Welcome to 2021 (and beyond?) where the hybrid event in-person/virtual event has entered the picture. As vaccines are starting to be rolled out, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and what is hopefully the end of the pandemic. We have been working with our non-profit partners to plan their fundraising events for the year and while we may be able to gather in larger numbers as the control COVID-19 has over our world wanes, many people may still not be comfortable doing so.
To that end, we have been preparing for the hybrid event concept as our template for the next year or two. If you haven’t already heard the term, hybrid events consist of the more traditional in-person gala/5k/concert/etc. (albeit much smaller in scale), coupled with a virtual program that we’ve all gotten much more comfortable with in 2020. Hosting a hybrid event allows your donors to participate in the way they are most comfortable with whether that is attending an in-person gathering or supporting your organization from the comfort of their own home.
We created a hybrid event checklist for you that highlights a few of the things you should keep in mind when deciding if a hybrid event is right for your non-profit. While there are many benefits to hosting a hybrid event to fundraise for your charity, we also included a few possible pitfalls that you will want to avoid in your event planning process.
Finding the right tech partner is now more important than ever. Look for a partner that will excel at both the in-house A/V as well as the livestreaming to an online event page. You can find more info on what to consider when picking your tech platform in our tech solutions blog post.
INCORPORATE THE LIVE EVENT INTO THE VIRTUAL EVENT
How will you’re in-person program translate to a virtual setting? Will you pre-record portions (or all) of the program or will you have a live stream from the venue for your viewers at home?
INCORPORATE THE VIRTUAL EVENT INTO THE LIVE EVENT
This is not the same as above and may be more important! For maybe the first time, your charity’s in-person event will be broadcast to a much larger audience. How can you connect the folks in the room with those who are at home? Remember a hybrid event is one event, so we want to make sure to link everyone who is coming out for the same important cause together on this special evening.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Should all your speakers be in the same room at the venue? Make sure you are respectful of your speakers’ comfort level with being in a larger group. As always, safety protocols should be strictly adhered to!
This is really taking the time to stress AGAIN how important your tech partner is. Consider pre-recording any live speakers just in case. Cover all of your bases ahead of time including confirming that your venue has the bandwidth for any live streaming you will be doing.
Be very clear about the various levels of attendance and what each option entails. Will there be exclusive opportunities only available to in-person attendance? What if government restrictions change, or someone’s travel plans do? Be as flexible as you can to allow for the maximum number of attendees.
CONSISTENT AND COMPELLING MESSAGING
It should not matter how or where you attend meaning that you want to have consistent same messaging throughout your event experience. Virtual attendees now are more virtual-event savvy, so you’ve got to make sure that the content online is engaging, while also allowing the in-person attendees to connect, network, and take advantage of any features your tech platform may have.
TWICE THE PRICE, THREE TIMES THE WORK
And lastly, the costs may stack up very quickly as you once again pay for a venue, catering, AND tech platform. Plus, there will be two guest lists now – one for in the room, and one for online. Ease some of that burden by building out a comprehensive timeline and sticking to a budget.
Now is the chance to take the best of the best – what worked best for physical in-person events, and what worked best throughout this season of virtual events and build the “perfect” event with all the best components! There are cost effective ways to do this as well and we are happy to talk this through with you. Let Powered by Professionals help you navigate these uncharted waters, as we all find our way back to a new normal.