Here are the engagement stats from Mandy who did half of the video sends for this campaign…

85% open rates.

51% click-through rates.

24% reply rates.

Just phenomenal. These videos led to nearly $20,000 in donations. 

I asked the Sam’s Fans team about what makes their videos so effective and here is what they said.

Sam Fan’s top tips for sending personal videos

Get Really Personal

One key to success that Nikki and Mandy talked extensively with me about is around personalization. Both noted that it is critical to use personal details about the donor, to be informal and to be human. Remember Mandy recorded a handful of videos while drinking wine on her porch?

Use Mobile

Around 80% of our power users on Bonjoro record their videos from their phones. There is something about doing a video on the move that makes it compelling, and for the recorder using mobile makes it easy to record from anywhere.

Connect your systems

Although for this specific campaign the Sam’s Fans team uploaded a list of donors to engage with, in general they thank donors as they come through with a connection between Bonjoro and Bloomerang

When I asked Nikki what keeps them going when it comes to Bonjoro, she said,

“The responses, without a doubt! When you see how much people appreciate the personal touch and how excited they get, it makes it worthwhile.”

Power up your own virtual event with video

Thinking of hosting a virtual event in 2021?

Grab your free 14 day trial of Bonjoro, and power up your own ticket sales with personal videos.

About the author
Casey Hill
Growth Manager
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