Your virtual event and production team is going to be much smaller than your in-person fundraising team. Physical distancing, COVID-19 safety precautions, and state gathering-size restrictions 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.
The director monitors the script and provides cues to the hosts and to the technical producer. 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, when to change camera views, and when to display design elements.
A high-quality livestream program requires the correct technology run by a skilled technician. A technical producer creates the look of the show; manages and transitions between all incoming feeds from cameras, video conferencing, bidding software, slide presentations, and videos; adds design elements and effects; balances the volume, tone, and clarity of everything we hear; and outputs the livestream to the desired platform.
For on-location virtual events, the audio engineer works closely with the technical producer, managing the audio quality of the livestream 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, SchoolAuction.net, and Auctria. 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.
Originally published April 29, 2020. Updated January 11, 2021.