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We did a Hybrid Fundraising Event!

We did it! Read on to find out what we learned.

Buzzword - Hybrid: An event that give guests the option to attend an in-person or through a virtual platform. 

As we remain in an ambiguous world with Covid-19, hybrid events offer benefits to allow people to engage at their comfort level. Virtual streaming continue to hold value as live event return. They allow people who are not physically near the event or don’t have the financial resources to participate in person, to be still a part of the community! For some, the thrill of getting back in person is palpable and they are ready for live event action.

We hosted our first hybrid fundraiser in April and learned a lot! We had 200 people attend in-person and more than 150 online views. The event is continuing to get views in post-event marketing. Guests are also enjoying sharing the event with their network.

We always debrief and reflect on every event we plan. Here’s a behind the scenes on what we observed.

Here are some of the things we are celebrating from this hybrid fundraiser: 

  • People are ready to be in-person! This event had a 5% no-show rate which is very low regardless of circumstances! People also arrived early, so make sure your registration table is ready! 
  • It isn’t that expensive to add-on the virtual option. For this instance, we spent about $2,500 additional dollars to be able to stream the event and for a camera for the virtual audience only. 
  • The viewing experience is exceptional for the virtual attendee. As we have experienced in virtual only events, we used great graphics to enhance the virtual viewing but also were able to have the energy of the ballroom.
  • You don’t have to pre-record since both in-person and virtual attendees watched the stage program. Although some may choose to pre-record content that is shown as a video to the live audience as well.

Here are some of the lessons learned from this hybrid fundraiser: 

  • The live event emcee doubled as the virtual host. Because the camera set up for the virtual event was in another room, the emcee had to run to another location to address the virtual audience. This caused moments of “dead air” for the virtual audience that lost momentum. We suggest having an emcee/host who is focused on the virtual audience only. 
  • Make it optional for guests to continue viewing! We ended the stream for the virtual audience once the live auction began since they wouldn’t be able to participate. To our surprise we got feedback that they wished they could have stayed on and watched. 
  • Add detailed camera cues into the script. It is more important with a virtual audience to get a variety of camera angles. This helps to get the guest as close to an in-person experience as possible. For example, if someone is winning an award, ensure the videographers know where the winner is sitting and are ready to recognize them. 
  • Have extra volunteers ready! There continues to be cancellations due to illness or exposures and with a full ballroom again, volunteers are crucial to a positive event experience. 

If you want to discuss your hybrid event and ensure you are utilizing best practices, let us know! We are looking forward to these continued learnings in this new era of fundraising events! 

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