Elevating Your Donor Experience: How to Boost Donations with Live Video in the Age of Virtual Shopping

December 11, 2023

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential donor looking for a deserving non-profit organization to support financially. Behind door number 1 is a paper brochure, weighed down by heavy blocks of text. Your eyes start to cross as you attempt to sift through the words to figure out what your money will be going towards helping. Now, here comes the sparkling, flashy door number 2. Step through, and you will find yourself on a captivating digital adventure exploring Virtual Shopping Platforms that boast compelling content, including live videos that paint a clear image of who and what you are supporting through your generous donation. 

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Now, don't you want to swipe your card or drop your cash to help the organization's mission that lies beyond that second door? In this age of online shopping in the digital world, donors are far more likely to support your cause if you meet them in the digital realm with riveting, personable video content. If live videos are not yet a part of your fundraising campaign, this article may convince you to start creating digital content. 

First Things First, what is Virtual Shopping?

Virtual shopping is an internet-based digital service that allows customers to take their brick-and-mortar retail store shopping experience online. 

The best retailers will seamlessly merge their online and brick-and-mortar stores to present a true omnichannel experience. Retail sales associates can work from home, in-store, or in the corporate office and still offer the same excellent customer service across the board through real-time connection by utilizing text, chat, or video calls. Online shoppers can ask questions, try on products virtually, and seek expert recommendations while browsing the store's catalog. 

Benefits of Operating a Virtual Store

Start offering virtual shopping to provide your customers with an in-store experience online. Not only is it beneficial for your customers when you create an omnichannel retail store, but online shopping also helps to secure the future of brick-and-mortar stores. The global pandemic kept people in their homes and out of shopping malls. Online stores gave them an outlet for virtual shopping when the physical store locations were closed. 

Beyond the practicality of offering your merchandise on multiple platforms, here are some additional benefits to opening a virtual store:

  • Connecting quickly and easily to your online customers
  • Providing a "preview" before the customer visits your physical stores
  • Reduce in-store inventory and centralize your shipping location
  • Your team can work from anywhere, keeping your business booming at all times
  • Creating more retail job opportunities
  • Decreased overhead costs
  • Boosts both employee and customer retention
  • Easily measure store associates' performances
  • Employees become brand ambassadors through live video feeds

Decoding the Donor Experience

Most non-profit organizations do a great job playing the short game. However, the key to building a lasting, long-term relationship with your donors is to offer them an exceptional donor experience. What does that mean, exactly? 

The donor experience includes everything from the initial contact to the transactional part of giving to the outreach beyond that transaction. It is the culmination of your efforts in fundraising, including your digital content, website, and donor interactions. An online donation platform with personalized communications and mobile accessibility contributes to an overall positive donor experience and promotes donor loyalty! 

The 4 Pillars That Uphold the Donor Experience

So many factors feed into the creation of the donor experience. Still, four main pillars create the foundation and go far beyond the transactional part of the donation: Knowledge, Strategy, Culture, and Emotion. "The 4 Pillars of the Donor Experience" by Lynne Wester is an excellent read for those who want to foster more meaningful interactions with their supporters. 


Knowledge is an essential aspect of the donor experience. Your supporters need to understand who and what their money is helping. This goes both ways. When you get to know your donors personally, you will learn about their behavior and communication preferences, and you will be able to reach them more authentically. 


Wester states, "If knowledge is power, strategy is the catalyst that allows for dynamic change within the donor experience." The more you know about your donors, the more you can tailor your strategies to them.


The culture piece of the puzzle focuses on empowerment, excellence, and gratitude to help dictate how you interact with your donors. The donor expectations of your organization are dedication, commitment, and engagement. How your organization defines itself will determine how your donors perceive you and how much money they will be willing to donate. 


Successful fundraising is backed by tapping into the emotional aspects of your cause. Donors lead with their hearts when giving their support to non-profits. You don't want to exploit the emotionality of the situation, but you certainly want to tap into your donor base's empathy with your outreach. 

Why is it Important to Create the Best Donor Experience for my Clientele?

