Step-By-Step Guide To Organizing
Successful Hybrid Events
Hybrid events and fundraisers are not a new idea. After more than a year of living in the thick of a pandemic, where virtual fundraisers were forced to overtake in-person events, the hybrid format has become increasingly popular for fundraising events. Although some people find the idea of hybrid events intimidating and complicated, especially as they feel that they need to be more tech-savvy, this is simply not true. Follow our Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Hybrid Events to help you organize a successful hybrid fundraiser, achieve your fundraising goals, and have fun in the process.
What Are Hybrid Fundraising Events?
Hybrid fundraisers are fundraising campaigns that combine in-person and virtual fundraising elements. They promote inclusivity and flexibility, which is a great way to unite people to raise money and awareness for a deserving cause, either in person or from the comfort of their sofa.
Some examples of great hybrid fundraising campaigns are:
- In-person golf tournaments with online charity raffles
- Move-a-thons with online donations
- A charity gala evening with an online silent auction
- A summer fete with e-Commerce stores to sell charity merchandise
Why Host A Hybrid Event Over A Virtual Or In-Person Fundraiser?
Due to repeatedly canceling in-person charity events and building on the successes of virtual fundraisers during the last year, hybrid fundraisers are here to stay. Hybrid events are a great way to combine the two audiences and allow supporters to engage at their desired level. Event planners and charities predict that the hybrid format will be a long-term trend, as it allows your supporters to engage with your cause from anywhere.
Take a look at these amazing benefits of hosting a hybrid fundraiser:
Balance of personal reduced costs and minimized stress
Hybrid fundraising is easier when people can work from any place, at any time. This balance is important as it reduces personal expenses for attendees, as they don’t need to travel to a specific location to participate in the event. Reducing stress levels is also a great advantage of hybrid fundraisers. Supporters don’t have the added stress of getting to a specific venue at a set time, so they can make the fundraiser work around their schedule.
Flexibility and inclusivity
Hybrid fundraisers allow you to engage with anyone anywhere with no geographical restrictions. People that may not be physically able to leave their homes can join in from the comfort of their beds or sofas at a time that is convenient to them.
Increased reach and attendance
The ultimate fundraising goal is to raise more and reach more! Hybrid fundraisers encourage this idea as global outreach and charity awareness are unlimited when it comes to sharing your story on social media.
By promoting your fundraiser on social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin, you can engage on a higher personal level with your followers. Share stories, videos, and photos to engage your supporters and show the human face of the story behind the cause you’re raising funds and awareness for.
Reduced environmental costs
By minimizing the transportation element of getting people to and from the fundraising location, your event’s carbon footprint is greatly reduced. Clean-up costs and permits for large fundraisers can also be a thing of the past with hybrid charity events.
Greater return on investment
Hybrid events save on costs as there are fewer logistics involved in working with a venue, and it’s cheaper to hire speakers or entertainment for virtual sessions. Plus, with higher attendance, you can reach more people, which leads to selling more tickets and receiving more donations.
Stay in touch with tech-trends
Although many of us enjoy seeing people face to face, we cannot deny the ever-present need for technology in our lives. Devices such as tablets, smartwatches, and phones are always tucked away at the top of a bag, placed in a pocket, or displayed on a table. Remember that technology simplifies the giving process for donors, as they can support your cause by tapping a screen with online donations. People can check online auction items and bid whilst having a coffee in a local café and read recent stories and updates posted on social media about your fundraiser.
Who Hosts Hybrid Events?
The great news is that almost any organization can host a hybrid fundraising event with our flexible platform. Just decide on your budget, tech accessibility of your supporters and to what extent you plan to engage your remote audience.
Use The Best Fundraising Software For Successful Hybrid Fundraising Campaigns
Before you start planning your hybrid fundraiser, choose the best fundraising software to organize your event. DoJiggy is a leading provider of affordable, fundraising software and golf tournament software solutions for nonprofits, schools, and community organizations. DoJiggy is led by a management team with significant experience in online event management, e-commerce, Internet-based business applications, and customer service. Our team has developed a suite of unique, web-based event and initiative management applications allowing our customers to better manage fundraising events and initiatives online – easily and affordably.
Essential Features of Fundraising Software for Hybrid Events
- A Powerful Live Stream Platform – Adding a live-streamed video to your fundraising campaigns allows virtual attendees to join in the fun and fundraising. Our live stream platform was built for online fundraising.
