how to make your event virtually amazing

With COVID guidelines still in full swing and year-end fundraisers quickly approaching, there is a lot to consider while hosting an event. Should it be in person? Maybe outside? Or should it be virtual? But how in the world do you host a virtual event? 

Fear not! Here are some basic tips, tricks, and guidelines for hosting a virtual event.

be optimistic

Having a virtual event is new and stressful, but there are ways it can be better than an in-person event! You may be able to have more people attend if it’s online. Instead of limiting your attendees to one group of people, you can appeal to a larger crowd, which (hopefully!) means more donations. Encourage your guests to invite family members to watch the event with them, the more the merrier! (socially distanced, of course)

Take advantage of this opportunity and ask for guests’ names, emails, and addresses. Is that too much? No! It’s for a good reason. Once you have this information, you can send your guests personalized packets before the event date. This could include the event program, swag, pledge card, etc. You can also send email updates with instructions on how to access the virtual event. BONUS: you now have expanded your email and address lists for future promotions.

book a video production company

Yes, this is an extra expense, but think about the money you are saving with this event. You don’t have to book a venue, caterer, photographer, etc. This is a crucial way for you to deepen your relationship with donors. It’s much harder to create an emotional connection without video. Therefore, it will be worthwhile to have professional help on the day of your event. Especially if this is one of your main fundraising events of the year. You don’t want a major hiccup to happen and end up losing your audience. 

Recommendations for video production companies:

promote your sponsors

Some nonprofits may think it would be hard to find sponsors because there won’t be as many opportunities for awareness during the event. Wrong! There are many opportunities for you to promote your generous sponsors. In between sessions, offer a minute or two for sponsors to introduce themselves. Send promotional materials in the event packet mentioned earlier. Include mentions of your sponsors in emails before and after the event. Here is an article with even more ways to promote your sponsors during an online fundraiser.

have an online auction

An online auction is a great way to keep your audience engaged before and during your virtual event! Take photos and list your items a week before to get the bids going. Then, periodically mention to your viewers to head over to your online auction to get their bids in by the end of the night. Once bidding is closed, announce the winners live! Want more tips on how to host an online auction? Check out this article for tips!

pre-record your videos

This may seem like a daunting task, but trust us, you will be much less stressed if at least part of your event is prerecorded. You could either hire a videographer to take videos of the speakers and edit them, or take them yourself. As long as you follow guidelines on how to take a good video, smartphones can do the trick! 

A few simple guidelines to follow:

Good, natural lighting

Simple backgrounds with no distractions

No barking dogs or crying babies in the background

Recorded horizontally, not vertically (from a smartphone)

Be sure to have good audio

have a live host

Having a person to host your event live will make the experience more engaging, especially if you pre-record your lineup. This will break up the virtual event and show viewers you are present. If your event turns into a movie, your donors may get too cozy to show any support. Take who you would normally have hosting your in-person event and ask them to host the event live. This is where a production company can be handy. 

You have a unique opportunity here and it is time to take advantage of it! Don’t let the rules and regulations of COVID-19 depict the outcome of your fundraising event. Get a team together and start planning. We believe you can organize an event that will be virtually impossible to miss. 

Don’t take on this endeavor by yourself. Your Scott Allen friends are here to help.

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