Ever heard of a hybrid event? If you haven’t, you likely soon will. Hybrid special events are simply a combination of a traditional special event (think about your golf tournament, gala, 5k, etc.) with a virtual element. Choosing to host a hybrid event will allow your constituents to decide how to participate, based on their comfort level as we move out of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

How do you create a successful hybrid event?

The simple answer is that you will want to create virtual programming to correspond to what is happening at your in-person event. For example, if you are planning an in-person luncheon or gala, plan to incorporate entertainment that can be livestreamed or recorded to view virtually. Planning a virtual programming element will also allow you to leverage speakers or entertainers that are not physically located in the same area as you. Streaming a speaker from a distance is not only possible but can be very effective. You can also consider delivery meals to your virtual participants or offer gift cards so they can pick up their own meals. 

Nonprofit organizations have also had a lot of success with virtual auctions, both live and silent. Mobile bidding apps are popular now with attendees able to bid from their phones and stay on top of the process in real time, alongside those participants who are bidding in person using the same app. 

When considering golf tournaments or 5k’s, your organization needs to get more creative. Some organizations have offered hybrid golf tournaments that allow golfers to either participate on a given day with others in attendance (the traditional model) or they can choose a golf time within a set period of time, such as 7-10 days. A virtual 5k works in a similar manner with runners choosing to participate anytime (and usually anywhere) during a set period of time. If runners want to participate in the opportunity for prizes, tracking apps can be used to verify run times.

Benefits of Hybrid Events:

  • Hybrid events are a great opportunity to expand your constituent base. You may be able to reach potential donors that don’t want to commit to attending your event in person but are open to “sampling” your event by attending virtually. Also, there is no limitation on geography – attendees can live anywhere and still participate. If you are successful at engaging these individuals, many may become future in-person attendees or supporters of your cause. Also, with virtual attendees, there is no concern for capacity at your venue. 
  • Sponsors are supportive of hybrid events because they can also potentially reach more attendees. Additionally, your organization may be able to offer more creative and far-reaching sponsor opportunities, from livestream sponsors to in-person table sponsors.