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Ways to get ready for in person fundraising events

Just when you thought we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the emergence and spread of the new Delta variant is starting to make us hesitate once again. It certainly doesn’t make event planning easy, but it is important to start thinking forward. The last year and a half or so have had a big impact, and people won’t click into the ‘new normal’ right away. It will take time to adapt, to feel comfortable in larger groups, and at organized fundraising events. You need to follow official guidelines, of course, but that’s just the start. In this post, we wanted to take some time to explore the ways nonprofits can help rebuild trust and confidence in in-person fundraising events – bringing your portfolio back to life, safely!

Do your homework

Nothing about a global pandemic is certain. It should go without saying, but you need to stay on top of current guidance and legislation. This isn’t something you can do the day before. Being COVID-safe means taking the time to be COVID-safe – so start your risk assessment well in advance and give yourself the space to get familiar with official guidance and measures, ask questions, and plan your response. Now is not the time for complacency. You have a responsibility to your staff and supporters, so do your homework and make sure you know exactly what you need to do to stay within the current regulations. Only then do you have the foundation from which a great in-person events portfolio can grow!

Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes

For the last 18 months, we’ve been living in a global pandemic. It doesn’t end with a vaccine. COVID-19 has left a mark, and you need to be sympathetic to the fears and concerns of others. Imagine your most at-risk event participant, volunteer, and/or staff member and start from there. Think about the questions and concerns they might have, and what you can do to put their mind at ease, and make sure their event experience is as positive, and as safe as possible.

Make a plan for pre-event communications

Don’t leave it until the day of the event. A good communications strategy will address COVID safety directly, and well in advance. Information should be clear and accessible. If you haven’t got space on your social media post, mail piece, or invite, why not use a QR code to point people to more in-depth information on your website? Or share a PDF resource with email updates, or in your newsletter? The more people see you acknowledge the risks, the more reassured they will be that you are taking every opportunity to address them.

Engage, brief, and train your team

‘Winging it’ is not an option. Talk to your team, talk to your management, and work together to create a solution that works. Every single person involved in your event needs to know what protocol you’re following, and how to uphold it. Build in time for event team training, and be sure to invite your volunteers. Finding it hard to bring everyone together? Offering people a virtual training opportunity will help make sure even your busiest staff and volunteers can attend.

Think ‘Sanitation Stations’ and health information

We don’t know exactly what social distancing measures will look like a few months, or even a few weeks from now, but good hygiene is always going to be a good idea. A few well-placed handwashing and sanitizing stations, as well as health information posters, will help keep your COVID-measures visible, remind people about the precautions you all need to take, and make sure they have everything they need to keep your event COVID-safe.

Send push notifications during the event

Depending on the size and nature of your event, you might also want to send push notifications or text messages during the proceedings. Don’t overdo it, but a reminder for people to keep their distance, wear a mask (if it’s needed!), and wash their hands won’t go amiss.

Have a team of understudies at the ready

Vaccine roll-outs might be moving forward, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch COVID. If you or any member of your team start to experience symptoms in the days before the event, you might find yourself a person or two short. It won’t hurt to make sure you’ve got a few extra staff or and/or volunteers prepped and ready to stand in on the day if needed.

Get ready to go contactless

Fundraising events are designed to do just that- fundraise. In the days before COVID, it was all about collection box, but now, contactless donations are where it’s at. Available to rent or buy, not only do they come with an impressive ROI, contactless giving is quick and convenient. The perfect addition to any fundraising event!

Give people options. Is it time to go hybrid?

One of the true silver linings of COVID-19 is that it opened up the world of digital fundraising, and with this, virtual events. Just because lockdown restrictions seem to have an end in sight, or maybe not, doesn’t mean they are redundant. Some people might not feel comfortable attending an in-person event, others might not live close enough to get there. The solution? Hybrid! Offering supporters the best of both worlds, there is no reason why you can’t stream live from a remote location and/or bring your virtual audience into the room.

Whichever path you choose, remember the safety of your staff and team comes first, and it will always be a good idea to have a ‘Plan B’ just in case the situation changes and you decide not to go ahead with your in-person event.

Happy planning!

thankQ CRM can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts—in person and virtual.  Contact us to see how. Set up your personalized demo today.