A positive donor experience is of paramount importance when trying to reach your fundraising goals. You want your supporters to have an incredible for a multitude of reasons, but here are the top 5:

  • Boost Efficiency
  • Increase Donor Engagement
  • Customize the giving experience
  • Raise donor retention rates
  • Strengthen donor relationships

To create the best possible donor experience, you want to try to imagine yourself in your donor's shoes. Dig deep and track each step of the process to help you view everything your donor base sees and does before, during, and after the donation transaction. 

After conducting your detailed analysis of the donor journey, it is time to carefully review each touchpoint to find ways to improve their experience. This could include changing existing protocols, updating your site's thank you page, or adding additional support. 

Boost Your Fundraising Efforts by Leveling Up Your Donor Experience

There are many ways to ensure your organization can raise more money, but the key is to level up your donor experience. Try to hit the following points to connect with your donors on a deeper level.

Become a Storyteller

Storytelling is an effective and integral part of humanizing the donor experience. It enables you to connect with your donor base by tapping into their empathy and building trust as you share your written and visual content, along with live videos, that explain the focus of your charity. 

Don't be Afraid to Ask

To reach your lofty fundraising goals, you must ask for money – plain and simple. Make sure that you ask in a way that shows the donor why it is so crucial for them to help raise funds for your cause. 

A Good-Looking Website Doesn't Hurt

Your website is the epicenter of your fundraising platform – make sure it gets your point across engagingly! 

Consistency is Key

Consistent branding adds to your organization's credibility and helps maintain long-lasting relationships with your donors. A great example of this are the YouTubers or Instagram influencers that you follow. You follow them for their regular clothing tips or financial snippets. If they all-of-the-sudden pivoted to a new topic, you would likely move to another influencer. Remember to keep the consistency so your donors get the experience they learn to expect.

Make it Easy

The last thing you want to do is alienate your donors with a challenging transactional experience. Donating should be a quick and easy process for your clientele, with as few clicks as possible. You also want to make your platform as accessible as possible. 

Respect Your Donors' Privacy

An excellent donor experience extends beyond the financial transaction. Protect your donors' privacy by utilizing a secure platform that will protect their data

Tax Documentation

Hey, it can't all be fun and games. Tax documentation isn't the most glamorous part of the equation, but is essential to the donor experience. 

Reach Out to Your Audience

Strong donor communications with a human touch is vital to building a stellar relationship with your donor base. Establish multichannel points of contact: emails, direct mail, social media, monthly newsletters, voice messages, and live video calls are all excellent options. 

Don't Forget to Say Thank You

It may sound simple, but everyone wants to hear "thank you" after being generous – even the most selfless people in the world. Be sure to shower your donors with genuine gratitude and appreciation via custom messages. 

Keep an Open Mind

Donor feedback is invaluable to improving their experience. You must accommodate their preferences and listen to what is not working for them. Keeping an open mind and ears will maintain your supporters' participation. 

Let Technology Work for You

In this digital age, leveraging technology to your advantage is crucial. Creating a great, modern donor experience requires the assistance of technological tools to ensure you are meeting your donor's every need. 

Most people know about the popular tech tools, but many get overlooked. Check out these options to help boost your donor relationships digitally.

Automated Donation Emails

Set up email responses that are triggered automatically when a donation comes in to show your client immediately that you recognize their generous contribution. Follow up with additional emails to keep them engaged post-donation. 

Customize Your Content Based on Donor Activity

Most email platforms will help you track your subscribers' actions on your site. For example, when they visit and how long they spend browsing. Did you know, though, that you may be able to build a sequence of automated emails triggered by visits to specific site sections? You can customize the marketing content to visitors' recent activities and interests to keep them fully engaged in your process. 

Make Your Marketing Content Shareable

In this increasingly digitized era, if something wasn't posted on social media, then it didn't happen. Once your donors contribute to your cause, they will be jazzed about it and want to share it on their socials. Make it simple for them to share your content, and your donor base will grow exponentially. 