- Social Media Integrations – Now more than ever, the success of your fundraising campaign hinges on your organization and supporters’ promotion techniques. Easy social media share to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on all website pages makes sharing your hybrid fundraising campaign easy for participants and supporters alike.
- Text Fundraising – Our virtual and online fundraising platform includes free unlimited Text to Donate messages for all US-based fundraising campaigns. Supporters text your organization or fundraising campaign’s keyword to a designated phone number. In return, they will receive a link to your website, auction item, or other feature to make a mobile donation.
10 Steps To Organising A Successful Hybrid Fundraiser
The key to a successful hybrid fundraiser is fully engaging your supporters. Ensure that the online and in person components of your fundraiser run smoothly and that everyone is satisfied by following our 10 easy steps for hybrid fundraising events:
STEP 1: Decide Whether A Hybrid Event Is The Right Choice For Your Fundraiser
First thing’s first, decide if a hybrid format is a good fit for your fundraiser. It’s vital to understand your audience and their needs and wishes before steaming ahead with an event that might not be suitable for them. Here are a few positive and negative points about hybrid fundraisers to consider before making your decision:
Pros to Hybrid Fundraising
- Hybrid events allow for high attendance, due to a combination of in-person and virtual attendees.
- Hybrid fundraisers and events offer great flexibility.
- Organizations can reach a potentially global audience due to online engagement.
Cons of Hybrid Fundraising
- It’s not always easy juggling the engagement between virtual and in- person participants.
- Organizations will have less personal contact with virtual participants.
- Lack of accessibility to technical resources can cause the exclusion of some supporters.
STEP 2: Gather A Hybrid Planning Team
Any fundraiser comes with its complications and hybrid events are no exception. Don’t try to go it alone. Make sure you gather a supportive and talented team to ensure a smooth fundraiser. Start early and plan meetings with plenty of time before the event to prepare for any eventuality. With hybrid fundraisers, it’s important to include some tech-savvy people on your team to help with the virtual side of the event. If you have the budget, maybe consider hiring a full-service events production solution to manage the logistics of a dual fundraising event.
STEP 3: Assess Technical Needs and Determine Your Budget
Determining a clear budget and assessing tech needs from the start is essential to keeping your hybrid fundraising events on track. Factors to consider for hybrid events include:
- It is vital to know your audience, their needs and financial availability. Are you planning a corporate hybrid fundraiser, which encompasses a greater budget or will it be a crowdfunding event with individuals obtaining donations from family and friends?
- Understand that not all your participants will have access to technology or the internet. Make sure they will be included, either in person or suggest a tech meeting bubble so that no one is excluded.
- If you are planning a dual fundraiser (live in person events with virtual activities) be sure to take the cost of both events into account.
- Travel accessibility is important to consider in your budget – how will participants, volunteers, and staff get to and from the event and how much will that cost?
- Be clear with your goals from the start and set a fundraising event budget that includes tech support, organization and development costs, event staffing if needed and remote participant’s technology requests.
- The timeline is crucial to a successful and fluid hybrid event. By casting a wider net to increase the reach of your supporters, you will need to consider their individual needs. Once you manage to engage globally, you must think about what time to run your hybrid event to suit everyone. Choose a time that is convenient for all attendees. Hybrids don’t have to be just a one-day event, so if you think it best suits your supporters’ needs, extend the duration so nobody misses out. However, make sure you have a cut-off date so that you can close your fundraiser properly and don’t lose vital engagement with your participants.
- If you are organizing a hybrid fundraiser with an online auction or charity raffle, make sure to set a budget for your prizes and tickets. Try to get as many items donated to reduce costs and procure them with plenty of time before your fundraiser. Take a look at our best raffle fundraising prize ideas and learn how to get them donated.
STEP 4: Choose The Best Virtual Fundraising Platform And Plan Your Virtual Engagement
Once you have set your budget and assessed the technical requirements of your hybrid fundraiser, make sure to choose the best virtual fundraising platform to host it. DoJiggy offers cutting-edge software to cover all your needs for a successful hybrid event. Our hybrid fundraising platform provides the perfect way to maximize donations by offering silent auctions and support for multiple fundraising opportunities, ranging from golf events to raffles to e-Commerce stores.
Prioritize planning your virtual engagement, as with many hybrid events most of your participants will likely take part online. It’s crucial to ensure that online supporters feel as involved in the fundraiser as the attendees at the in-person live event. To achieve this, here are a few ideas:
- Livestream the event to connect your virtual supporters with the in-person attendees and provide ways for them to support your organization.
