Hybrid Events in 2021: The Ellen Show vs. The Oscars

In 2020, COVID-19 accelerated the need for virtual fundraising. Online platforms offered a way forward for those non-profit organizations who were forced to cancel their in-person events. As we helped our clients make the switch, we saw clear benefits: increasing donor support, widening our reach, and making fundraising more accessible.

End result?

Meeting and oftentimes exceeding fundraising goals! 

We are exploring two options for engaging donors and supporters in a hybrid event model. The first option is what we will call the “Ellen Show” model. In this hybrid event model, your event takes place in a physical space, perhaps a studio or a hotel ballroom. You would have speakers on stage, like your emcee, your auctioneer, and/or keynote speaker. The event is live-streamed with a studio audience in attendance. These attendees have paid a significant ticket price to be at the event in-person. Perhaps they are your VIP and/or top donors and with their ticket, they receive dinner and several drinks during the program. The program is broadcast live to additional viewers–donors– who are watching from home or another location. Depending on your audio visual and livestream capabilities, the camera could toggle between the stage and the audience so that viewers can see the “studio audience” and experience a bit of the feeling of a live event.

The second option is modeled after the most prominent virtual event that has been streaming for years: The Oscars. In this model, the performance or show occurs on a stage, but the audience is a part of the show. The audience is engaged and sometimes invited to be a part of the show. The camera pans to the audience and those watching from home will see both the performance on stage as well as the audience as part of the entire show.  In this model, we would likely also provide the audience dinner boxes with small bites they can enjoy during the live stream.

In addition to these two options, we also see smaller home viewing parties that could be incorporated as part of the larger virtual event.  A successful hybrid event will allow organizations to develop deeper connections with supporters. Whatever the type of hybrid event, we anticipate that we will need to engage and entertain our audience in order to drive donors to give generously.

Planning your next event? Let’s chat about ways we can add creativity to your virtual and/or hybrid events!