Non-Profits and Virtual Events: Be Sure to Avoid These Mistakes

December 11, 2020 Synergetic Helpful Information

Synergetic has worked with 27 non-profits for their virtual events since April of 2020. This article is going to tell you how you can free up some time, keep more viewers engaged and watching, and increase the amount of money you raise for your organization. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you accomplish just that:


  1. Don’t worry about the platform. Hire a TV producer first. The first concern our customers seem to talk about is what platform to use. We say not yet… and advise our non-profits to look into securing a producer with TV experience first. TV producers know how to create a program that will be engaging and keep people watching. You will want to tap into their expertise and allow them to free up some of your time so you can do your other jobs. In other words, leave it to the experts.


  1. It doesn’t have to be the same date or same time as the in-person event. This seems so simple, but yet we have received a lot of “Oh yea, you are right” comments. If your in person was on a Saturday night, you may want to move it to a weekday night. This way you aren’t fighting distractions with from other “Saturday night” things that families could be doing, and you’ll get more viewers.


  1. Use commercials throughout the program. Just like TV, viewers are used to seeing a commercial. Don’t be afraid to highlight your sponsors through the use of a creative commercial. It is also is a nice way to break up the program, and give your viewers the change to grab a drink or snack.


  1. Don’t plan for a huge audience. Plan for a lot of views. The on-demand world we are in allows us to watch things whenever we want. You need to prepare for that when you are producing your event. Viewers and views are very different. You may only get a few hundred viewers the night of the event, but you may have thousands of views in the weeks to come. This can allow more donations to come in weeks, even months after the program airs.


  1. Keep your auctions open for at least a month after the event. Because we know you will have more views AFTER the event, allow people to bid on those auction items for at least a month. With the right marketing, you can drive people to those auctions, bringing in more donations.


  1. Drive traffic AFTER your event. Your marketing team is going to play a bigger part than you may think for your virtual event. They will need to drive traffic both BEFORE and AFTER the event. Each part of the virtual event can be broken down into smaller segments and sent out for viewers to watch. People are much more prone to watch a 3-5-minute segment then the whole event. This can generate even more donations if you keep the auctions open. This can also be a nice selling point to your sponsors for ROI.


  1. Two camera angles make a difference. Adding just one more camera angle can create a positive experience for the viewer. Switching between those two vantage points is one of the simplest and easiest ways to engage your viewers and set your virtual event apart from the rest. Take a look a the following video


  1. Graphics. Graphics. The more graphics you can add, the better. Graphics on a screen equals keeping people’s attention. Think about QVC and how much information is on the screen. It will make the broadcast seem more professional and keep the viewer watching longer.


  1. You can’t do this yourself! Work with an AV company. You already have enough on your plate. You need to focus on the key parts of the virtual event and hand the rest off to someone you can trust. A good AV company will allow you to feel confident that your program will be a success. They will free up your time. They will give you the opportunity to feature multiple camera angles, use branded graphics, recommend producers, and suggest the best platforms for your goals. Think of a good AV company as your superpower.


  1. Engagement through a platform is a farce for non-profits. Engagement needs to be planned, it’s not achieved digitally. For non-profits, successful engagement should be something that the viewer can touch, feel, see, etc. Anything that can be shipped to the viewer prior to the event that allows them to follow along with someone is an excellent way to achieve engagement. Asking them to hit buttons or watch a video is not an excellent way to achieve engagement, think about the way you would feel in both those instances. Would you rather get a bottle of wine shipped to you and follow a tasting with a sommelier? Or would you rather answer questions about your quarantine habits by clicking A, B, C, or D?


  1. Hire a professional host. The most successful, engaging virtual events we have produced have all taken advantage of the talent of a professional host. Your CEO is not a professional host. You need someone who is comfortable in front of a camera, can read a teleprompter, and is able to improvise at a moments notice. You need someone that can get it done on the first take, captivate viewers through a screen, and offer a dynamic dialogue that leads viewers through the program. Take a look at an example here:


  1. Your home or office is not a proper backdrop. Viewers do not want to look at your living room or office walls. Use a professional stage with the proper lighting, audio, and video equipment that you need to make your events look like the set of your favorite talk show. Our stage solves the problem of bad lighting, sitting in front of a window, not being able to hear the presenter, and blurry, lagged images. Your organization is better than that. You brand should be shown in the best possible light.


Producing a successful virtual event isn’t hard work, but it is a lot of work. We want you to be proud of the program you produce, as well as stay on brand. If you use just one of these tips, you will give your viewer a better virtual experience.  If you’d like to learn more ways you can improve your virtual event, we would be happy to talk. Email us at Good luck!


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