- How about getting a virtual host to elevate engagement for the virtual participants? This means that the online attendees will receive that personal touch, which is often lost through the screen. Also, with someone taking responsibility for the virtual supporters your in-person team can focus on the live event, eliminating high levels of stress.
- Pre-record videos and content to show to the online participants, so that you have some extra breathing space when the hybrid event is live. You can screen these videos at the event so both the virtual and in-person attendees can enjoy them together. Also by offering these videos and content pieces on demand, you add a high level of flexibility, allowing your supporters to stream them in their own time, reach a wider audience and obtain more donations.
- Why not set up a personalized music playlist to make everyone feel involved and united as they are taking part and listening to the same songs?
STEP 5: Allow Plenty of Time to Promote Your Fundraising Event
It’s vital to start promoting your hybrid fundraiser long before the actual event takes place. Your supporters (virtual and in person), need to know how to participate in your hybrid event and what website to join to obtain their toolkit and all the relevant information of your campaign.
Don’t forget the power of social media when promoting your hybrid fundraiser. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are just a few platforms that allow you to engage with your supporters, both new and recurrent. Storytelling is key to engaging with your donors, giving your fundraiser a personal touch, whilst informing them about the background of your charity.
STEP 6: Execute Your Hybrid Fundraiser
So finally, the big event arrives and you want it to run as smoothly and successfully as possible. In order to make this happen make sure you:
- Send out a short training video before your hybrid fundraiser to help the participants get familiar with the platform before the big day.
- Create a FAQ page for before and during the event to reduce stress levels.
- Don’t forget to have staff or volunteers at hand to help with any on-site or virtual questions. This will help your supporters feel at ease and allow them to focus on the main fundraising event instead of worrying about technical difficulties, safety concerns and in person logistics.
- If you are using tickets as part of your hybrid fundraiser, be sure to stop selling them once your event has started. Post on your fundraising website and social media a clear cut off date and time to buy tickets.
- Think about promoting pre-bidding, possibly a week before the event, in the case of a silent auction. This will eliminate an influx of bids, will give people more time to search for the items they are interested in and can maximize profitability, as more time can equal more bids which means more money.
- Make the timeline and format of your hybrid event clear to your participants, both in person and virtual. It is vital that they understand what is happening at what time and how, in order to run a successful and enjoyable fundraiser.
- Keep your supporters, in person and online, completely engaged during the event. One way to ensure this is through gamification. Using fundraising thermometers, leader boards, themes and throwing in great prizes for top fundraisers will really help motivate your participants to succeed!
- Keep updating your donors on the progress and timeline of your hybrid fundraiser during the event. Remind them about mobile donations, auction and raffle items and how close they are to completing their goals.
STEP 7: Be Sure to Have a Contingency Plan
Back-up plans are essential for any fundraising event, especially in the uncertain times we live in. Make sure you have plan b’s, c’s, and d’s just in case you need them! Here are a few things to consider:
- Virtual fundraisers are a handy solution for ongoing safety concerns related to in-person events. This is great for hybrid events as a big part of your fundraiser will be online. Be prepared to go completely virtual in the eventuality of having to cancel your in-person component and also have a backup plan for any online issues that may occur.
- Make sure to sell hybrid event tickets to include both the in-person and virtual components. This way no one will be left out – If the in-person event is postponed or canceled, your donors can attend the virtual activity.
- If part of your hybrid fundraiser includes renting a venue, speakers, or special equipment, be sure to look for flexible cancellation and refund policies.
STEP 8: Complete Your Hybrid Fundraiser
A great way to continue engagement with your donors once you’ve completed your hybrid fundraiser is by offering a closing ceremony with awards and certificates. Providing your supporters with something memorable that they can take away with them after the event offers a personal touch and may encourage them to take part in your future fundraisers. Why not give away some prizes or customized merchandise to the top fundraisers? Make sure every participant is included by thanking them and sending out certificates recognizing their participation and achievements.
STEP 9: Thank Your Donors And Secure Future Engagements
Thanking your donors isn’t simply good manners, it’s a crucial step to building relationships and securing future engagements. Keep in touch with participants, organizers and supporters before, during and after the event. Show gratitude by sending out emails and creating a blast thank you note on social media to recognize the achievements of your attendees.
If you have received donation prizes for your charity raffle remember to thank them for their generosity. See our sample thank you letter for raffle prize donations. Remember, if your raffle sponsors are happy with the results, they are likely to want to sponsor another fundraising campaign in the future. This is a great opportunity to form strong links to local businesses and maximize your charitable donations and outreach.
