How Easy it is to Set Up a Hybrid Fundraiser for Your Nonprofit

How Easy it is to Set Up a Hybrid Fundraiser for Your Nonprofit

Having hosted traditional fundraisers for your nonprofit with your event committee, you know part of the challenge comes from getting the right equipment and making the proper arrangements for your attendees. From securing sponsors to getting all the items for your charity auction, there’s a lot of legwork that needs to be done in the early stages.

Because of this, many nonprofits and charities are concerned about hosting their first hybrid fundraiser. Since these events take place in-person and virtually simultaneously, it can be daunting to consider all the new elements you’ll need to allow your online and in-person audiences to experience your hybrid event at the same time.

Fortunately, we’re here to let you know that setting up a hybrid fundraiser for your nonprofit is actually easy — if you make sure you have the right equipment and easy-to-use fundraising software like PayBee to combine the elements from your traditional in-person fundraisers into a live and synced hybrid event.

To help you with your task, this article will go into the new types of equipment you’ll need for your hybrid fundraiser. Realizing that hybrid auctions are one of the most popular (and lucrative) fundraising activities, we’ll focus specifically on how your equipment can be used to enhance such an event. We’ll then go into the ways you can use PayBee’s software to host a successful hybrid event, providing your attendees with a great experience and raising your organization plenty of money.

Essential Equipment for a Hybrid Fundraising Event

Hybrid fundraisers might seem like complex events, particularly if you’re hosting an activity like a concert or auction that needs to be synched up with multiple online and in-person attendees. However, when it comes down to it, you really don’t need too many new elements. Here’s what you absolutely need to invest in.

A Large Monitor

When you’re hosting your traditional in-person charity auction, all of your bidders are in the same room. As a result, it’s relatively easy to keep track of all of your bids and showcase the different auction items to your audience.

That’s not the case with hybrid auctions. While some of your attendees will be in the same room with you, many more will be participating in the auction via laptops, smart phones, or other mobile devices. That makes it tricky to not only keep track of the activity but to communicate the bidding activity to everyone in the room.

For this reason, it’s important to invest in a large monitor to showcase your bidding activity feed to your entire audience. The information on this live stream activity monitor will be shown simultaneously to your in-person and virtual guests, keeping everyone engaged. Guests can even interact via live chat.

What sort of information can show up on your large monitor for your in-person guests? All sorts of things! Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you might find yourself displaying:

  • A progress thermometer of your fundraising goals
  • A program video
  •  A slideshow
  • Donor names
  • Leading auction bids
  • Live chat

Essentially, your live monitor will function as an effective tool in your fundraiser to keep your in-person guests informed, involved, and — ideally — excited. Fundraising activities like hybrid auctions feed off of the energy generated by your audience, so the better you can display this activity to all of your attendees, the more your virtual and in-person audiences will want to participate. That’s great for keeping new bids coming in from multiple audiences, and makes your fundraiser more engaging and profitable.   

Internet Connection

Both virtual and hybrid fundraisers wouldn’t get very far without an excellent internet connection for your online attendees. But what sort of internet connection will you need?

We recommend using at least a 5mbps upload speed connection. This is the minimum required upload bandwidth for 1080p streaming. While this should be sufficient for many live stream events, if you plan on offering even higher quality video (such as 4K), you’ll want to consider using an even higher upload speed connection.

Recording Equipment

Offering a virtual experience to your online audience means filming your event activities with high-quality recording equipment that provides excellent picture and sound. This often means investing in a professional recording team that can film and live stream your auction, concert, or other event (and provide their own recording equipment as well).

When choosing a professional crew, be sure to choose one with prior experience in virtual and hybrid events. View samples of their previous work to see and hear what kind of experience your online attendees will have. And make sure they know how to work in tandem with your existing event team.

Meeting Area

Since you’ll be accommodating an in-person audience, you’ll need to secure a meeting area. Your event team likely has experience in this from traditional fundraisers. The main difference is that physical meeting spaces for hybrid events don’t have to be large banquet halls or oversized meeting areas. Smaller in-person audiences translate to less space, which means more savings for your fundraiser.

That said, you’ll still need to follow proper social distancing requirements. Make sure the meeting area you choose to rent is large enough for people to spread out comfortably and interact at safe distances. Proper signage and access to essentials like hand sanitizer are also new necessities you’ll need to be aware of. And you’ll want to make sure the meeting area doesn’t just accommodate your donors and supporters but also your recording crew and event staff. 

Online Fundraising Platform

Your hybrid fundraising event will need an easy-to-use online fundraising platform. The software from this platform will greatly benefit both your in-person and virtual audiences.

The benefits to your virtual audience are obvious — this is the platform they’ll be using to interact with all the other online and in-person guests at your hybrid gala. As such, you’ll want to invest in a fundraising platform that’s as intuitive as possible so donors and supporters of all skill levels can easily participate in your hybrid event.

Your online platform will help virtual guests communicate with other guests and your staff via video and/or live chat. Online guests will also be able to view live streams of your hybrid event and participate in activities like auctions via mobile apps. And of course, a good online platform makes it easy for supporters to donate generously to your cause by making sure donation buttons are clearly marked and available on the web pages and donations are accepted via multiple avenues (credit card, debit card, Apple Pay etc.).

And don’t discount the importance of an online fundraising platform for in-person guests either! While your in-person attendees will participate in your event physically, they still need to purchase tickets online, receive email reminders of the event, and be able to interact with virtual guests through the online platform during the actual hybrid event. All of this just emphasizes the importance of a good online fundraising platform when hosting a hybrid gala.

Benefits of Using PayBee for your Online Fundraising Platform

Now that you know why you need to have a user-friendly online fundraising platform, let’s get into the specific benefits fundraising software offers — and how you can use it to enhance your fundraiser. For this section, we’ll be going into the advantages offered by PayBee’s easy-to-use online fundraising platform.

Register All of Your Guests in the Backend Control Center of Your Event

One of the greatest benefits of hybrid fundraising events is how many people they can attract. Since you’ll be accepting both in-person and online guests, your fundraiser can literally accommodate hundreds of people thanks to your almost unlimited virtual meeting space.

However, this leads to a problem of registering and managing all of these guests — something the PayBee system is prepared to help you with. The PayBee mobile app enables your event staff to manage many important event functions from their smartphones. This can include checking in guests, accepting donations, and recording bids if you’re holding a silent or live auction. Given the size of hybrid event audiences, you’ll definitely need to use this support.

Offer Sponsors More Advertising Space

One thing that doesn’t change from traditional fundraisers to hybrid fundraisers is the need for sponsors. Business sponsors help fund your event so you can afford the equipment and meeting space for your guests. Many sponsors also donate other perks to your nonprofit, like popular auction items that can raise a lot of money for your fundraiser.

What is different in hybrid fundraisers is that you can offer your potential sponsors many more opportunities to advertise their businesses. While your in-person event display and monitor can showcase your sponsors’ company logos, many more virtual audience members can learn about your sponsors from your event page and other event assets. PayBee offers multiple opportunities to thank your sponsors on your online platform, which makes it easier to recruit additional sponsors.

And since hybrid fundraisers tend to be much less expensive than traditional in-person events, you can use your sponsorship funding to invest in higher-quality equipment and support, ensuring your audience really receives the best hybrid experience.

Auto-generate Bid Paddles and Name Plates

In-person participants in live auctions tend to enjoy using bid paddles and the PayBee system will auto-generate both bid paddles and table name plates for each of your guests. These paddles include a unique URL code linked to each guest. Once they’re ready, the codes allow for easy checkout, making the entire experience more convenient for your attendees. Basically, your guests will enjoy traditional bidding with high-tech mobile bidding/donation features!

Record Live Bids Digitally with the PayBee App

In-person auction attendees may prefer using bid paddles, but what about your online bidders? Once again, PayBee has you covered. Using the PayBee mobile bidding app, your virtual attendees can easily make bids on items with their smart phones and other mobile devices. And to make sure everyone stays in the loop, volunteers can then enter this information while your in-person guests use their paddles to place bids, while your live stream monitor communicates the auction activity to everyone.

To make matters more convenient, both in-person and virtual guests can receive live text updates on the auction items they’re bidding on. This all helps your auction run more smoothly even with an extremely large audience.   

Set Up an Online Virtual Event Page

When it comes to setting up the virtual component of your hybrid event, convenience for your guests is key. That’s why PayBee automatically sets up an online virtual event page for all of your guests. From this web page, your attendees can easily bid on auction items (both from silent and live auctions), make donations, and view the live stream of your in-person auction in real time.

Participants can also use any device to view your hybrid event, including desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices, and smartphones. By providing so many options, participating in your hybrid auction and other events becomes incredibly easy, increasing your bidding pool.

Automatically Generate Silent Auction Bid Sheets

Live auctions are excellent for sustaining energy and raising money during your hybrid event, but if you want to build anticipation for your hybrid gala before the day of your event, you’ll want to create a silent online auction campaign. These auctions can start several days before your hybrid fundraising gala. Thanks to silent auctions, guests have a reason to not only regularly visit your website prior to your event but also bid on items and raise money for your nonprofit immediately.

To ensure your silent auction campaign is successful, PayBee makes it easy for you to not only set up your auction campaign but also automatically generate silent auction bid sheets from the information about your guests and silent auction items, turning them into ready-to-print PDF files. You can also edit guest information at any time on the PayBee backend and update your files that way.

