Your virtual event and production team is going to be much smaller than your in-person fundraising team. Physical distancing and stay-at-home orders, as well as livestreaming platforms and available internet bandwidth, require a lean, flexible team. Here’s your guide to essential roles during virtual events.
Limit your live presenters to one or two people, such as an emcee and/or a benefit auctioneer. Your hosts need to be comfortable in front of a camera, be able to convey your message with energy and enthusiasm, and follow a timed script. All other presenters and entertainers should film their messages in advance.
Technical Director / Show-Caller
The technical director monitors the script and provides cues to the hosts and to the livestream technical engineer. The director identifies when to switch between a live shot and a video, when to advance to the next presentation slide, when to employ picture-in-picture, and when to change camera views.
Livestream Technical Engineer
A high-quality livestream program requires the correct technology run by a skilled technician. A livestream technical engineer manages and transitions between all incoming feeds from cameras, video conferencing, bidding software, slide presentations, and videos, adding graphics and effects using a webcast switcher, and then outputting the livestream to the desired platform via an encoder.
Working closely with the technical engineer, the audio engineer manages the audio quality of the livestream. Each source of content has unique sound qualities. To ensure an enjoyable experience for the audience, the audio engineer balances the volume, tone, and clarity of everything we hear through an audio mixing console.
Videographer / Camera Technician
During virtual events, one videographer manages one to two cameras. With a two-camera livestream, one camera is positioned for a wide/master shot, the other camera is designated for close-ups. This role is not part of an entirely virtual auction.
Your host cannot step away from the camera during a live production. An auction assistant supports the benefit auctioneer with real-time messages and donor updates during the broadcast. This role can be performed remotely through a shared Google doc.
The traditional gala paddle-raise is replicated during virtual auctions with the use of third-party online bidding software, such as Greater Giving and SchoolAuction.net. During the virtual auction, your audience will open two tabs on their web browser or use two devices. One to watch the live stream, the other to bid on auction items and to donate during special appeals. Donor support is an essential remote role. This person monitors the fundraising software and responds to donor questions via phone, chat, and text.
The final essential role for virtual events should be assigned to multiple team members in remote locations. The excitement of a live audience needs to be simulated in the virtual environment. Using chat features, social media feeds, and designated hashtags, your team can engage your virtual audience , celebrate your donors, and thank your sponsors. While the online experience doesn’t replace the in-room energy of a gala event, creativity and technology can increase donor engagement.