Hybrid Fundraisers: How to Host an Engaging Hybrid Event

By John Killoran, Guest Author

 

As more and more people work in hybrid or fully virtual environments, other parts of life are also beginning to adapt to this more flexible lifestyle — including fundraisers! Hybrid fundraisers are a great way to get more members of your community involved by accommodating their needs for flexible attendance. Whether they have health concerns, are not in town, or not feeling their best, they can still participate in your event! No matter why you’re choosing to host a hybrid event, our three essential steps will help make sure that it’s a success: 

  1. Pick the right kind of fundraiser

  2. Include a livestreaming element 

  3. Invest in the right tools to engage with donors

While hybrid events are exciting opportunities to host a unique experience for your supporters, they do require you to leverage technology to properly execute your event. From a livestreaming platform to online fundraising software, you’ll need to ensure that you have your (tech) ducks in a row before launching your event. This guide will help you do just that, as well as plan an engaging event.
 

Pick the right kind of fundraiser

One of the best things about hybrid fundraising is that many of your favorite types of fundraisers can be adapted to a hybrid format. With a little creativity, almost anything is possible. However, this doesn’t mean that all fundraisers are equal. There are a few types of fundraisers that are best suited to hybrid events.

Peer-to-peer fundraisers offer the opportunity to host a wide variety of fundraising events that can easily be turned into hybrid events. For example, if you host a walk-a-thon, you could have your participants walk in their own neighborhoods and post updates to an event Facebook group while you track the total steps, distance, or money raised so far. 

Auctions can also easily be held in a hybrid format if you create a digital catalog and use virtual auction software. You can choose to livestream the event to simulate the live event for virtual participants, or just enable mobile or online bidding for all attendees. 

Lastly, any type of giving day or donation drive event can easily be made hybrid with a digital fundraising thermometer that allows all participants to see your progress. For this type of event, make sure to frequently interact with all supporters and give updates to keep the energy high. And don’t forget to promote matching gifts to increase your fundraising potential even more! 

 

Include a livestreaming element 

Whether you’re hosting a local talent show, a walk-a-thon, or a hybrid auction or gala, including a livestreaming element can be a fun way to involve in-person and virtual participants. 

You can use a platform like Zoom to show your live event and allow your virtual attendees to be seen, or you can use social media to livestream updates from your in-person event to keep virtual participants in the loop. 

Depending on the type of event you’re livestreaming, you can keep one video stream going at all times, share key moments in the event as they happen, or even have virtual attendees participate if using a platform like Zoom. However you do it, make sure to keep an eye on the chat or comments so that you can stay engaged with all of your attendees. 
 

Invest in the right tools to engage with donors

As discussed, hybrid events require you to provide a way to connect with virtual attendees. This means investing in the right tools that make it easy to communicate. A few tools you should consider include: 

  • A livestreaming platform. This can be as simple as using Zoom, or you can explore other solutions that will better fit your need.

  • Camera equipment. If you’re livestreaming, it’s a good idea to get an actual camera instead of trying to get everyone in the picture with a laptop. 

  • Microphones/sound equipment. Similarly, you want to ensure that anyone speaking at an event can be properly heard by all participants. 

  • Virtual auction software. With auction software made for virtual or hybrid events, you can create digital catalogs, allow attendees to bid online, and easily check out if they win an item.  

  • Online fundraising software. Similarly, your donors should be able to complete their donations online, whether they’re sitting at home or right next to you! Snowball recommends looking for text-to-give capabilities to help further streamline donations. 

The exact tech you invest in will largely depend on the types of hybrid events you plan to host and the needs and budget of your organization, but these can be helpful for most organizations. With the right event, a good plan, and top-of-the-line tools, your hybrid event is guaranteed to be a success! 

 

John Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations. 

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