Virtual galas can offer your charity or nonprofit organization the chance to host some very effective fundraisers. Thanks to the way virtual events allow hundreds or even thousands of people to gather in an online space, you can potentially gain many new supporters and donors for your mission while also saving money on in-person fundraising expenses.
Hosting a virtual fundraising event also enables your nonprofit or charity to comply with lockdown restrictions in this age of COVID-19 and social distancing, making virtual galas a vital part of today’s fundraising efforts.
That being said, as virtual events and gatherings become the new normal, many people are suffering from “virtual event fatigue.” This can become a big problem for your organization as virtual fatigue makes people reluctant to attend the online fundraisers that support your cause.
Let’s take a closer look at virtual event fatigue, learn what causes it, and explore strategies for combating this fatigue so your supporters remain engaged and ready to donate.
What is Virtual Event Fatigue?
Thanks to the 2020 pandemic, people everywhere have been spending over a year on video calls, Zoom meetings, and other online communications just to remain in contact with the outside world. This isn’t limited to social calls either — working adults have had to adjust to regular virtual conferences and events in order to stay in business and meet their goals.
Unfortunately, all this time in front of a computer screen isn’t doing any favors for these online workers. Back-to-back video calls leave many of them tired and unfocused. People need a break from their screens, but the demands on their time and the restrictions on how they can work can make this impossible.
All of this results in virtual event fatigue, a condition that wears people out and leaves them reluctant to participate in voluntary virtual events — like your upcoming online fundraiser. Virtual event fatigue can easily cause attendance at your online fundraising galas to drop, unless you show your supporters you can offer them something engaging and capable of preventing virtual event fatigue.
Tips for Combatting Virtual Event Fatigue
In many ways, the challenges of combating virtual event fatigue are similar to the challenges of holding any successful fundraiser. You need to provide interactive content, engage your attendees, and make your event activities easy to process. By doing this successfully, your audience will appreciate the social nature of your event and be more willing to support your mission.
So, what strategies should you adopt to prevent virtual event fatigue? We’ve found that the following tactics are the most effective:
Host a Hybrid Event
While we may not be over the pandemic yet, some states are lifting travel and lockdown restrictions, making in-person gatherings more of a possibility. That’s great news for fundraisers as your supporters are eager to have more face-to-face encounters, increasing the chances that your event will have a strong turnout.
That said, live gatherings still have to be kept small, which is why hybrid events — or events that take place both in-person and virtually — are so attractive to fundraisers. These galas combine the best of both worlds, giving some of your supporters a chance to attend in person while the rest participate virtually.
PayBee offers both online platforms and support to help host your hybrid event. When planning a hybrid gala, it’s important to remember that you’re offering two experiences — one virtual and one in-person — within the same event. As such, it’s vital to keep your online audience in mind and make sure they don’t suffer from virtual event fatigue. Use the following tips:
- Keep your hybrid event short: 45 minutes to an hour should be sufficient.
- Make the virtual portions of your event interactive with games and online chats so your attendees don’t have to passively stare at the screen all the time.
- Make sure your online platform is easy on the eyes and ears — use easy-to-read fonts, clear images, and excellent sound.
Schedule “wellness” breaks into your online programming to prevent screen fatigue and arrange to send reminders via an event app to return to the gala after each break.
Host Mini Online Events
Traditionally, virtual events are 45 minutes to an hour in length. This is usually enough time to host an effective online fundraiser without wearing out your audience.
To make your fundraiser easier for people with virtual event fatigue, however, why not host mini online events that are easier to process for people who don’t want to sit through a long presentation — but might enjoy shorter virtual events and activities that are easier to digest?
These mini online events can take many forms. Perhaps you’d like to offer a live auction that can keep your virtual audience heavily engaged for 20 minutes of intense bidding. Or you can entice people to attend a short live comedy performance where they can leave donations. PayBee gives you plenty of options to adjust your virtual gala for your supporters’ attention spans, making it easier to combat virtual event fatigue.
Offer Longer Silent Auctions
On the flip side, some virtual event activities don’t require constant attention from your attendees — but can become more profitable if you offer them for longer periods of time.
Take online silent auctions, for instance. These popular auctions can last for days and help raise a lot of money for your cause if you promote them well and offer attractive auction items to bid on. People can place their bids, navigate away from their screens, and receive notifications when someone attempts to outbid them. Done correctly, this can create a lot of healthy interaction and competition from your supporters and raise plenty of funds for your mission.
PayBee’s virtual platform makes it easy for you to create and promote a silent auction campaign with auto generated landing pages for each of your auction pages. You can also create “Buy It Now” prices for auction items, making it easier for your supporters to secure a desired item. Your supporters will even receive live item email notifications letting them know about their auction item status.
Offer Pre-Recorded Video Content
Live-stream entertainment has been a big draw for many virtual fundraising events. There’s something special about being able to see a live concert through your computer along with other virtual gala attendees.
Even so, there’s a lot to say about pre-recorded video as well. Event planners find that mixing pre-recorded video with live-streaming makes virtual events easier to manage and produce. More importantly, offering pre-recorded video can be very attractive to people with virtual event fatigue.
After all, being able to start (and stop) a video presentation gives your supporters a convenient way to participate in your fundraiser at their leisure. You can also make this pre-recorded content available to your supporters at all times making it easy to experience and re-experience a fun presentation or activity. This makes your online fundraiser a lot more enticing to some supporters — who will show their appreciation through their donations.
What kind of pre-recorded video content should you offer? Some of the more popular options for nonprofit fundraisers include:
- Video hosting: Pre-recorded hosting lets your audience view your event in their own time and can be easier to see and hear if done professionally.
- Promotional content: Having a short, professionally produced video showcasing the work your nonprofit does helps new supporters understand the impact of your mission and what they can do to help.
- Entertainment: Concerts and other fun events can be shared via pre-recorded video and are attractive to supporters who can’t schedule in a live streaming event.
PayBee’s virtual gala platform offers a video hosting option that lets your audience login anytime and automatically starts showing them your pre-recorded content. This feature also includes a running donation button, making it easier for your attendees to support your fundraiser when they join your event.
Mix Things Up at Your Next Virtual Event
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to combat virtual event fatigue and host a successful online gala is to diversify your content.
Let’s face it: by now the initial novelty of virtual events has worn off. Even so, virtual events and hybrid fundraisers will be a necessity for nonprofits and charities moving forward, so it’s important to learn how to keep your audience engaged and avoid virtual event fatigue.
Experiment with new activities like dance parties to give your supporters a chance to unwind and relax. Encourage and facilitate social activities like real-time chats and live polling to keep your attendees active. Keep your audience’s comfort level in mind, taking into account their preferred time for participating in a virtual event and make it easier for them to attend. The more your supporters see that you’re willing and able to support their needs, the more likely they’ll participate in your online fundraiser.
Of course, in order to know how to meet your audience’s needs, you’ll need to learn about all the virtual event technology available to you. Sign up to view a free live demo of PayBee’s virtual platform and see for yourself how a high-quality online gala prevents virtual event fatigue. You’ll also be able to talk to our team of experts and learn how you can plan your next virtual fundraiser to be more engaging.