While practicing social distancing has meant canceling events for the foreseeable future, some nonprofits have begun to embrace the new trend of hosting virtual events.
In a previous blog post, we shared with you a list of COVID-19 Webinars for Nonprofits, including one from Bloomerang on How to Run an Online Event And Engage More People Virtually. That webinar helped provide us with some of the following takeaways.
Here’s 10 reasons why virtual events can support your mission by engaging donors and expanding your outreach.
1. Virtual events broaden awareness of your nonprofit. We appreciate our immediate community, they’re our greatest supporters and advocates, but you can also expand your outreach regionally, nationally, and even globally. With a click of a button new Twitter followers and Facebook friends can participate in your activities.
2. Online events can be more accessible, giving you an opportunity to interact with those who may not have been able to attend your events in the past. Something to keep in mind even when your strategies transition back to in-person events.
3. You can record live content, not just to revisit the event, but to utilize it in new formats for advertising campaigns or educational materials.
4. Find more methods to generate income. Donations can be made with a click of a button and a special online section can provide immediate access to sponsors. Let’s not underestimate the importance of making our sponsors happy through instant gratification.
5. Do you make the bulk of your event fundraising through auctions? That can easily be done virtually, whether a silent auction that inspires competition or a live auctioneer who’s an expert at getting your audience to up their bids.
6. We love nothing more than a pop-up experience. With a virtual engagement activity there’s no need to collect responses or worry about attendance. Your audience is online just waiting for you to go live.
7. Utilizing technology can help you engage a younger audience. We often hear about the challenges facing our partners when it comes to diversifying their membership, so why not try something different?
8. Admit it, we’ve heard the best thing about virtual conference calls is the chance to checkout our coworkers’ homes. Give your online audience a behind-the-scenes look at your site or let them get to know your valued staff. It will make them more excited about visiting again in person.
9. How many times does someone buy a membership but decide not to renew because they can’t make your lectures or exhibits? Bring them online with you and let them know they’re an active and important part of your organization. Special content and events can even be made available to certain membership categories.
10. Not all events can easily be turned into a virtual event. Galas are a fun reason to get dressed up and mingle with friends. So, keep planning those galas while thinking of alternative ways to educate and engage. An online viewing party perhaps? Our partner, Annapolis Green, just threw their first virtual happy hour and Watch Party filled with short videos to help encourage interaction among their participants. Now’s the time to get creative!
We look forward to seeing more of our partners hosting these virtual events and can’t wait to be a part of your new initiatives. Make sure to let us know as soon as you’ve got something on your calendar!