COVID-19 has turned the event planning industry onto its head. After all, how can you host a successful event when only groups of 10 people can attend? You still have a cause that you need to spread awareness for, and you still need to host fundraisers for those causes. That’s where online/virtual events can fill the gap. Virtual events have seen a 1,000% increase since the pandemic started. While they may not look like a typical in-person event, they can be just as successful if organized properly.
5 Ways to Make Your Virtual Event Successful
1. Provide a Virtual Space for Vendors
One big misconception with online/virtual events is that it’s difficult to invite vendors to your event. While your guests won’t be able to speak to your vendors in-person, they can visit their landing page and download the same resources they would have normally received in-hand.
You can link to the vendor’s landing page from your website and event page to make it easier for attendees to peruse the different virtual booths. As with any other fundraising or awareness event, you’ll want to make sure the vendors you invite promote your event’s message.
2. Create Virtual Networking Opportunities
One of the biggest reasons people attend conferences and fundraising events (aside from the purpose of your event) is to network with leaders who are looking to support the same things. If your event is for ending homelessness, your attendees all have the same goal, and they’re likely looking for other people who share that goal to collaborate and work with.
By creating virtual spaces, you can give your attendees a chance to break out into smaller groups to network and get to know each other. Zoom offers different rooms to do this. So, you could have the main lobby where people can meet up, and then offer multiple meeting rooms for smaller groups to continue the conversation. This not only promotes your community, but it satisfies the secondary goal of your attendees.
3. Include Live & Recorded Videos
Despite your event being hosted online, not all interactions need to be live. If your speakers are pressed for time on the day of your event, you can pre-record their presentation and request that they be available for a Q and A after their recorded session ends. This is also a great way for your presenter to answer questions that come through while the recording is playing — if time is not an issue.
While pre-recorded videos can help in a pinch, live videos are just as important for your event. It makes your online/virtual event feel more interactive. And, there are many tools you can use to create interactive moments during your event. A few ideas include:
- Live polls
- Interactive workshops
- Team-building activities
- Trivia questions
- Chat boxes
4. Send Attendees Goodie Bags
Online/virtual events don’t have to be free. A great way to justify the cost of an online event is to provide something in return for their registration. This is especially true if you’re hosting a virtual fundraising event. Charge a registration fee like you would if this were an in-person event, but send attendees a small swag bag for their trouble. You can also add a section during registration where attendees can donate additional monetary values to your cause.
Make sure to keep your goodie bag on-brand. If you’re creating awareness for a local zoo, include zoo-themed items such as magnets, t-shirts, stickers, and other things participants can use during or after the event to spread awareness. To take your online event up a notch, create a goodie bag that participants must use during the event with a note to not open until the first session. This is also an easy way to promote virtual interactions.
5. Keep Your Brand On-Message
Online/virtual events tend to provide more freedom to your vendors, sponsors, and speakers. That’s why it’s more important than ever that you ensure your messaging and theme are on-brand. By providing a cohesive theme, you can make it very clear to your attendees who are involved in your event.
When organizing an event in-person, this typically includes designing the space with your theme and ensuring that the vendors who are present support your theme — for example, an event focused on ending animal cruelty should have vendors with cruelty-free products.
For your virtual event, this should include having similarly-designed landing pages and images being used throughout your event. While the information should be customized to their products, there should be touches of similarities to keep the messaging cohesive.
How Kingham Creative Events Can Help
Trace Kingham and his team help make your vision a reality with a high attention to detail and years of experience in the event space. Our stylists are experts in refreshing annual events gone stale and bringing to life memorable and lasting experiences. Kingham Creative Events transforms experiences for Fortune 500 companies and large non-profit organizations with dramatic results out of the gate. Contact us today to get help with your next event.