As the pandemic disrupted everyone’s plans for 2020 and beyond, nonprofit organizations had to scramble to address how they conduct galas and fundraisers for the foreseeable future quickly. The previous model of bringing people together in one place for a night of dining, dancing, and glamours auction items seemed impossible. As a result, many organizations struggled to find backup plans to raise the funds they now worried were lost. Organizations need to consider taking a hybrid approach when planning upcoming fundraisers and galas with protocols and restrictions changing by the week due to the Delta variant. With the help of event specialists like AV Chicago, organizations can reach a larger audience than ever before and turn this initial “back-up plan” into a permanent solution for raising more funds than ever before.
Prior to the pandemic, fundraisers that were beginning to engage with a hybrid audience often put little thought into the actual experience for those attendees. Instead, many would put a camera in a room and forget about it. Now, the hybrid event experience has to be approached the same way organizers look at award shows like the Oscars, a polished presentation that is always thinking of ways to engage with its two audiences: in-person and at-home. The pandemic has inspired event organizers and nonprofit organizations to look at fundraisers in a new light, creating unique events that truly stand out from the crowd.
With many people choosing to attend events as a virtual attendee for various reasons, it’s important to select speakers and additional talent that will be able to hold your audience’s attention. Your event may be competing with someone with other apps or tabs open or children running around in the background. That means you need to invest in talent that will make them want to tune that out and listen over a long period of time. When looking for talent for your event, consider selecting engaging speakers, musicians, comedians, or other entertainment like card games and games of chance. Organizers can even create Zoom rooms where attendees can be in the same “virtual” room with the talent, allowing them to speak directly with them. This could be a great add-on for virtual attendees.
In the moment content
When experiencing an event in-person, most people are used to verbal announcements and call-outs during the event. Even if your virtual attendees can hear those, organizers can break the one-directional stream and put-up graphics or verbiage in-the-moment to help provide unique moments for your virtual audience. This is also an ideal way to send out reminders to give or push them to online auctions and other in-event fundraising. For the in-person audience, organizers can utilize digital signage to share those in-the-moment graphics or announcements. They can also highlight event photo booths or social streams to help weave the two audiences together. On the flip side, these photos and social streams can also be built into the virtual event platform as well.
Smaller local events
With many still concerned about coming together in large groups, event organizers are thinking of creative ways to break down their events. Some organizers have chosen to host smaller events throughout a particular region that can tie into a larger central event. This allows attendees to participate in smaller groups and can even open up additional sponsorship opportunities for these micro event sites. Organizers could also open up an option to purchase a package that allows a small group hosted at a particular household to participate in the event. Care packages for all attendees could be sent to this central home and could be an ideal way for a major supporter to invite their friends and families to participate in the event. Organizers could share video streams from these various events at the central event, helping to connect all the attendees coming together to support your organization.
For those missing being able to experience an event venue but still choosing to be virtual, organizers can build a virtual landscape for attendees to explore. Avatar-based programs are helping attendees navigate virtual event spaces, allowing them to go from room to room like they would at an in-person event. Attendees can go into rooms to watch talent or play games, chat with other attendees within the space, and can event arrange to meet people in specific rooms within the platform.
Simpler is always better
No matter what ideas you come up with, always consider your audience and remember that simpler is always better. There is no need to break the bank trying to do it all and make sure your event is always focused on your content that will influence your organization’s overall goal, increasing fundraising efforts. The last thing anyone wants to hear from their donor base is that they got confused and frustrated, which could possibly turn them off from making that crucial gift that your organization needs.