6 Ways to Save Your Fundraising Webinar
I hate to ask, but can we admit that too many webinars are duller than dishrags? And a lot less useful?
They don't have to be, but they are. As the technology for creating and delivering presentations becomes ever more affordable and easy to use, almost anyone can get an audience and share information about his or her field of expertise.
But just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Think of how many webinars you've started to watch compared to how many you've stayed with all the way to the end. See what I mean?
Worse, sometimes the line between sharing knowledge and self-promotion gets blurred too. That's when a webinar really gets tedious.
It doesn't have to be this way. Here are six things you can do to keep your online audience interested and engaged:
- Have something new to say. It might seem insultingly obvious, but we all know there are too many webinars out there that bring nothing innovative or original to the discussion.
- Don't sell. Webinars are teaching tools. You raise awareness of your organization just by having one. When you start pushing your products and services, your credibility as an information source vanishes and your audience walks away rolling its eyes.
- Basic doesn't mean obvious. Some people try to expand the size of the audience by billing their webinars as "The Basics of ____." But too often, talk of "basics" devolves into such a low level of obviousness that only the most inexperienced viewer learns anything. It would be better to talk over people's heads a little and explain during the Q&A than have people check out after a few minutes because the presentation is so elementary.
- Don't read the PowerPoint. This is probably the No. 1 complaint people have about presentations in general. It's even more painful when there's no live speaker in the room to hold the listener's attention. Don't recite a slide. Expand, expound, expostulate, expropriate on it, and lead the listener someplace unexpected.
- Challenge what PowerPoint can do. The default presentation software has become a victim of its own success. A classic example of familiarity breeding contempt. It can be a challenge to make PowerPoints more interesting, but adding some video, audio and more interesting graphics helps.
- Don't leave questions until the end. Letting the audience (via the moderator) interrupt now and again makes your presentation feel more like a conversation than a lecture. Of course, you have to be ready for some surprises and be able to think on your feet. But a little risk-taking on your part translates into a better experience for your audience.
The webinar can be a great tool for educating your peers and getting your brand in front of a wide audience ... but only if your presentation is professional, informative and entertaining.
People will think less of you if you do a bad webinar than if you don't do one at all. So before you decide to host one, make sure you have information that's worth your colleagues' valuable time.
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.