August 7, 2020

The Silver Lining of Virtual Galas

two technicians livestream a virtual fundraiser

It’s true. A virtual gala will not reproduce the atmosphere of an in-person event. It’s also true that virtual events have many benefits over in-person gatherings. Until we can celebrate the return of large, live fundraisers, let’s embrace virtual events. Here are five reasons to become a virtual event fan.

1. Date Flexibility

In-person galas are seasonal and most often scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings. Take advantage of your audience watching online and consider hosting your virtual event as a breakfast, lunch, mid-week dinner, or Sunday matinee. Even if you’ve always hosted your event on a specific month and day each year, take this opportunity to consider a different date for your virtual event. Remember you’ll want to schedule your virtual gala at a time when people are available to watch. Your traditional event day might not be best for going virtual.

2. Wider Audience Reach

Your in-person event is limited based on physical location. Your audience either lives in the area or travels to attend. With virtual events, your event streams everywhere. Friends, parents, alumni, and previous donors who have moved away will be delighted with the opportunity to share, tune-in, and support your virtual fundraiser. Virtual events also offer increased access if they are free to view. For nonprofits, that means sponsors, donors, staff, and clients can all celebrate the organization together online.

3. Every Seat Has a Great View

Virtual events are essentially television shows. Everyone watching can be comfortable however they choose. There are no bad seats or back tables.

4. More Options for Guest Speakers and Celebrity Hosts

Virtual events are more convenient for your special guests and hosts. The event can be hosted from anywhere so there are no travel costs, and the time commitment is much less, increasing the odds that a hard-to-book guest speaker or celebrity host will be able to participate. If they are still not available on the day of your virtual event, a special welcome or message of support can be pre-recorded at their convenience. Unlike at in-person events, pre-recorded messages shown during streaming events can easily be perceived as live speeches.

5. Continued Donor Support After the Virtual Gala

Share a recording of your virtual fundraiser and your audience will continue to grow after the event. We’ve seen total views of virtual galas double and triple in the days and weeks following the livestreamed event. There are many ways to capitalize on this. Keep your online auction open for a few days after the event; make a direct ask when you share the video of the event on your social channels; and repurpose content from your virtual gala throughout the year.

Ready to go virtual?

There are as many types of virtual fundraisers as there are nonprofit organizations. If you need a livestreaming and media production partner, let us know. We can also recommend amazing emcees, benefit auctioneers, and event strategists. You may also be interested in other articles on our blog including: Livestreaming and Virtual Event FAQs and Essential Roles for Virtual Events.