Here’s our second and final installment in our series titled “What 2020 Taught Us,” and the list of both professional and personal lessons learned this year goes on and on. I don’t know about you, but 2020 taught me all sorts of things—including fifth grade math (thanks e-Learning!), how to bake bread, and even a couple of new dances (I’m officially too old for TikTok).

Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar with the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum discussing the return to live events. In this webinar, we heard from non-profit professionals who successfully hosted in-person and hybrid events this fall, and we shared what we learned from our sole live event of 2020, our 5x5K FOR GOOD. Each webinar presenter shared the same takeaway—that incorporating some element of live experience to the event was not only doable, but in demand.

Participants are eager for human connection and connection to the organizations they support. That said, as we look to 2021, not everyone will be ready for a return to “normal.” In a November survey conducted by Seton Hall University’s Sharkey Institute, 58% of respondents indicated they were waiting on a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to outdoor sporting events. This tells us that while demand and enthusiasm to return to events like our P2P runs, walks, and rides is high, the timeline for the vaccine rollout in any given market will play a huge part in the transition from virtual events in 2020 to live events in 2021. The vaccine roll-out timeline falls squarely in the bucket of “things we can’t control,” but we can start planning now for events that incorporate safe live experiences and some virtual element for our constituents joining from home.

2021 presents a huge opportunity to implement COVID-compliant safety measures on P2P events. In a quick poll conducted on the webinar, the majority of attendees stated that their P2P fundraising event plans included a hybrid approach, with both virtual and live elements combined. Only 23% of attendees indicated their P2P event would remain completely virtual. To best support that audience of non-profit event professionals, we discussed the key factors our team member, Slade Thompson, identified that can be considered when re-thinking your run, walk, or bike event: time, space, and volume. These are the elements local jurisdictions will be looking for when reviewing plans for any event permit applications, and with thoughtful plans (and backup plans), organizations can get to work now modifying their traditional event sites and routes to account for issues like participant density and safety.

If you want to hear more about Event 360’s safe return to live events, you can check out a recording of the webinar here. If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that social distancing isn’t going away any time soon, but with the right COVID-compliant plans in place, our communities will be able to come together safely, even if it isn’t back to normal.

Jillian has worn many hats at Event 360 in the past 14 years – from fundraising coach to project manager, to event IT support. She knows our work and our team inside and out. In her current role as Director of Business Development, she can perfectly partner our clients with the services they need and ensure our team delivers flawless event experiences that yield happy participants and stellar results.

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