In 2020, we saw nonprofits and charities discover the great benefits of hosting virtual fundraising galas and planning hybrid fundraising events. Thanks to advances in online fundraiser platforms, supporters were able to continue interacting with each other. They could also donate online during the lockdown. Many nonprofits and charities also discovered that virtual fundraisers were less expensive to host. They could actually raise more money due to the large online audiences they attracted.
Today, we see more and more nonprofits and charities going back to traditional in-person fundraisers. Rather than lose the benefits of virtual galas. However, why not retain the advantages of online fundraisers by switching to a new form of fundraiser — hybrid fundraising events? Read more to learn how to plan a hybrid fundraising event for your nonprofit.
To plan a hybrid fundraising event, you must combine aspects of virtual and in-person galas into a single event that can be experienced in two different ways.
Like traditional fundraisers, hybrid events rent a venue that gives supporters the opportunity to meet and interact in person. These supporters engage in the usual fundraising activities — luncheons, charity auctions, raffles, and more.
Simultaneously, hybrid galas allow people to attend the same event virtually and interact with attendees through their laptops and mobile devices. With live streaming and online fundraising platforms, virtual audiences can experience a fundraising event in real-time alongside in-person audiences.
In addition, today’s hybrid gala technology even allows virtual attendees to participate in auctions and other fundraising activities with in-person attendees. The result is an event that combines the best of both worlds and makes fundraising more inclusive for all guests.
These days, people long for more face-to-face interactions after spending much of 2020 in lockdown. However, many still want the convenience of attending events virtually and donating online.
If you plan a hybrid fundraising event, you satisfy both needs. Audiences who want an in-person experience can go to a meeting hall or event venue to catch up with other nonprofit supporters. However, since the majority of hybrid audiences will be attending virtually, the physical space can be smaller. It can reduce expenses and retain the advantage of a low-cost online fundraiser.
Likewise, allowing people to continue attending your fundraisers virtually helps retain the large audiences a virtual fundraiser can attract. People won’t have to travel long distances to participate in your fundraiser. You’ll even be able to attract supporters from different states and countries. This will increase both your nonprofit’s brand awareness and the number of potential donors.
Hybrid events also come with marketing opportunities. Because online fundraising platforms like PayBee enable you to record virtual events, you’ll have a ready source of video footage of your event to promote future fundraisers. Showcasing clips of your live stream coverage from past events on social media is a great way to let audiences see how much fun your events are. And with built-in social sharing tools, transforming old footage and photos into new advertisements is easier than ever.
While a hybrid fundraising events come with plenty of advantages, making sure your event team can adapt to the new changes comes with its own set of challenges.
That’s why it’s important to choose an online fundraising platform that’s user-friendly for both your audience and your event team. Offering two different ways to experience a single event can be difficult. You’ll want the online tools that help make your hybrid event run smoothly.
PayBee can help with this. Their popular features are designed to specifically help your team at key moments in your hybrid gala.
For many fundraising attendees, the process of checking into and checking out of a gala can be time-consuming and frustrating. PayBee offers a Mobile Check-In/Check-Out feature. This allows guests to handle this process through their smartphones and mobile devices, making the entire process much more efficient. Guests will be in a much better mood when they participate in the gala, which influences their generosity and desire to donate.
Mobile Check-In/Check-Out also helps avoid long lines at in-person gatherings, which can still be an issue during this era of social distancing.
One of the most common issues in hosting a hybrid gala is that you need two event teams. You should have one to manage your in-person guests. The other should accommodate your virtual audience. Staff and volunteers need a way to communicate efficiently with each other and handle tasks quickly.
To make this more manageable, staff and volunteers can use the PayBee Mobile App which lets them control multiple tasks for in-person guests. These include check-in, check-out, mobile bidding, bid adjustments, and more. Being able to handle so many important tasks with a single app reduces issues that come up during hybrid events. Therefore, the overall gala will run more smoothly.
Managing your guest list is a regular issue that comes up during fundraising events. Often, guests will purchase multiple tickets for a large party and then not provide the event team with information on individual guests. Event staff won’t know which guests are confirmed attendees. They also won’t know if any of these guests have any dietary restrictions that may affect meal choices. All of this can cause delays and other problems during your event.
