With many charities relying on in-person fundraising events to increase donation revenue, 2020 threw a spanner in the works for nonprofits. They quickly had to adapt and expand their digital footprint into virtual fundraising to keep the momentum goin.
We’re hopeful 2021 will see in-person events again soon, but with no firm date on when that may be possible, charities are trying to find a middle ground.
What is a hybrid event?
Hybrid fundraising events are essentially a combination of both online and in-person events in a single format. Whilst there was room for these events last year and even this year, are they here to stay?
What does a hybrid event look like?
A hybrid event is all about providing your donors with options so the event can continue regardless of changing restrictions.
Not only will it be able to continue, but it will appeal to a broader selection of participants who can interact in different ways, in-person or online. It may be an event across multiple locations or a base where it is held in person with limited people and virtual participants.
Why have a hybrid event?
The instability of 2020 floored all plans for charities, but now they need to start taking back some control of their fundraising, and with hybrid fundraising, it’s possible.
There are many benefits to hosting such an event that encapsulates the best of both worlds:
- Contingency Event - A hybrid event already has built-in fallbacks in place if restrictions change. It won’t be a last-minute switch to virtual, as the leg work has already been done.
- Flexibility for participants - If a participant participates in the in-person event but has to isolate at the last minute, you would see cancellations. Still, all they would have to do is make the switch to virtual. It covers all bases if a participant’s circumstances change.
- Traditional participants - Many donors love the build-up and support of having a communal race. They prefer it over taking part in a virtual fundraiser, so ensure that you have the option available to encourage registrations.
- Comfortable options - Some previous participants of in-person events may not be comfortable joining the in-person event but will still want to participate. The visual part of the event gives them the option to be engaged.
- Fundraising Targets - Some flexibility has been given to hitting targets, but ultimately nonprofits rely on revenue from fundraising events. Some charities saw so many cancellations in 2020; they must ensure that 2021 doesn’t create a similar scenario.
The London Marathon is holding a blended fundraising event in October to allow nearly 100,000 people to participate virtually and in person. They decided to do this after the success of people running the 2020 event remotely.
So, are fundraising events changing for the long term? Whilst charities will have to create two separate experiences in parallel if they put effort into making it now, a contingency plan is in place if restrictions come back into force.
Nonprofits prefer to err on the side of caution and trying to find new ways to hold their much-needed fundraising events. Opting for a hybrid event seems to be a safer way of taking back control of fundraising for now.