Pivot to an Online/Virtual Fundraiser

When circumstances change and you have to pivot, we’re here to help you. This article contains areas to consider when transitioning your once in-person fundraiser to an online campaign.


Decide on presentation

If you planned a presentation such as sharing your organization's mission or highlighting a guest speaker, determine how you’ll share that message with your supporters online.

  • No presentation - Exclude presentation from your campaign site.
  • Written form - Share your mission and/or highlight a speaker by including it in a custom section on your Home page.
  • Recorded video - Create a video recording message, store it on a site such as YouTube or Vimeo, and include it in a custom section on the Home page.
  • Live streaming - Choose a live streaming option such as Facebook, YouTube to host a live presentation.
Tip: Visit Run an Online/Virtual Fundraiser for some live streaming tips.


Determine event day/time

If you plan a live streaming presentation, we recommend the day/time shown on the campaign aligns with when the presentation will be hosted, you can offer pre-bidding leading up to the presentation. If planning a presentation other than live streaming, consider adjusting the shown day/time to indicate a start and end to the auction open/close.



  1. Certificates and gift cards - Check the expirations of item certificates and gift cards to confirm they can still be redeemed.
  2. Terms and Conditions - Make sure that all of your item descriptions include terms and conditions including expiration or important.
  3. Redemption - Plan redemption logistics. If you plan on shipping items, shipping costs can be passed on to the winner by creating an instant item named “Shipping”.
  4. Live items - If unable to auction off items Live, change the Live items to Silent items and create a “Premium” category
  5. Raffle items - Consider adding a raffle. This is a great way for guests to participate before the bidding actually starts. You can even do a virtual drawing and announce the winner on your Home page.  Raffle labels can be modified to make this category more inclusive of additional fundraising opportunities. 


From the campaign settings page

  1. Global Settings
    • Date/Time - Confirm the fundraising day/time.
    • Required Information - Consider requiring a card on file, email, or mailing address from participants of the auction.
    • Allow self-checkout - Set this to Yes so supporters can settle their balances from the Pay page.
  2. Design Center
    • Banner - If using a custom banner, confirm the day/time.
    • Call to Action - Remove any tickets offered in the order form.
    • Donation Revenue Goal - Include on the order form to share the revenue received because of Donations.
    • Contact Us - Confirm this information is the best way to reach out.
    • Custom Sections - Use custom sections to include a fundraising timeline, a Live Feed link, highlight items or opportunities to donate, provide payment and item redemption instructions, and showcase sponsors.
  3. Auction Settings
    • Countdown Clock - To show participants how much time is left in the auction include a countdown clock on the Items page. Add the auction end date/time, then set to countdown setting to “Show”.
    • Auto Close - For fundraisers that do not have a Live presentation, we recommend setting the Auto Close to Auto Close. For non-live presentation fundraisers, we recommend Manual Close. This allows some flexibility in case the presentation runs long.


By Email

Notify your supporters of the change in plans and how they can still support you. Be sure to emphasize the fundraising day/time and provide the shareable site link found on your Dashboard. If tickets were sold, consider mentioning they’ll be converted to donations unless otherwise instructed. 

By Text

Take advantage of the text messaging feature to connect with registered users and share the change of plans.

Ex: The [NAME FOR TEXT MESSAGE] auction is now VIRTUAL. Preview items here ##ITEMSLINK##, the online auction will open [DATE/TIME].

Visit Messages to learn more.


Turn tickets into donations

We recommend sending out a communication to ticket purchasers informing them that their purchase will be converted to a donation with the option for a refund.

Visit Return a Ticket Orderto learn more.

Next steps

Final prep and run your Campaign

Now that you have your site and communications transitioned to a virtual fundraiser, visit the Checklist for Virtual/Online fundraising. There you’ll find the steps for final preparation and running your campaign.

These steps can also be found in the Resource in the bottom right corner of your campaign site. 

Visit Pivoting to Virtual Resources for more resources.

Download Pivot to Virtual Guide