By Jen Hagan
Innovating and enhancing your participant experience with an exciting new layer of community engagement, challenges and event programming can increase the lifetime value of your participants, strengthen connection to your mission and raise fundraising performance. What does that look like in the real world as many events are returning to a live format, but keeping a virtual option available for those who can’t join you live, resulting in an overall hybrid experience? We’ve got some great examples to share from our playbook of Live+ offerings we call Engage+.
Elevate your event kit! Participants and teams who return to a live peer-to-peer fundraising event experience this year will be greeted with a well-dressed event site, energetic music, fist bumps and high fives. How can you bring that to life for your virtual participants? Send an event kit, including some of the elements they might find on-event, like a mission bib or mini sign, as well as the usual t-shirt. To surprise and delight repeat participants, include a familiar element, like a traditional wrist band or pom-pom they’ve known from prior live events. Adding premium items for top fundraisers is always a great way to drive fundraising performance and reward your most loyal supporters. You don’t have to break the budget if you build a sponsorship around the kit and allow a sponsor to underwrite the cost.
Invest your time in Facebook Groups. For one client’s event this year, we found that the time our staff spent building and monitoring the Facebook Group paid dividends, strengthening our community especially for our virtual participants. By tending to the group and encouraging conversations around fundraising and training, we saw a camaraderie form unlike any years prior and were able to share fundraising challenges and activities the community could rally around. In 2022, Facebook Groups can be a great tool for peer-to-peer programs.
Expand your programming. Virtual participants deserve more than a 30-minute live stream, and as live events return, it might be tempting to forget about our constituents participating at home. Don’t! Instead, consider layering more pre-event programming into the mix through regular Instagram Lives with top teams or staff, and host online social hours to encourage connection, both between participants and staff and among fellow participants. Finally, be sure to make the day-of programming immersive, combining elements of the live event with scripted mission content and participant stories. You can event utilize technology like Charge Running to broadcast live for your virtual participants so that they can interact, share photos, and listen to energizing tunes together (apart).
We hope these tips help spark some ideas for your organization as we return to live events in 2022, but keep the best portions of our hybrid and virtual elements from the past two years. The key to success is to engage and include live event elements, whether that’s through immersive event kits, online communities, stellar event programming or all of the above. If you would like to learn more about our Engage+ services, please join us at our session at the P2P conference Feb 28 – Mar 2.
Jen leads our Susan G. Komen 3-Day project. She oversees all aspects of the project to make sure we are executing on the strategy, budget, timeline and especially client expectations. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in recruitment, fundraising, project management and non-profit marketing. Doing good in the world is her passion. In her free time you can find her volunteering for her favorite local charities.