Leverage AI to Improve Your Donor Experience

An efficient way to boost your impact is through the power of AI. AI technology can build donor relationships, craft personalized content, improve your website design and layout, analyze your data, and more.

Introducing Live Videos to Your Online "Store" Fundraiser to Expand Your Donor Base and Reach Your Fundraising Goals

Making your content engaging for your donor base is all about a personalized experience. In place of in-person interactions, live video is the closest option to get you face-to-face with your donors! Live videos enable you to offer online customers the ability to instantly connect with your organization on a profoundly personal level. 

Whether it be a video call, a live stream on social media, or a live webinar, virtual clienteling through live video is the new frontier in the fundraising realm that adds a personal touch to your campaign.

Tips for Raising the Most Money for Your Non-Profit Organization with Live Videos

Our best advice is to tailor your videos to your clientele to add a human touch to your organization. Here are our top tips for maximizing the effect of live videos on your digital platform.

Short and Sweet

People have short attention spans. Studies show that engagement levels drop if you don't grab a potential donor's attention within the first 10 seconds of your video. To get them fully invested in your cause, start your live videos with an exciting thumbnail and a compelling caption to draw them in. Then, to hook them, get straight to why they want to support your worthy cause.

Be a Great Storyteller

Taking a live video and twisting it into an exciting story will leave a solid and lasting impact on your viewers and entice them to donate to your organization. Start with a sympathetic main character. Center your live video around real people with stories that pull at first time donors' heartstrings. You want to give people a tangible connection to your cause. Be sure to take your viewers on a journey and explain what problem you are solving with your non-profit. 

Clear Calls-to-Action

A great live video is an effective resource, but only if you tell your future donors how they can contribute to your cause. Add a CTA to the final scene of your live video to spur your donors into action! 

You can naturally incorporate the CTA in your video by employing voice-over narration, on-screen text, or easy-click buttons. Make sure your phrasing is clear and concise. "Donate Today!" is always a winning option. 

High-Quality Production Value

When viewers see a high-quality video with excellent production value, it lends credibility to your organization. Making your video visually engaging will inspire your donors and make them more likely to help your cause. 

Multichannel Marketing

Make this an authentic omnichannel experience for your audience by following up your live video with emails, social media, and website content that relates to what you have shown. Consider recording and editing your live video after the fact to post to YouTube and Vimeo. Then, tease clips and trailers across social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Give your donors something to share on their accounts with clever hashtags and shareable posts. 

Time for Your Closeup: A Sample Virtual Shopping Auction

Monday Before Your Event: Online "Store" Experience

Email your constituents the week before letting them know that you are "going live" on Monday before the event to kick off your auction. Have your donors tune in on your event site to see you show off your auction catalog. Pick a dozen silent auction items to personal hold in front of the camera and talk about. Field questions in the chat from those tuned in.

Incentivize Online Bidding While You Stream Live

For anyone who places a silent auction bid or makes an online donation, they will be entered into a live giveaway at the end of the quick broadcast. Pick the winner live to keep the energy going.

Before the Event: A Look Behind the In-Person Gala

Set up a camera and microphone (it can even be a simple web camera) and tell your gala attendees (including those who cannot attend) that they can tune into the hybrid auction before the event. Show your donors what you're doing to set up the venue for a great event. Showcase the band's rehearsal, lighting, table dressing and even stop in front of the camera to show off auction items and tell donors how excited you are to have them participate.

Use What You Have to Engage Your Donors

Any of these examples uses resources that you already have at your disposal. A web camera, auction items, a venue, etc. You don't need to write any scripts or prepare statements. Just be yourself and be transparent. Your donors will reward you with their participation and feedback.

Just Don't Forget the Marketing

It's hard to overstate that unless you tell people to be there, it won't happen. Unfortunately, it's not the Field of Dreams. If you build it (and market it), they will come. Remember to email your donors at least 3 times to make sure they know you'll be online, showing off items, showing off the venue and giving away prizes.

In Summary

Now that you know the ins and outs of improving the donor experience and how live videos can help boost your fundraising campaigns, it is time to put yourself on the map with compelling and creative content!

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