Fundraising Events: The Case (and Risks) for a Social Wall

Brooke Battle
Written by :

Brooke Battle

Categories: Event Tips

The pressure for a nonprofit event fundraiser to use a fundraising thermometer display or social media wall is growing. Increasingly, events need to be modern and engaging to the audience in the room and including real-time social feeds or fundraising totals will show donors that you are staying ahead of the trend. (Here at Swell, we have always loved a screen instead of looping a powerpoint, which is why our projection app Swell Slides is a main component of or software.) However, with anything new there are risks and rewards so we’ll walk you through the thought process of both!

What should you consider when determining whether or not your organization is ready to add an application that displays fundraising totals or social media activity?  


  • More Revenue: Engaging guests visually with a fundraising thermometer and the names of donors increases event revenue. Period. The transparency of the giving activity makes it impossible to ignore and if you don’t have a visual of the fundraising,  guests will engage in your other event activities (eating, visiting, dancing… whatever your event offers), as opposed to the reason you invited them in the first place (to donate!).
  • Event Reach: When guests see their Twitter and Instagram pictures on a screen, they are more likely to continue posting as often as possible to continue seeing those pictures. This automatically shows all of their friends - who aren’t in the room - how much FUN they are having at your event. Now you’ve tapped into the network of your attendees and expanded the reach of your event. This substantially increases the awareness and FOMO-factor (Fear Of Missing Out) of your event.
  • Organizational Culture:  Your event is the most visible sign of your organizational culture to donors. A simple technology that puts results and social media on a screen demonstrates that you are an organization that adapts and looks to the future.  

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  • Cost: As nonprofit professionals, we are geared to reduce costs; however, your event requires a lot of your time and increasing the impact is worth the investment. If you are not updating your event in small ways, it will decline as more innovative groups capture attendance and dollars.  
  • Donor Privacy: Do you worry that some event guests will dislike the transparency of giving? Indeed, you may have a few that do not like a real-time display but their discomfort is rooted in the pressure it creates for them to give personally. In our experience, it is the guest or donor who is already not giving much to an organization that dislikes a screen.  
  • Not Reaching the Goal: What if we use a thermometer and do not reach our goal?    GREAT point. This is the reason that we (at Swell) choose to display financial totals but not a goal. As an event host, you can announce benchmarks which provides the opportunity to change the goal during the event. If you utilize a goal-oriented fundraising thermometer, you need to know in advance that you will reach the goal in the room before showing it to the larger group.

We know change can be hard, but doing one small thing at a time makes a big impact. Have more questions about why you should use a social screen? Give us a call and we’re happy to chat. 

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