Despite the ease and convenience of virtual events, as many as half of the people who plan to attend virtual nonprofit events don’t follow through. How can you encourage your community to show up? Here are our top tips to help alleviate no-shows in the virtual world.
Ask for a Commitment
Make it required for guests to register for your event, even if there is no cost to attend. When people register, they feel more invested in the event and are more likely to feel some accountability for showing up.
Tip: Do not use the word “free” when describing your event because it implies no action needs to take place on your supporters’ end; instead, say “no cost.”
Go the extra mile: Link your registration to an automatic calendar sync that will place the event on the registrant’s calendar. This helps to keep your event top of mind for your guests and reminds them they have made the commitment to attend.
Registration Form for Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services
Give Them an Incentive to Attend
Give attendees another reason to attend your event. Offer an event box filled with branded items, food or even dinner. These boxes can be mailed before the event or even better, hand-delivered by your organizations’ board members or staff.
You can also engage your virtual attendees before the event begins by sending a small incentive or fun item before they even register
Youth Wise Mentoring’s Gala Box
Offer an Interactive or Hybrid Approach
Over the last 18 months, it’s likely that most of your potential attendees have spent hundreds of hours online in virtual meetings and events. How do you make sure your event stands out? You know your audience best, so think about what engages your community. Would your top donors appreciate meeting in person, safely, for your event? We are exploring the concept for supporters to attend a live-streamed event in-person. Essentially, these supporters would get a behind-the-scenes experience, like going to a talk show, and would sit at tables. We discuss this option in more detail on this blog: Hybrid Events in 2021: The Ellen Show vs. The Oscars
Communicate well and often
If you get your guests invested in your event in advance, they will be more likely to attend. Publicize the event through emails, social media posts and your newsletter. With virtual events, we recommend an email every two weeks starting two months before your event date. In addition to promoting the speakers, entertainment, and other components of the event, be sure to tell the story of your organization’s mission, vision, and values.
Social Media Post for TRIFC
What to do after the event
Life happens, so even your most invested and committed guests can still be no-shows. The best practice after an event is to connect with every registrant; this is especially true regarding those who did not attend. Take advantage of the relative ease of recording your virtual event, then share the link soon after so that your no-shows can still experience the event. In addition, a call or a personal email will help your supporters feel appreciated and remind them that they want to give to your organization.
If you are considering planning your next event whether it be in person, hybrid or virtual, grab a time on our calendar to discuss best options!