In 2020, virtual events became the new normal. In the face of fundraising adversity, nonprofits were forced to find new ways to keep fundraising and connect with donors online. As the pandemic continues, having alternatives is key in this changing fundraising landscape.
Hybrid and virtual events provide great fundraising options until we return to back to in-person events. Nonprofits need to determine which event type is right for your cause. This includes exploring what format best helps you reach your supporters, connect them to your mission, and keep on fundraising.
But to do so effectively, we’re helping you answer these important questions:
Before we get started, it’s important to know the main difference between a hybrid and a virtual event. It all comes down to where your supporters are located.
If you want the option to have a physical and online event, you’ll be hosting a hybrid event. If want your donors to support your mission entirely online with no physical event, you’ll be hosting a virtual event.
We’re here to guide you through hybrid and virtual events and how to choose which strategy fits best with your mission. Ready to dive in?
A hybrid fundraising event takes place both online and in-person. There are two audiences engaged in your fundraising, at the same time, just from different locations.
You can reach those who want to engage in-person and include those who cannot or do not wish to gather in groups, by connecting them to your events through a virtual livestream.
And because the fundraising takes place simultaneously, you can leverage virtual fundraising technology to engage and execute all your fundraising activities. Delivering a “dual experience” is key – so you need to find the right technology to make fundraising easy and engaging for both audiences.
Virtual fundraising software and mobile bidding help you easily engage your in-person and online attendees, and boost revenue via live and remote engagement strategies. Everyone can participate and donate by:
It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing – attendees can participate anytime from anywhere! All you need to do is send them a link to your charity auction or event, and they are off.
Before you get started on a hybrid event, there are a few questions to explore to know whether or not hybrid fundraising is right for you:
To determine whether or not a hybrid event is the right strategy for you and your mission, let’s examine some pros and cons.
Think of hybrid events as the “best of both worlds,” blending fundraising best practices and technology to create seamless giving experiences – anytime, anywhere. Here are some of the pros of executing a hybrid event:
Hybrid events are a balancing act between in-person and virtual attendees, and therefore, you must balance both experiences. Here are some drawbacks to account for before planning a hybrid event:
A virtual fundraiser is a campaign or event that takes place entirely online and allows supporters to engage with your cause from anywhere. Because the fundraising takes place entirely online, nonprofits use technology to promote, engage, and execute their fundraising activities.
As virtual events are well, virtual, they can be executed quickly and opened up to a wide audience. Virtual events can absolutely increase your nonprofit’s reach. Virtual fundraisers are also highly flexible – so the options are limitless for what your nonprofit can spin-up and execute.
From custom virtual programs, to live-streamed galas, virtual golf outings, online challenges, endurance events, and online auctions – the ideas are endless.
A few of our favorite virtual ideas include:
Want more ideas? Explore our 29 Creative Fundraising Ideas guide for what’s hot in the world of virtual fundraising.
Virtual fundraising has become especially important amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines. If your organization is new to the concept of virtual fundraising, here are a few commonly asked questions:
Your nonprofit’s exact circumstances will determine whether or not a virtual event is the right move for your fundraising. Let’s dive into the pros and cons!
At a time where live events are impossible or limited, how do you choose between a hybrid or virtual fundraising event? Let’s visit the key factors you should consider in order to make your decision.
The safety of you, your team, and your donors is of upmost importance. The first step in determining whether you should host a hybrid or virtual event is to assess whether or not it would be safe to gather any supporters together in-person.
If yes, a hybrid event may be your answer! Working to effectively incorporate virtual elements into an in-person event can be a successful way for your mission to grow while still ensuring inclusivity and safety.
If your donor base isn’t comfortable meeting in person, going virtual will allow you to do what you can to keep donors happy and healthy while still supporting your mission.
How quickly you need to get your event up and running will have a big impact on whether you’ll choose a hybrid or virtual fundraising event.
If time is of the essence, a virtual event can be spun up quickly and effectively. Roll with it!
If you’re working with a longer timeframe, deepening your supporters’ connection with your mission in an hybrid format (in-person and online) may be worth the extra planning time. We recommend at least a 120 day planning window (4 months), to undertake a hybrid fundraiser.
While hybrid events provide that invaluable face-to-face interaction, they also come with some overhead costs. The decision between a hybrid event or a virtual event may come down to that.
First, compare your budget to your fundraising goals. Then, compare the benefits of an in-person event element to the added costs. That will help you determine whether or not it is worth it. (It most likely is!)
No matter if your attendees are with you in-person or virtually, you need powerful fundraising technology to power your mission. You’ll also need the right technology to livestream your event.
For a hybrid event, take a 2-prong strategy to maximize engagement and giving for both audiences. Some experiences will be shared (main program, auction, donation), but some may be different (cocktail hour, live entertainment, VIP experiences, virtual tables). Your fundraising software will be the central location for your hybrid event, so choose wisely!
If you choose to roll with a hybrid fundraising event, you’ll want to follow these steps to ensure fundraising success.
As you adapt your event into a “dual experience” format, it’s important to think through the size, goals, and fundraising processes for your virtual fundraiser, ensuring both your in-person and remote attendees receive a seamless experience.
Here’s our ten recommended steps for hybrid event success:
Want to dive deeper into the world of hybrid & virtual fundraising? We have your back. Check out these resources: