9 Activities for Your Nonprofit Events with Hybrid Fundraising

Just a few years ago, the idea that you could host fundraising events attended by hundreds or even thousands of supporters eager to donate to your new nonprofit organization may have seemed far-fetched.

And yet that’s exactly the kind of audience size nonprofits and charities that host virtual fundraising events can attract.

Thanks to online fundraising platforms like PayBee, you can now create sophisticated donation and ticketing campaigns with just a few clicks. From there, it’s a simple matter to take advantage of the nearly unlimited virtual space your platform provides to host a variety of online activities, including live auctions and virtual concerts, that attract enormous audiences.

These days though, there’s an additional upgrade you can add to your nonprofit galas — hybrid fundraising. Rather than just limit yourself to an online audience (who are likely suffering from virtual fatigue), you can create hybrid events that accommodate in-person audiences and online attendees.

This lets you enjoy the best of both worlds by creating two experiences for your in-person and virtual audiences and uniting them into a larger group of donors for your nonprofit group.

Even better, hybrid fundraising can be adapted for many activities, from golf tournaments to skeet shooting, that can engage virtually any audience and turn them into your active supporters.    

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best activities you can offer at your next nonprofit event — and what you need to do in order to make them successful hybrid fundraising activities.

Golf Tournaments

Golf tournaments and fundraising go well together. Celebrities, philanthropists, and sports stars have all been known to participate in nonprofit or charity golf tournaments and raise thousands of dollars for their favorite cause.

Of course, the 2020 pandemic put a halt to traditional golf tournaments (along with many outdoor activities and sports). Nevertheless, hybrid golf tournaments do allow golf enthusiasts to get back on the course — if you follow a few guidelines.

How to make this a hybrid event

Hosting a hybrid golf tournament doesn’t mean you turn your traditional in-person golf game into a video game that you livestream on the Internet. Instead, hybrid golf tournaments require you to set up a tournament that lasts several days (usually about ten).

During this time, registrants can book the golf course at their convenience and play a few rounds. Special apps keep track of each player’s score and the scores are displayed on your online platform where attendees can compare their stats with each other. At the end of the event, you can livestream a virtual finale where the tournament winner is announced and given a prize.

Hybrid events like this require your team to manage several logistics. You’ll need an online platform that allows you to create a ticketing campaign for people to register online, as well as online marketing tools to promote your upcoming tournament. You’ll also need mobile apps that track each participant’s score as well as a donation page where players and audience members can donate to your cause.

Like any good golf tournament, a hybrid golf tournament also needs sponsors. Fortunately, online platforms like PayBee make it easy to display your business sponsors on your website and in the virtual lobby where your audience members gather before each event. Offering multiple forms of exposure gives you an edge when you approach businesses to sponsor your event, and many may want to offer money and/or prizes for your hybrid golf tournament.   

Dinner Gala

Nothing says “high-end” like a dinner gala, and charities and nonprofits have raised enormous amounts of money at their nonprofit dinner fundraising events. This motivated many NPOs to adapt their in-person dinners into virtual events, and quite a few nonprofits have found their virtual dinner galas attracted even larger audiences than they did traditionally. Even better, the dinners were cheaper to host since you didn’t have to rent a dining hall or invest in a cleanup crew.

How to make this a hybrid event

Making the jump from virtual dinner galas to hybrid dinner events isn’t too much of a stretch. This is especially true if you already have experience hosting in-person dinners. You can keep costs low by renting a smaller venue, like a restaurant’s dining room, while investing in a reliable online platform that lets you livestream your in-person event to your virtual diners and let them interact with each other.

You can also arrange for food and cocktail kits to be delivered to the online registrants by your caterer, restaurant, or other provider. Make sure both your in-person and virtual guests receive different meal options on their tickets to account for any dietary restrictions. For instance, you’ll want to provide a vegetarian or even a vegan meal option as well as gluten-free choices. All of this can be easily created on PayBee’s ticket campaign feature.

To keep your audiences interacting, offer a fun event during the dinner, like a live auction. PayBee’s online platform specializes in hosting auctions and you can also invest in an auctioneer who’s well-versed in managing in-person and online bidders who bid via mobile app. You’ll also want a good tech support team to ensure your event knows how to manage and prevent glitches and delays, keeping everyone participating and raising more money for your nonprofit. And since your audience will be interacting with your event through their smart devices, be sure to make it easy to donate online during the dinner.

Skeet Shooting

Skeet shooting, also known as clay pigeon shooting, is a unique fundraising activity that can attract many shooting enthusiasts. Participants in this event use shotguns to break clay targets (or “pigeons”) that get flung into the air by mechanical devices or “traps.” The activity simulates bird hunting and has become so popular that there’s even an Olympic skeet shooting event.

Many nonprofits and foundations offer skeet shooting during their fundraising activities. For instance, The River Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers environmental education programs for children, hosts a “Sporting Clay Fun Shoot” complete with skeet shooting, lunches, raffles, and an awards ceremony.