PayBee also offers other helpful features, including the ability to post photos of your auction items along with enticing descriptions of your offerings. You can even include a “Buy Now” option where a bidder can simply pay a price set by you for the desired auction item. Participants who want to contribute but are pressed for time love this feature, so make sure to take advantage of it if you have some particularly popular auction items to offer!

Integrate with Multiple Live Streaming Platforms

Virtual and hybrid events can live stream their activities on multiple online platforms. Depending on the type of hybrid gala you’re hosting — and the type of audience you’re aiming for — you might find yourself using YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch as the platform for your live stream feed.

Fortunately, PayBee can integrate seamlessly with all of these popular live streaming platforms, as well as many more. This makes it easier for your virtual audience to join your event via a platform they’re already comfortable with. The more familiar your audience is with a live streaming platform, the more likely they’ll want to attend your event, so make sure to find out how they like to participate in virtual galas when choosing your platform. PayBee can help with the rest.

Handle Event Ticketing

Creating ticketing campaigns for your fundraising events can be tricky, particularly if you need to build multiple campaigns. For instance, if you want to offer your guests dinner along with a live auction and raffle, you’ll need to provide tickets with meal options (including meals for vegans and those with special dietary needs) along with separate raffle tickets and tickets for your online and in-person guests.

Luckily, PayBee’s system makes it easy to set up any number of ticketing campaigns in minutes. The Paybee platform includes easy-to-use tools that let you select options for meals, auctions, raffles, and other activities, allowing you to create attractive online tickets that can be offered to potential guests immediately. Not only is this a great time saver, it’s also a wonderful way to keep everything organized.

Handle Table Management

Keeping your guests organized is always important, but in this new era of social distancing, it’s more vital than ever. PayBee’s system helps you handle your hybrid event’s table management needs by creating tables and assigning registrants to tables. Again, this helps keep everyone more comfortable and secure.

Simplify Social Media Marketing

These days, people learn about events largely through social media. Your target audience likely has its favorite social media channels — from Facebook to Twitter. That’s why the PayBee system makes it easy for you to advertise your hybrid gala on these sites with just a few clicks.

When advertising your event, we recommend starting early — ideally six to eight weeks before your actual hybrid gala. Your online advertising materials should also include links to your event and donation pages and make it very easy for interested parties to sign up and purchase tickets.

Including graphics of your event and other enticing materials is another way to attract people. For instance, some nonprofits include behind-the-scenes videos of the event as it’s being set up. You can also offer links to pre-event activities, such as a silent auction, enabling your nonprofit to start fundraising immediately before your actual event.

Handle Guest Invitation Emails

Of course, just advertising your hybrid event often isn’t enough to secure a large audience for your gala. Guests need to be reminded of your event as it comes up and receive regular incentive to attend. That’s why you can use PayBee’s system to handle guest invitation emails, not just to confirm their ticket purchases but to send out regular reminders as the date of your event nears.

Help with Post Event Reporting and Follow-Ups

A good online fundraising platform doesn’t just help set up and manage your event. The really good ones make it easy to follow-up with guests and analyze your event so you can make improvements on your next one.

PayBee’s system offers both automatic event follow-up and reporting features. This means the system will automatically contact guests with outstanding donation pledges and remind them to pay, ensuring you get all the money you raised. What’s more, the backend reporting system provides a breakdown of all donations and attendees, making it easy to keep track of your event financials.

The nice thing about these features is they make it easy to see which hybrid event activities your guests participated in the most and what type of events encouraged the most donations. Armed with this information, it’ll be easier for your team to host a future hybrid event with all the activities your specific audience wants to engage with. The more engaging your activities are, the more donations you’ll receive, so be sure to review the information PayBee provides!

Set Up Your Hybrid Fundraising Event

While hybrid events come with their own unique challenges, the equipment and services now available to you make it easier than ever to set up a hybrid fundraising gala for your nonprofit. Just make sure both you and your event planning team are clear on the type of activities you want to offer during your hybrid event, and you should have a good idea of what you’ll need to host a successful gala.

Of course, it also helps to do some independent research and get some expert advice — which is why you should sign up for a free demo of Paybee’s fundraising platform. You’ll be able to both see and participate in a mock live auction (complete with virtual money), letting you experience what your guests will enjoy during your own hybrid auction. You’ll also be able to test out PayBee’s intuitive online platform and see for yourself how easy it is to use.

Odds are you still have a lot of questions about hosting hybrid events, which is why PayBee’s free demo includes an opportunity to chat with some of our experts and learn how to set up a hybrid event from a company that’s assisted in hosting hundreds of in-person, virtual, and hybrid galas. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to host a hybrid event that will raise both money and awareness of your nonprofit, so make sure to sign up for a free demo of PayBee’s online platform today!

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


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