PayBee offers a couple of features to help with this. First, the PayBee system requires ticket purchasers to fill out all of their pertinent information when they buy a group ticket. In addition, each invitee receives an email invitation that requires them to enter their information (name, email, dinner choice, vaccination status, etc.) before they can confirm the invitation. All of this information provides your event team with the tools they need to manage your audience better.
The PayBee system also auto-generates table name cards for each guest using the information provided. Each table card includes a unique QR code that aids in easy check-out and mobile bidding/donation.
Silent auctions are excellent fundraising activities. They are great at raising revenue and also for increasing hype for your hybrid event. Because people can participate in silent auctions before the actual event, participating guests will be anticipating your upcoming gala days or even weeks before it begins.
However, people who bid on silent auctions can grow frustrated if someone bids on their item. You will see this happen if someone takes the lead before they can raise their own bid. To help, PayBee offers mobile silent auction bidding with live text updates. This allows participants to place bids with their mobile devices. They’ll also receive real-time notifications if someone outbids them. This enables them to raise their own bid, increasing your revenue and improving guest satisfaction.
Making everyone at your hybrid fundraiser feel involved in the event is essential if you want them to participate in your activities. PayBee’s virtual event platform keeps your online guests in the action by providing excellent live stream capabilities that can be used with most of the popular streaming services. Guests will be able to see and hear all the activities during live auctions, concerts, presentations, and more.
Even better, donation buttons can be placed on the same screen where the guests view the live stream. This makes it easier for your virtual audience to donate as your emcee raises the activity level, improving revenue streams.
Having hosted hundreds of fundraisers on our platform, we’ve found that in-person guests enjoy holding physical bid paddles during live auctions. To accommodate them, the PayBee system automatically generates bid paddles for each of your guests to hold up during an auction.
What’s more, each paddle comes with a unique QR code that’s linked to that guest. This makes it easy for guests to check out and access mobile bidding/donation features simply by scanning the code.
One of the true tests of a successful hybrid fundraising event is how well your virtual and in-person guests can interact with each other. And thanks to PayBee’s livestream capabilities and mobile apps, both your virtual and in-person audience can engage in some very active bidding wars during your live auctions — all in real-time.
This shows the true strength of a hybrid event. With such a large audience made up of virtual and in-person guests, your auction items will fetch much larger closing bids. Plus, the intense activity of an active auction helps put all of your guests in a good mood. Therefore, it will make your hybrid fundraisers more memorable.
Guests might be generous at fundraising events, but they still want a convenient way for their donations, raffle purchases, auction items and other transactions to be processed. PayBee provides attendees with easy mobile payment processing. Guests can pay with all major credit cards as well as Apple Pay and ACH.
Even after your hybrid fundraiser ends, there’s still plenty of work to be done — and PayBee provides features that make that work much simpler. Our system keeps track of your donors and event financials, providing you with a breakdown of all donations and attendees. Not only does this make reporting your finances easier, but you’ll also have a clearer sense of what parts of your hybrid fundraiser were most profitable, letting you know what to repeat for your next event.
In addition, the PayBee system automatically follows up with guests with outstanding donation pledges. This ensures you collect all of your revenue.
Hosting successful fundraising events for your nonprofit or charity has changed dramatically over the last few years. With these changes, however, nonprofits have discovered many advantages with virtual fundraisers. This enables their organizations to raise more money and attract more supporters at a lower cost than traditional in-person events.
If you plan a hybrid fundraising events, you will retain the benefits of virtual events while taking nonprofit fundraising to an exciting new level. Nonprofits can now host fundraisers where in-person guests can interact and participate in activities with virtual attendees. This larger audience helps generate more revenue, attracts more supporters, and enhances the convenience of giving to good causes.
To learn more about how PayBee can help host and plan a hybrid fundraising event, sign up for a free online demo of PayBee’s system. You’ll be able to participate in a mock live auction and experience first-hand how PayBee’s livestream capabilities and user-friendly platform puts virtual guests right in the middle of the action. You’ll also be able to learn more about the best practices in hosting a hybrid fundraiser by asking your questions to our team of experts
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