Hosting a Hybrid Fundraising Event: Ideas, Tips, and Insights to Lead Your Nonprofit to Success
If you haven’t hosted a hybrid fundraising event, there’s no better time to start than now! The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to navigate the tech world a lot more than we ever expected. And as it turns out...there are undeniable benefits to going virtual. Sure, it takes some time to learn a few new things and work out the bugs if needed; but we do that when it comes to any new venture that we take on in life. Going hybrid with your events should be no different!
Here’s the idea behind going hybrid: Now that people are getting back to more in-person events, we don’t need to rely solely on virtual events for our fundraising efforts. With that in mind, the idea is to marry these two approaches. It’s that balance between engaging with both a live and virtual audience that can elevate your nonprofit to the next level when raising funds.
The Benefits of Going Hybrid
A hybrid fundraising event model will incorporate digital components into your live in-person event. In other words, for those who are unable to attend the event in person for whatever reason, they can still participate! Keep in mind, if you continuously remind people of the great work that your organization does for the community, they will find a way to support your cause. In this case, it’s the digital components of your event that will allow your supporters to get in on the fun!
Hybrid Ideas to Get You Started
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about the benefits of going hybrid, let’s look at a few ideas to help get you started:
● Set Up a Donation Page. This may sound obvious, but a donation page is something many nonprofits tend to overlook when they go in person. However, giving your guests the option to donate online is a simple way for people to donate, whether they are in-person, at home in their pajamas, or even across state lines.
*Quick Tip: Offer as many of your fundraising opportunities (silent auction, raffle, donation page available virtually to reach the biggest audience.)
● Embrace QR Codes.
Sending out QR codes is the easiest way for virtual guests to unlock interactive components of your event. It could be a QR code to a special upscale item for bidding such as a bucket list trip. It could even be a QR code that links to a video from a special guest speaker or a clue to a virtual treasure hunt. Regardless of how you use it, it’s a great tool to keep your guests involved.
*Bonus Tip: Learn how to generate and utilize your own QR Codes and creative ways to use them before, during, and after your event from one of our previous blogs.
● Host a Virtual VIP Pre-Party Meet and Greet: Kick off your hybrid event with a meet and greet for your highest-level donors and sponsors. This event can be held 24 hours prior to the main event or as a pre-party the night of your event. Not only will this add value to the VIP ticket holders, but it can be a great way to say thank you in a more intimate setting.
*Quick tip: Give this select group a sneak peek at your silent auction 24 hours ahead of your event or even go above and beyond with an exclusive VIP-only Silent Auction complete with unique high-end items such as bucket list trips and experiences.
● Live Stream Your Entertainment. If you have a live band, comedian, or some type of entertainer, live stream them to your virtual guests! Doing this will help expand your audience, especially if your entertainer is someone who draws a crowd. Don’t limit your entertainment to your in-person guests. Set up a webcam and start streaming!
Tips to Hybrid Success
Hybrid fundraising events tend to be very successful. However, that’s not to say there won’t be some challenges from time to time. Here are a few tips to help make things go as smoothly as possible:
● Practice, practice, practice. When it comes to tech-related initiatives, you always need to rehearse. Set up your webcams, donation pages, and any other digital components ahead of time. Go through practice runs to ensure that everything is running properly. Never wait until the day of an event to try things out.
● Delegate amongst your team. Make sure each member of your team knows his or her specific responsibilities. Keep everyone up to date with all pieces of the relevant communication. A strong, cohesive team can get through any challenge!
● Registration is key. The concept of “if you built it, they will come” isn’t enough when it comes to virtual events. Marketing your event on your social media channels leading up to your event is integral to building your virtual audience. But how do you contact them on the day of your event? The most effective form of communication to encourage people to participate in your fundraising opportunities during your event day is through text messages. However, to text message your patrons, they first need to register so you can have access to their phone numbers.
*Quick Tip: Encourage registration by having guests purchase tickets through your virtual platform and offer to put the first 100 registrants into a drawing for an Amazon Gift card, to be announced on your Facebook page.
If you need assistance with your hybrid event planning efforts and coming up with creative ways to engage with your virtual and in-person audience, our experienced team here at AmFund is ready to help! Having worked with hundreds of nonprofit organizations’ fundraising events in 2021, our highly experienced Development team is happy to share our expertise when it comes to hosting a successful hybrid, virtual, or in-person event. Not only do we have a very dedicated and talented team, but our AmFund VIP Platform was built specifically for nonprofit organizations to deliver high-quality hybrid events and optimize fundraising opportunities. Contact us today to see if your nonprofit qualifies for our no-cost Fundraising Program. As always, thanks for reading, and stay safe!