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Hybrid fundraising events: An overview and 7 advantages

March 24, 2022
This supporter is attending a hybrid fundraising event virtually while others attend in person.

Advances in modern technology have brought virtual events to the forefront of fundraising initiatives for nonprofit organizations. Virtual and in-person events each have their own unique benefits, so forward-thinking nonprofits are increasingly turning to hybrid fundraising events to combine the best of both experiences.

Hybrid events provide added flexibility to accommodate the needs of your nonprofit’s staff and donors, allowing you to conveniently reach a wider audience of supporters and encourage long-term engagement. To help your nonprofit understand where hybrid events will fit into your fundraising strategy, let’s explore the factors influencing the format’s rise in popularity and walk through some advantages of hybrid fundraising events.

Factors contributing to the popularity of hybrid events

Several factors related to the rise in hybrid events include:

  • The “from-anywhere” trend. Thanks to the prevalence of laptops, mobile devices, and the cloud, people are spending more and more time online—working, socializing, and completing transactions all from behind a digital screen. Supporters have begun to enjoy this new level of freedom in engaging with your nonprofit either remotely or in person.
  • Preference for “bite-sized” content. Nowadays, short-form content is the new normal, from email to social media. In order to adapt to people’s decreasing attention spans, take advantage of the hybrid fundraising format to create short-form content and engagement activities for your organization’s supporters.
  • Digital convenience. Supporters who would otherwise love to attend your in-person fundraising event may be unable to travel or schedule enough time away to do so. Hybrid fundraising events eliminate these complications and allow attendees to participate wherever they most prefer.

As technological improvements continue to expand people’s everyday capabilities and drive increased convenience, make the most of these opportunities by regularly improving your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. For instance, consider incorporating text-to-give elements into your in-person, hybrid, and online events to maximize opportunities for your donors to give virtually.

Mobile devices have opened up valuable opportunities to share news and engage with supporters, such as with hybrid fundraising events or social media posts.

Advantages of hybrid fundraising events

The power of hybrid fundraising events lies in their ability to combine the benefits of both virtual and in-person events while minimizing each format’s drawbacks. Here are seven notable advantages to implementing hybrid events into your fundraising strategy.

1. Increased flexibility for attendees

Your nonprofit’s supporters have diverse needs and interests. By offering a hybrid fundraising event, you’ll provide donors with the ability to tailor their experience according to their preferences.

For those who’d rather engage with your organization’s purpose from the comfort of their own homes, participating virtually may be best. However, those who prefer making in-person connections can physically come to the event. This added flexibility will attract more supporters due to how convenient and easy it is to attend.

2. Maximized attendee engagement

A primary drawback of virtual-only events is that they lack the opportunity to personally connect and interact with supporters. However, a hybrid fundraising approach offers many more options for engagement, bringing in-person and online attendees together through auctions, social media challenges, and leaderboards.

3. Balance between physical interaction and convenience 

For some events, such as cookoffs, physical interaction is essential. However, the more convenient it is to attend a fundraiser, the more eager participants there will be. A hybrid fundraising event allows your nonprofit to provide an effective balance between physical interaction and convenience for your supporters.

4. Lower costs

Large in-person events, such as galas, can be both expensive and require intensive planning to be successful. They require renting a large event space, purchasing decorations, and assigning enough staff to physically host a large number of people. Hybrid events take a significant portion of the fundraiser online, reducing your expenses.

5. Expanded reach

A hybrid fundraising event will appeal to those in your nonprofit’s local community and those who may live too far away to personally attend. This will increase your organization’s reach beyond the immediate area and enable you to connect with new donors from all over the world.

6. More diverse fundraising materials

As you create fundraising materials alongside your event, a hybrid format allows your team to get more creative with communicating impact stories, videos, and graphics both online and in person. Optimize your event promotion by encouraging supporters to share information about your event on social media, sending direct mail invitations to guests, or mentioning your event in your nonprofit’s email newsletter.

7. More flexible sponsorship levels

Hybrid fundraising events offer added corporate sponsorship opportunities for your live components and your virtual event platform. Additionally, implementing effective hybrid tools into your fundraising will lead to better data collection and analytics, enabling your nonprofit to communicate your goals and success more easily to sponsors.

The future is hybrid

In this modern age of digital connection, take advantage of hybrid fundraising options to build communities both online and in your nonprofit’s local area. By prioritizing your supporters’ experiences, you’ll encourage deeper and longer-lasting relationships that will drive your organization’s growth and purpose.

Read Virtual and In-Person Events: The Future of Fundraising is Hybrid to learn more about hosting an effective hybrid fundraiser.

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