Hybrid events are more popular than ever. They’re uniquely accessible, have unlimited viewership potential, and have all the strengths of traditional, live events. If you’re one of the many nonprofits planning to make your next event a hybrid one, here are six tips to keep in mind!
1. Personalize Your Invites
One of the main appeals of a hybrid event is the (theoretically) limitless audience. Without having to worry about venue capacity, catering costs, or even geographical proximity, your virtual audience can be whatever size you want. Of course, it’s still limited by your ability to actually reach people, and that’s why it’s important to create an invite that stands out.
We’ve seen great success when organizations produce invitation videos for their hybrid event:
A thoughtful, well-produced video can help you stand out from the crowd and give your invitation a personal touch (they’re also some of our most popular videos). A creative event theme or fun social media campaign can also help widen your reach and increase the effectiveness of your invitations.
2. Work With The Hybrid Event Experts
There’s no substitute for experience. If you have an auction, you’re going to want an auctioneer who has experience engaging both a live and virtual audience simultaneously. You’re going to want to partner with a reputable mobile bidding platform like QTEGO, GiveSmart, GreaterGiving, or OneCause. You’re also definitely going to want to hire a production company (like us!) who has experience navigating all of the unique complexities hybrid events create.
3. Get Creative With Sponsorships
By running both a virtual and an in-person program, you’re creating more opportunities to showcase potential sponsors. Take advantage of that! Sponsor logos can be shown on signage throughout the room, in the virtual preshow, or during the virtual program. You can find sponsors for your invitation video or your fund-a-need video; the possibilities are endless.
4. Less Is More
We’ve seen much better audience retention for virtual programs that are less than 90 minutes long.
You don’t need to stream the entire evening. In fact, it’s better that you don’t. Your virtual program should include your speakers, your fund-a-need, your paddle raise / live auction, and any concluding remarks. That’s it. Your live attendees can then continue to eat, socialize, and dance for the rest of the night without boring your virtual audience. Shorter programs are usually higher-impact!
5. Video, Video, Video
Video is always worth the investment. Having a professionally-produced fund-a-need video can make your paddle raise significantly more effective:
You can tell the stories of recipients, highlight how donations are used, and share why your mission matters. Connecting people’s hearts to your cause makes them more inclined to give. Plus, any content you create can always be repurposed as promotional material later.
(While fund-a-need videos are some of the most common videos we’re asked to produce, you can find more ideas on how to get creative with video here.)
6. Engage Your Virtual Audience
Finally, one of the most difficult (and most important) parts of producing a successful hybrid event is properly engaging your virtual audience. Your at-home attendees shouldn’t feel like they’re just watching your event, they should feel like they’re a part of it.
This can be done in simple ways like addressing them directly and acknowledging when they donate, and in more involved ways like bringing them up on screens in the venue. However you choose to go about it, your virtual audience should be more than just an afterthought.