We made it to the new year! I don’t know anyone who feels 2020 was easy. The year was about navigating challenges and reinventing so many aspects of life. We hope you have held up okay with all that was asked of you over the last several months.
As we dive into 2021, Ann Plans is excited to introduce our word of the year: Reimagine! We are continuing to help nonprofits reimagine fundraising events in the virtual space. And, this year invites us to be extra creative, strategic and innovative in how we design event experiences.
No one knows for sure when large in-person gatherings can safely resume. Here are seven ways nonprofits are embracing event planning during these uncertain times.
Seven Ways Nonprofits Are Reimagining Events in 2021
1. Maximizing the virtual event experience. Nonprofit supporters have now participated in virtual events for several months. As a result, it has become increasingly important to make sure your event stands out. Focus on producing an inspiring program that is fast-paced, mission-focused and heartfelt. Find fun ways to create community and engage viewers through your virtual event experience.
2. Creating a VIP in-studio experience. As social gathering guidelines allow, consider inviting top supporters to be part of an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at your upcoming virtual event. The studio audience adds an exciting element for both your in-person guests and people watching from home.
3. Hosting a giving week. Planning a one-week online giving campaign instead of producing a virtual event program is an option that is working well for some organizations. This strategy can include sharing engaging short video content daily. Consider offering a fun donation drop-off and drive-through experience during the giving week.
4. Celebrating outdoors. Can your signature event be cost-effectively reimagined as an outdoor experience such as a drive-in event? An outdoor event experience can appeal to a broader audience than you might typically attract for a gala in a ballroom.
5. Experimenting with a first-time event. Some clients are creating first-time events, using the virtual space to host an event online which they plan to convert to an in-person event in the future. We are helping Volunteers of America produce a first-time fundraising event which will be virtual in February and serve as a template for creating a signature in-person gala.
6. Rebranding a longstanding event. If you have been wanting to rebrand or refresh your signature fundraising event, this is the perfect time to reimagine the event. Some clients are using the virtual space this year to make exciting changes that will be integrated into their 2022 in-person event.
7. Offering a hybrid experience. When larger groups of people can gather again, many nonprofits plan to transition to a hybrid event with the option for people to participate either in-person or virtually. We are consulting with a Catholic high school planning to host a hybrid event with up to 200 in-person guests (dependent on guidelines from health officials at the time of their event) and others participating from home.
Could you use help figuring out the best strategies and format for your 2021 event? We would love to help! Reach out with questions or to schedule a time to connect.
Newly Updated Resource Guide
In case you missed the release of our updated Resource Guide for Virtual Fundraising Events last month, you can download this resource from the home page of our website: annplans.com. This ten-page guide includes a planning checklist, ten virtual event best practices, and tips for creating community virtually.
We look forward to lots of creative reimagining in 2021. Despite the challenges and uncertainties that await us this year, together we can make great things happen!