The pandemic has made us more grateful than ever for the amazing nonprofits serving our community. And, the gratitude for the work we get to do in partnership with our clients is deeper than ever.
We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of planning events exclusively in the virtual space. Here are insights and learnings from six clients with whom we have had the opportunity to reimagine events as virtual experiences.
Guthrie Theater Virtual Benefit
- Because we were virtual, we were able to feature actors from around the country and beyond in our program.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the total we raised through our online giving platform in advance of the event. We raised $40,000+ in pre-event online donations!
- The testimonial videos were my favorite part of the event. Comments from community members and artists were great reminders of what the Guthrie means to so many people.
- Event day is always such a whirlwind with in-person events. I was surprised by how laid-back virtual event day felt in the hours leading up to the livestreaming of the program.
- Being virtual provided the opportunity to focus on video content in a way we hadn’t previously. The result was amazing videos featuring our clients and the work of Legal Aid.
- Gala boxes weren’t even on our radar when we started planning. The boxes were one of the best things we did! People are still talking about the experience of receiving them and asking if we’ll have them for our May virtual event.
- One board member said, “This virtual event was so fun. We really need to promote the fun element more leading up to our next virtual event!”
- Through planning our virtual events, I’ve discovered fundraising skills I never knew I had.
- We were thrilled and pleasantly surprised that we retained almost all of our sponsors in transitioning from in-person to virtual events.
- I love that because virtual events rely heavily on video content, we have been able to highlight many more clients than we’ve been able to with our in-person events.
- Planning virtually has inspired our team to be more creative in our pre-event marketing and how we can make our event programs engaging.
- Because we haven’t been in person with our event guests, our team is being more pro-active in making personal connections with donors leading up to and following our events.
- The fundraising and total number of people who participated in our virtual event exceeded expectations. I believe the biggest factor in this success was our team of 55 virtual table hosts.
- We acquired 100 first-time donors! This is many more new donors than we typically acquire at our in person gala.
- I admit it was kind of fun to be able to wear my jeans and hoodie not only during set up, but also during the program! One thing I really missed, though, was not having the day-of-event interaction with our amazing volunteers.
- The shorter program constraints with a virtual event forced us to make sure every element of the program was crisp, clear and compelling. We focused on making every word count!
- I was surprised by the strength of fundraising. Our net fundraising total was higher than our last in-person event. People were really generous!
- We loved being able to engage people from far away. VocalEssence is well known outside of Minnesota, so it was great for people from around the world to be able to participate.
- It was cool that people who normally wouldn’t attend because of affordability or other factors were able and chose to join us.
- I compare planning a virtual event in 2020 to building a plane while trying to fly it. It was fun, terrifying and exhausting!
- We were surprised to learn that people weren’t as fatigued with virtual event as we expected! Our supporters were excited to support and eager to learn how our organization was adapting during the pandemic.
- Our first virtual event forced us to try new things that we never thought we needed. Now we have great new tools for both in-person and virtual events such as the teleprompter and an online auction platform.
- We like that the virtual space forced us to tell our story more succinctly. A goal with our in-person events has been to tighten up our messaging, and the shift to virtual helped speed up the process.
- It was fun to learn a new skill set! Instead of planning dinner menus and decorations, we were focused on technology logistics.
We hope you enjoyed these reflections and found them helpful. Over the next several months we expect to see an interesting mix of virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. We look forward to our continued work with clients in reimagining events that provide the most successful and engaging experience possible.