Virtual Events – Key points to consider!

Event Nuggets:

  1. When looking at putting on an event whether it be a physical or virtual event you need to consider what event platform to use. Can you use your own website, if so will it have the capabilities in order to achieve all you want from your event or do you need to look to use a third party site. With virtual events as you don’t have the ability to record participants distances/ times on the day of the event, using tracking devices to record this information has become very popular however, often also require using a third party platform. Some third party sites may be specifically suited for your purpose so a more suitable option than using your own website, for instance Raffall is a site dedicated to people who want to set up a raffle.
  2. Especially with virtual events consider whether you want to have a ticket cost or whether you will make the event free and ask participants to pledge to reach a set fundraising goal or if the purpose of your event is to increase your organisations awareness and increase your database lists. By having a ticketed event it means participants are more likely to follow through with what they have signed up to do, according to Eventbrite over 50% of free sign ups end up as no shows.
  3. Ticket costs! Consider what yours will be! When putting on a virtual event participants expect the ticket cost to be lower than it would have been for a physical event as the overheads for the event aren’t as high. However, you still need to ensure that the cost covers your costs and also consider if you are giving out merchandise to participants for signing up to the event that this is covered by your ticket cost.
  4. Are you sending out merchandise to your participants? If you have transferred your event from a physical event to a virtual one but are still providing your participants with the same merchandise then you need to consider that participants won’t have the opportunity to collect this on the day as they would have previously done and so the admin time this will take in order to ensure all participants can get their merchandise in time for the event will be vast. Will you need to bring in the support of other team members in order to achieve this? Or source volunteers to support you with these tasks?
  5. Return on Investment – Virtual vs Physical.Participants that have signed up to a virtual event on the whole achieve a lower fundraising total and participants expect to pay a lower sign-up fee than they would for a physical event. Which would result in generating a lower income than you would have for a physical event however, with overhead costs also being much lower for virtual events in can result in generating a higher return on investment from the event. It is important to manage your expectations and ensure you have a clear understanding on your income vs expenditure for all your events.
  6. An obvious benefit! But a benefit virtual events have over physical ones is that they can take place anywhere, which means they are accessible to a wider audience or supporters that may have previously not been able to take part in your physical events.
  7. If you are coming up with a new event idea, the simpler the concept the higher the rate of its success. A clear and simple ask typically recruits 40% more participants and is reported to achieve higher fundraising levels than those that leave their supporters confused about the events goals or ask the supporters to choose how they would like to raise the funds.
  8. Ensure your event is relatable. If participants can relate your event to your charity then it has meaning to them. If you can connect your charities activity, audience or messaging back to your cause then you are able to achieve a better overall engagement and deliver a more successful fundraising campaign. The difference on return on investment could be as high as 20%! (research from Just Giving)
  9. Calling new supporters! Would you love to have more people become loyal supporters of your charity? Virtual events are a great way of targeting a new audience that you wouldn’t have previously been able to with your physical events portfolio. They are also a great opportunity to tap into an audience that you have always wanted to but haven’t previously been able to. A huge number of virtual events in 2020 saw over 50% of their participants as new supporters to the charity.
  10. Try something new! With expenditure costs being so low for virtual events in comparison to physical events it is the perfect opportunity to try something new and see how it turns out! Have an open mind-set and get creative! Accepting that you don’t know it all, especially in an ever changing events world, but knowing the risks gives you greater opportunity to try something new and see what the results are.
  11. Never forget the importance of Thanking! Something so easy to do yet, often forgotten. Make sure when thanking your supporters after the event you are prompt with your communication to them. This is also the perfect opportunity to encourage the supporters from this event to take a greater interest in your charity and try to encourage them to give to your charity on a more regular basis.
  12. Communication! With virtual events you don’t have the opportunity to speak to your participants directly to give them any information so you need to ensure that your communication; pre, during and post event and is detailed and clear. You can also tie your communication into the stewardship journey for your supporters; explain how the event is shaping up, once you have reached 100 sign ups or a fundraising milestone. Make sure that the communication through the supporter journey is regular and in real time.
  13. What type of event? Are you thinking about what type of event you would like tp put on next? Some thoughts to consider! Both with virtual events and physical events, physical events have a higher fundraising total per person than other types of events. Similarly with both virtual and physical events cycling events have a higher average amount raised per participant, on average a participant in a running event would raise £124, in a walking event they would raise £156 and in a cycling event they would raise £226. It is also worth noting that the harder the challenge the higher average amount raised per participant, with the average for harder challenges being £205 compared to mid-range challenges at £180.

If you require assisting with putting on your next, or first virtual event then contact me today!