How to make this a hybrid event

Like any fundraiser, a skeet shooting event needs to be promoted so people can learn about your nonprofit event and buy tickets in advance. PayBee’s online platform can help with its campaign creation feature, which allows you to create ticketing campaign pages and promote your event across multiple social media channels. You should also create an easy-to-use donation page that people can use to contribute to your fundraiser via their mobile phones and on their computers.

Being a spectator sport, skeet shooting can be live-streamed through your online platform for your virtual audience. Online attendees can also participate in other event activities. For instance, you can hold a raffle that both in-person and virtual audiences can enter. You can also offer live auctions, trivia games, and door prizes at various points in the gala to sustain online audience interest. Skeet shooting may be the main draw for this hybrid event, but adding other activities ensures that all of your attendees can participate in your fundraiser.

You may also consider offering free admission for people who attend your hybrid event online. This is a simple modification that can be created when you make your ticketing campaigns, giving online attendees the ability to watch a livestream of your event via a link on their ticket. While you won’t make money on these tickets, the more people who view your livestream, the easier it’ll be to direct them to a “Donate Now” button — which they’ll be more likely to click out of gratitude for the free tickets.    

Funs Runs and Walks

Walks, runs, and marathons are great fundraising activities for the fitness enthusiasts in your group. And with people more eager to enjoy the outdoors as travel restrictions lift and social distancing guidelines are relaxed, now’s a great time to arrange for a fun hike or run at your next nonprofit event.

Of course, you’ll still need to follow current social distancing requirements — but by offering hybrid fun run/walk options, you can still attract plenty of people.

How to make this a hybrid event

Back in 2020, some charities and nonprofits were still able to sustain their fundraising through virtual fun runs. This required participants to download an app into their mobile devices that tracked the distance they walked, ran, or hiked for the event. The stats were placed on the event website and participants could even share photos of their hiking trail or walking path on social media. This was a great way to keep the event alive since anyone who downloaded the app could participate in the event — even from other countries.

Of course, you can still host this same virtual event — but with small gatherings being allowed, you can also offer an in-person run for several participants at a single location. People can socialize at these gatherings and continue to compete against virtual runners and hikers who continue to track their progress and post the results online.

Crab Feed

Crab feeds are incredibly popular fundraising events on the West Coast where the Dungeness crab comes from. Participants get to enjoy the experience of cracking open fresh crabs and eating with other crab lovers. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Dungeness Crab season opens in the first week of November while the rest of the West Coast generally starts crab season in December until April or May.

Of course, with the 2020 pandemic and social distancing requirements, crab feeds aren’t the same type of social events they traditionally are. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of crab enthusiasts out there, and they’ll appreciate you adapting this fundraiser into a hybrid event.

How to make this a hybrid event

With the pandemic preventing large gatherings, the traditional all-you-can-eat, in person crab feed has been replaced by a drive-thru option. Participants usually need to make reservations and pre-order their meals for most crab feeds, requiring some upgrades to this nonprofit event.

Create ticketing campaigns using an online platform like PayBee’s to help crab enthusiasts place their orders quickly and efficiently. Be sure to include popular menu options. Aside from crab, you can offer bread, dinner rolls, salad, pasta, dessert, and possibly alcohol if that’s appropriate for your event. You’ll also want to include bibs for your guests as well as possibly buckets, bowls, and utensils.

Instructions for how to participate in your crab feed should be clearly communicated on your website, donation pages, and online tickets. Participants should know where (and when) they need to go to pick up their orders. 

Handling all of these logistics can be tricky, so if this is your first crab feed fundraiser, you’ll want to refer to seasoned experts who can provide you with the necessary information.

Live Auction

Live and silent auctions are some of the most popular fundraising events for nonprofits. Because of this, many NPOs and charities were thrilled at how well both auctions translated into a virtual space. 

Where silent auctions can be launched days in advance of the actual virtual event, a live auction is held on the day of your fundraiser. Nonprofits and charities usually invest in a seasoned auctioneer with experience in conducting online auctions. Through a livestreamed broadcast, the auctioneer introduces each auction item and hypes up the online participants, who can place their bids via mobile apps in real time. Provided that you supply your auctions with plenty of desirable items and hire a good auctioneer, these fundraising events can be quite profitable.   

How to make this a hybrid event

Hybrid live auctions combine the best of both in person and online auctions. As with virtual events, the auctioneer will introduce each auction item through a livestream broadcast and start the bidding. However, you’ll also provide an in-person venue for a small gathering of in person bidders. This meeting area will be smaller — and therefore more affordable — than your traditional in-person auctions since you don’t need to accommodate as many people.

Hybrid live auctions do require you to manage certain new logistics. Since you’ll be presenting to both an in-person and virtual audience simultaneously, it’s imperative that you make both experiences flow together smoothly. Your tech support crew should ensure your livestream is free of any glitches and delays. It’s also useful to have volunteers monitor both the online and in-person bidding so the auctioneer doesn’t have to keep track of so many bidders while presenting each item.   

Art Exhibit

Art fairs, museum tours, and other art-based events have been popular nonprofit events for organizations that promote art therapy and cultural preservation. During the pandemic, when many museums and galleries had to close, virtual events allowed nonprofits to continue these art tours. By offering pre-recorded and livestream videos of popular art venues, people could venture into many famous museums and exhibits like the Vatican Museums or Guggenheim.