For large donors and event sponsors, be sure to make personal calls and messages. Maybe send a little thank you gift basket or a customized product, highlighting your charity, to show your appreciation. Ensure that their logos and names are clearly visible on any social media or communication platform so that even after your hybrid fundraiser, you are publicly recognizing their support.
STEP 10: Debrief and Analyze Feedback And Data
It is vital to follow-up with sponsors after the event by including facts and figures such as event attendance, money raised for the cause, traffic to your charity website, media coverage, and so on. Financial tracking is imperative for reaching fundraising goals and managing a fundraising event. Dojiggy’s reports give you the data you need to do this. Donor data can be exported to your CRM or integrated directly with ActiveCampaign.
When you are preparing your debriefs, feedback and data analysis consider these 4 main questions:
- Did we manage to reach our fundraising goals?
- What could we change to improve our next hybrid fundraiser?
- What factors of the event were the most successful and unsuccessful?
- Which component (virtual or in person) was more successful considering fundraising and participation performance?
If it is your first hybrid fundraiser, be sure to collect all information, data and analysis when it’s fresh in your mind. Amongst the hustle and bustle of your event, important data can be lost or forgotten, so record it when it happens.
Examples of Hybrid Fundraising Events
These hybrid events are sure to please your audience and raise money for your cause.
Charity Golf Tournaments With Online Raffles
Plan a golf tournament with our industry-leading golf websites and add an online charity raffle for extra appeal. By combining virtual elements with a golf outing, players and teams can enjoy a day of golf while virtual supports can donate online and enjoy the possibility of winning raffles prices. Adding an online charity raffle engages your followers and gains more donations and awareness for your cause.
Athons With Online Donations
Organize a hybrid walk-a-thon fundraiser where people can attend both in person and virtually. Live stream your live event so people can follow along anywhere, at their own pace. Host a virtual dance-a-thon and get friends and family to join in at one or several locations while making online donations with our free and easy to use software. Get some great tips for organizing move-a-thons.
Charity Galas With An Online Silent Auctions
Organizing a charity gala is a great idea for a hybrid fundraiser and a perfect opportunity to get supporters together for an evening to remember. If you’re selling tickets, make sure the price covers all of your costs plus a small donation. The auction and sponsorships are where the real money comes in. Why not plan an online charity auction with our easy-to-use auction websites for supporters that cannot attend in person?
Summer Fetes With E-Commerce Stores
Welcome the warm weather with a summer fete to raise funds for a good cause and reignite a sense of community fundraising. Everyone will enjoy the day outside. But why wait for the big day? Instead, open an e-Commerce store in advance of the fete, selling customized merchandise for your chosen charity to maximize donations and awareness. Items can be shipped to donors or handed out at the fete.
Pro Tips For Running A Successful Hybrid Event
- It is essential to communicate the relationship between online and in-person participants. Make everyone feel included and involved in the entire process.
- Simultaneous online and in person activities need to run seamlessly, so you can fully engage your supporters. Your donors need to clearly understand how and when to interact and participate when and where necessary.
- Speak to your supporters when planning the event to see what their comfort level of online programming to in-person activity ratio is.
- Manage your expectations, as high levels of online activity, can be overwhelming, often offering too much information or instructions for your participants.
- Take advantage of the flexibility hybrid fundraisers provide. This can be useful when setting backup plans, cutting in-person event costs and extending your fundraiser’s timeline to a weekend, week or month event. Don’t drag out your programs, talks and updates – keep them short – to guarantee both onsite and virtual attendees are focused and engaged.
- Make your schedule clear by creating and publishing a program timeline on your hybrid fundraising site. Post it on social media, your website, and any other communication platforms you are using.
- Encourage participants online to get other members of their households involved such as family, friends and flatmates that might not have participated otherwise.
- Set up an e-Commerce store to sell printed on demand merchandise before and during your hybrid fundraiser. Custom printed merchandise can help raise funds, boost awareness, and improve visibility for your chosen charity. Take a look at our list of top custom printed merchandise to boost your fundraiser’s success.
Think Safety First
Promoting safety around your hybrid fundraiser is an important factor in making your supporters feel more at ease with the live component. Reassure your participants that the in-person event will follow all safety regulations in order to reduce any health risks. Point out your mask policy, hand sanitizing stations and social distancing arrangements. If you’re offering food and drinks make sure you have them prepackaged to avoid sharing. Avoid human traffic jams with crowds of people by setting up one-way mobility systems and wherever possible during these times of COVID, conduct the in-person component outside.