by Tatiana Morand
Have you ever wondered how your virtual events are performing compared to other organizations?
Or tried to figure out how you can attract new attendees?
Or maybe you still haven’t run any virtual events, and are wondering whether it’s still worth trying to get set up.
Here at Wild Apricot, these were questions we were hearing from a lot of our customers.
So, to help answer them, we decided to run the Virtual Events Survey 2020!
We surveyed over 1,000 membership organizations (which includes some of you reading this — thank you!) to help solve all of your most pressing challenges related to virtual events, from how to engage attendees to how to generate revenue and more.
Download the report now, or keep reading to learn our top three takeaways, as well as advice from some of our survey respondents.
Organizations are Running More Virtual Events than Ever Before
Okay, so given how much time we’re all spending online these days, this one might not be a huge surprise.
However, the sheer scale of the increase might be…
According to our research, 42% of respondents had already run virtual events in 2019 and in the first half of 2020.
However, an additional 42% responded that they were planning on doing so in 2020.
That means that in 2020, the number of organizations running virtual events has doubled!
What does this mean for your organization?
Well, if you’re already running virtual events — congratulations!
You’re right on track to continue engaging members and driving revenue through the end of 2020 and beyond.
But if you’re part of the 17% who has decided not to run virtual events, it might be time to rethink that decision.
Considering this huge increase in popularity, as well as the continuation of social distancing and lockdowns throughout the rest of 2020 at the very least, they’re here to stay.
Although most organizations face a variety of challenges when running virtual events, the sheer number of organizations running virtual events means that if your organization isn’t, you’re going to have a hard time growing your membership moving forward.
And if you need a little more encouragement, here’s what another respondent said: “Do it! We were surprised at how easy it was to organize and how successful it was.”
Still feeling unsure?
Download the report to learn how to overcome common challenges you may be facing, such as not knowing how to engage members.
How Much Should You Charge For a Ticket?
In-person events are a huge source of revenue for many organizations — in fact, over 25% of our respondents generated more than 50% of their revenue from in-person events in 2019.
However, generating revenue from virtual events may not be as straightforward.
One of the reasons for this is that ticket pricing is a big source of revenue for many organizations — but in a virtual environment, ticket prices are often reduced compared to how much organizations charged for an in-person event.
The graph below shows how much organizations who have already run events, as well as those who were still in the planning stages, planned to charge for a ticket.
As you can see from this graph, 87% of organizations who had already held virtual events were planning on charging less than they would have for an equivalent in-person event — and almost no one was planning on making their virtual event more expensive.
These results provide a good guide for how much you can charge for your event.
If you charge too much, audiences may not be willing to pay, because they’ll see that other organizations are offering events for free or for less.
It also means that you may need to find alternate revenue streams, if generating revenue from events has historically been your primary source of revenue — or transform your fundraisers to be acceptable in a primarily virtual environment.
This kind of event doesn’t have a ticket price, but still allows you to generate revenue. You could sell gift boxes and drop them off, or partner with local restaurants who are willing to deliver following a pre-order. Then, meet up with all your members on Zoom to socialize and enjoy the treats together!
Want to learn other ways you can generate even more revenue from a virtual event than you did from an in-person event? Download the report to find out!
Get More Attendees by Running These Kinds of Events
Maybe rather than raising funds, your goal when running virtual events is to attract new members.
Based on our survey results, there are two types of events that could best help you achieve this object: guest speakers and panel discussions.
When asked which types of events they had run compared to how many attendees they saw at their event compared to an in-person event, 70% of people who selected that they had “much more” attendees had a Guest Speaker, compared to only 46% of those who indicated they had “much less” attendees.
The same was true of panel discussions. 57% of organizations who had many more attendees reported that they ran a panel discussion as compared to only 38% of those who had much fewer.
Wondering what a successful event of this nature looks like?
The EFT Guild’s Gathering Online is a great example. They bring together several guest speakers, as well as host breakout sessions so that members can get together and discuss what they’ve learned together (more on why breakout sessions are a good idea in the full report!).
Panel discussions and guest speakers are great options for virtual events because they allow your members to hear from new voices. Bringing in a fresh perspective on your organization’s area of interest, rather than relying on the same people event after event, can help keep members coming back for more!
Plus, your speakers will typically share out the event with their networks as well, allowing you to generate more interest and reach more potential members.
Worried you’ll have too many moving parts?
One of our respondents recommended that you “Do a trial run with panelists before the event” so that you can smooth out all the technical hiccups before you start live-streaming.
One Final Bit of Advice
Picture this scenario.
You’ve set up your event on your favourite platform.
You’ve set up a donation page to share.
You’ve rehearsed with your guest speaker.
The stage is set for the perfect event…
But then at the last minute, your volunteer moderator calls in sick.
The theme of this whole year is basically that even the best laid plans can go awry.
That’s why I think this survey participant said it best: “Be patient, smile, have fun, and roll with the issues when they arise, because they always will.”
If you can stay positive and apply our virtual event insights, I believe that you’ll be able to overcome the issues you’re facing and run a virtual event that helps you hit your goals, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish.
And for an even better chance of success, download our full report now to learn more about which tactics can help you maximize virtual event revenue and make your event more engaging!
Best of luck running your next virtual event!