Tips For How to Execute Fundraising Events Safely This Fall

As we head into back-to-school season and brace ourselves for the fourth wave of the pandemic, the big question in the event world is how fall events should be handled.

We’ve spent the last year and a half finessing virtual events and have started dabbling with hybrid ones, too. One thing we can say for certain is that events are here to stay, it’s just figuring out how to best organize them, while ensuring everyone’s safety is top priority. 

We can’t say it enough: Contingency planning is your best friend. The buzzword this year is ‘pivot’ (*cue Ross Geller*) and planning your event three different ways (online, in-person and hybrid) will save you a ton of time in the long run.

Our team has put together ideas for how to execute fundraising events for all three scenarios:

Virtual event ideas:

  • Host movie viewing parties, galas and silent auctions. Check out our Virtual Event Resource for virtual platform ideas.
  • Bingo or trivia nights can be organized in a different virtual way. Sign up for a radio station and host a bingo or trivia night over the radio.
  • Consider planning a virtual ‘night at the races’ version of horse races. It could be a good way to incorporate team fundraising.
  • 50/50 raffles can be incorporated into any event you plan.
  • Run/walks: This isn’t virtual, per se, but you can organize a run/walk for participants to do on their own time. Create route suggestions for participants to complete during a window of time, or ask them to track their distance on a treadmill.
    • Leverage social media: encourage participants to use a hashtag.
    • Create music playlists and encourage participants to share their own playlists with others.

Hybrid event ideas:

Take ideas from our virtual event suggestions and layer in some of these additional suggestions: 

  • Book multiple small venues for small groups to get together for a viewing party of your movie night or gala.
  • A hybrid spin on a run/walk event is to create a predetermined route (make sure that it’s accessibility-friendly!) and have people sign up for time slots. Consider expanding the event over two or three days to give more people the opportunity to participate in-person. Still have the ‘do on your own’ option that we suggested in the virtual section for people to have the opportunity to pick, depending on their comfort-level. 

In-person event ideas:

Drive-in movies are a great way to host a live event, while still having a social-distanced component to it. When organizing a drive-in event, remember that it’s the experience that matters and that it’s not as simple as renting a field and screen. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Time of day (keep in kind what time the sun goes down… it changes quickly week-to-week).
  • Have an ample amount of garbage bins (some that are accessible by foot, but some that people can drive up to with their vehicles).
  • Have plans in place for inclement weather (extra security for the screen in case it’s windy and outdoor sheltered viewing areas in case it’s too hot for people to sit in their cars). Please note that it is important to have a vehicle idling plan or policy in place that is also communicated to attendees.

Golf tournaments are fairly socially-distanced already, so we don’t have much to change about the tournament itself. We recommend making changes to the post-tournament meal and program to make it.

  • Spread the tournament out over a few courses throughout the city and host a dinner like normal at each location. The locations can stream up into a virtual program.
  • Use a virtual silent auction platform that participants can use throughout the tournament, instead of leaving the silent auction portion of the event to the end.
  • Do the prize-portion of the event hybridly. Offer a limited number of in-person tickets and ask everyone else to tune in virtually.
  • Remember that wifi isn’t always great on golf courses.

Get more ideas for planning events this fall from our Seasonal Event Guide – Summer/Fall Edition.

Your Tycoon, Laryssa XO