A few nonprofits and charities also got creative by partnering with local artists. Through livestream videos, these artists invited fundraiser attendees into their personal galleries and workspaces. This gave art enthusiasts a rare, behind-the-scenes look into art spaces, encouraging people to buy tickets to these virtual fundraisers.

How to make this a hybrid event

As museums begin re-opening, they’re offering a new hybrid model for their art exhibits. People can continue to view artwork virtually through high resolution images on websites. Many of these online exhibitions come complete with audio guides. Some even provide free downloadable VR experiences that can be viewed through devices like the Oculus Rift.

Simultaneously, the museums and exhibition halls offer in-person art exhibits of different artists and their content. This is beneficial since one of the things successful hybrid events do to attract in-person and online attendees is offer unique experiences for both groups. In other words, while some of your in-person and virtual art exhibits can overlap, you’ll want to communicate that in-person guests get to experience a different art experience than virtual audiences — and vice versa.

This will encourage your virtual attendees to consider participating in the in-person part of your hybrid event. Since in-person guests usually have to pay for tickets, this is a great way to increase your revenue.

Hosting a hybrid art exhibit requires you to manage several logistics. Aside from partnering with artists, museums, and other art institutions, you’ll want to create different ticketing campaigns for virtual and in-person guests. You’ll also want to create easy-to-use donation pages for both in-person and online guests and promote your event in advance on social media. PayBee’s online platform offers tools to make all of this easier.   

Hybrid Concerts

One of the most disappointing things about 2020 were all the live concerts that needed to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Luckily, virtual concerts became very popular at online fundraisers, thanks to their ability to place audiences back in the live music community often in a better seat than they would have been at an in-person show.

Still, people are eager to get the live experience of a concert — and with certain areas allowing for smaller gatherings, in-person concerts are a reality again. Of course, in order to make your concert fundraisers profitable for your nonprofit organization or charity, you’ll need to attract a larger audience, which you can do with a hybrid concert.   

How to make this a hybrid event

Hybrid concerts are accomplished by livestreaming a concert much like a virtual concert. The main difference is that this concert is being attended by a small, in-person audience that gets to enjoy the music from a different angle.

Managing the in-person part of this hybrid event means you’ll need to comply with social distancing regulations. Be sure to clearly communicate your seating arrangements and rules for mask wearing and hand sanitizing. You’ll also need to efficiently direct people to temperature check points and other safety areas, so have proper signage and volunteers in place to guide your guests.

Virtual audiences don’t need to worry about social distancing requirements. However, you do want a tech support team providing a quality livestreaming experience with great picture and sound. You should also offer your virtual audience some extra perks to make their online experience more special. This might be a backstage tour or a meet-and-greet with the band that can only be experienced through an online link. Such perks also make great items to offer as souvenirs, increasing the profits you can generate.  

Socially Distanced Picnic

Fundraising dinners and charity lunches might be great for donors who like their fundraisers to have some formality, but there’s something about an outdoor picnic that gets supporters in a much more social — and supportive — mood. These events can be relaxed family affairs or incorporate more sophisticated activities like wine tastings. And with everyone ready to enjoy a day outside after spending a year cooped up inside, a picnic is a great activity to offer at your next nonprofit event.

How to make this a hybrid event

Although social gathering restrictions have been loosening, you’ll still want to comply with any social distance requirements. Fortunately, since this is an outdoor event that you can hold at a park, you should have plenty of space available to make this a safe and enjoyable event for your in-person audience.

In terms of the virtual component of a hybrid picnic, you’ll want to use an online platform that lets you livestream the event to your online audience. Your virtual attendees can participate in raffles and scavenger hunts along with the in-person picnickers, keeping both audiences entertained. You can even arrange to have meals delivered to your online attendees so everyone enjoys the same food.

As with any dining event, a well-thought-out ticketing campaign is essential. PayBee’s ticketing campaign feature lets you create virtual tickets that let your attendees choose from multiple meal options to ensure people with dietary restrictions can all participate.    

Preparing for Your Next Hybrid Event

As you can see, fundraising events cover a lot of unique experiences that appeal to many different groups. And with hybrid galas becoming the new normal for fundraisers, the opportunities to upgrade your traditional and virtual fundraising events — and increase your profits and supporters — are greater than ever.

Study the popular fundraising activities listed on this article. Decide for yourself which of them will appeal the most to your current donors and the supporters you want to attract for your nonprofit organization. You’ll inevitably find a way to offer your audiences something new and enticing that will encourage them to support your programs.

Most importantly of all, get to know the online tools for building, supporting, and promoting your next hybrid fundraising event. PayBee offers a free online demo that you can sign up for today. You’ll be able to experience an actual online auction first hand and ask all of your technical questions to our team of experts. Sign up today!

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Hybrid Fundraising
Nonprofit Fundraising
Nonprofit Tips
Online Fundraising
Virtual Events
Virtual Platforms
Charity Fundraising
Michael Jung


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