Hybrid Events: Are They Right For You?

Hybrid Events: Are They Right For You?

As we slowly transition back towards normality, what does the future of live events look like? 

Currently, most events remain virtual as venues and regulations restrict large gatherings. As more in-person events return, many predict organizations, especially in the non-profit sector, will lean towards a hybrid event model by offering a virtual option alongside an in-person experience. However, the hybrid event model is not a one-size-fits-all. While it may prove advantageous for some, it varies depending on factors such as budget, audience size, and resources.

To help your organization determine if hybrid is right for you, we got the thoughts of Harry Santa-Olalla, a professional auctioneer and owner of HSO Productions, and John Roberts, Director of Global Business Development here at Givergy. Here are a few questions for you to consider before planning commences!

Will a hybrid event be cost-effective?

Virtual and live audiences require different costs and needs. To put on a hybrid event, you’ll need to account for all factors, including the cost of a live stream, video production, and bandwidth along with the cost of building security, spaced seating, and sanitation stations, to name a few.

John recommends being smart with regard to your in-person audience, inviting your major donors and ‘biggest hitters’ as a priority. Getting them in the room should lay a rock-solid foundation for your fundraising efforts, with your remote audience adding on top. But don’t neglect that at-home audience as, if managed effectively, their contribution can be enormous! 

How many people will tune in/attend?

When estimating costs, it’s important to consider the volume of people. Do you expect more people will want to meet face-to-face or tune in from the comfort of their homes? Do you have enough people donating to cover the costs? If your event takes place in the near future, what kind of social distancing measures will you need to consider? These are all questions to better understand your audience and their comfort level.

John suggests working up two scenarios in parallel as being a smart move in such a fluid environment. If you’re planning for a hybrid event with a restricted in-person audience, prepare to pivot to a fully virtual set-up should restrictions necessitate. That way, the most terrifying words of the past twelve months – ‘cancellation’ and ‘postponement’ – shouldn’t have to feature at all. 

What are some advantages of hybrid events?

A hybrid event is a natural transition from completely virtual back to in-person. It gives your audience the choice of how they want to participate and allows everyone to be included. Additionally, there is no limit. For the right organization, hybrid events are powerful for their ability to scale and reach people anywhere.

What are my other options?

If a hybrid event does not make sense for your organization, consider hosting an event for a condensed crowd with the right people or an online event.

Considering your audience and location, perhaps in-person gatherings are out of the question. That’s okay, focus on virtual. If this last year has taught us anything it’s this – virtual events can be extremely successful. If that sounds the best course of action for you, book a 30-minute meeting to find out more about our virtual event offerings! 

Whatever method you choose, make sure it is right for your audience. As Harry says, “Don’t put a hybrid event on for the sake of it.”

Whether live events return tomorrow or a year from now, one thing’s for sure – 2020 has forever changed the way organizations host and engage their audience.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about the future of fundraising and events, Harry will be joining Givergy along with other industry leaders on Wednesday, April 21st for a free webinar. Click here to register and save your spot!

Tess Waibel

Tess Waibel


Based in Knoxville, TN, USA, Tess has over six years of experience in the social media space, having worked with established brands and promising start-ups, including large music festivals (Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Moon River Music Festival, and more) respected universities (The University of Tennessee), and more!