Fundraising Displays Consistently Increase Event Revenue

Brooke Battle
Written by :

Brooke Battle

Categories: Event Tech

For over 12 years, Swell Fundraising has provided nonprofits with a live fundraising display to showcase in-event giving, peer fundraising stats and more. The live fundraising display is an easy fundraising tool to add to an event and always increases giving.

What is a live fundraising display?

A live fundraising display is an application or website that can easily be projected onto a large screen, TV or computer screen. The fundraising display is connected to your online giving through a specific giving link. When donors give through that link (via QR code, click through email or text), the display automatically updates and shows the following:

  • Total Amount Contributed/Raised
  • Donor Names
  • Leaderboards for Top Individual Fundraiser, Top Team, Top Table and more

3-3These displays are often customizable so that you can decide which elements you want to show, the font, colors and even a custom background to match your event presentation slides.

What is the Impact of a Fundraising Display?

In short, the impact is thousands of dollars and more donors. The visual representation of philanthropy at work in a room helps you reach your fundraising goals.

Why: The event display engages guests by creating a sense of urgency as it provides instant feedback. Your guests feel counted.

The impact of a live fundraising display depends on many variables including the following: a compelling ask, creating an easy path to give (i.e. QR code on a program or Table Card) and the passion of the event guests. Nonetheless, it ALWAYS helps. Always.

Results of the Fundraising Display at Nonprofit Events:

Medium Event/Mid-Sized City: Multiple breakfast fundraising events in a mid-sized city with 350 guests (half of the tables occupied by sponsors) increased their in-event giving by $20,000-$25,000 by showing a fundraising display.

Large Event/Large City: A gala fundraising event of approximately 1,500 guests including a few celebrities used the display and increased its in-event giving by $165,000 with several verbal 6-figure commitments to add later, offline. By contrast, a strikingly similar event in the same city with 550 guests did not use the fundraising display and only raised $5,500 during the event.

Small Event/Small Market: A small dinner event with 150 guests in a small city raised an additional $9,500 from event guests. 

In addition to the fundraising impact, the fundraising progress is comprised of hundreds of individual donors which expands your donor base for future campaigns.

Fundraising Displays for Competitive Events

Competitive peer-to-peer fundraising events such as Talent Shows, Dancing with the Stars, Lip Sync Battles, Walks and more benefit the most from a live leaderboard where event guests can see, in real time, if their friend is "winning" the crowd-favorite award (as determined by giving). Here is a recent fundraising leaderboard from the Fuse Project's Lip Sync Battle. They attribute a 30% increase in giving to this display.

Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 1.54.19 PMIn 12 years, all of Swell's clients that fit this profile increased their event fundraising by 25% or more by using a live leaderboard display during the event.

Need More Event Fundraising Ideas? We've compiled a list of 100!

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How to Effectively Use a Fundraising Display at an Event

The next question for many nonprofit organizations is how the event display should be incorporated into the program. Interestingly, nonprofit staff are often reluctant to interrupt an event with fundraising but it's important to show the display several times. Here are recommendations for your fundraising display:

  • Show the display at least 3 times during the event near the beginning, middle and end (4-5 times is even better)

  • Introduce the display with a compelling ask and goal for the event then 'check-in' with the display to thank your donors

  • Allow the display to show for at least 3-5 mins (or longer). This allows for donors to scan the QR code, complete the gift and then see the display respond. Once the display reacts, other guests will be motivated to give. It's important for the display to show for a while to allow for this guest engagement to work.

  • Print a QR code on the program, table card or other item (even a napkin or the dessert cookie) so that guests can easily scan and reach a mobile giving link. TEST this QR code in advance. While you can put a code on the screen during an event, it is easier for guests to scan a code at their table.

  • Send an email/text to guests as they check-in with the giving link


Nonprofit staff work hard on their fundraising events and the revenue generated is the ultimate proof that their fundraising efforts worked. The addition of a fundraising display is a low cost, low impact decision that ensures a better result. 

"We had a great event but did not use the display or make an appeal to the guests.  It was a real mistake on our part and we will use it next year. I think we missed $50k in giving." 

~College Development Department

Bonus: 4 Other Uses for a Fundraising Display

Most nonprofit organizations easily envision a fundraising thermometer projected onto a large screen in a ballroom. However, there are many more occasions where a fundraising display is effective. Those include the following:

  • For an online peer-to-peer campaign at a school or office, the fundraising display can show on a television screen in a breakroom or hallway for the entire month of the campaign.

  • Are you kicking off a table captain or peer-to-peer walk event? Show the fundraising display at the kickoff meeting and provide the QR code so that your champions can get started immediately. It's fun to watch the fundraising total increase throughout the kickoff.

  • For theatre groups or school events, a fundraising display on screen pre-event or at halftime can engage your audience in giving to your mission.

  • At the nonprofit office. Do you have a screen in your office? You can put this display on screen for the month leading up to your event and each time your staff, board members or community members pass by they'll enjoy seeing that number rise. It's the perfect motivation to call that next sponsor, engage a table host and to share the event website with friends.