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Events anarchy may be just what organizations need

Supporting the Profession Student Affairs Fundraising and Communications Graduate Mid-Level New Professional
September 3, 2020 Alma Garcia The University of Texas at Austin

March welcomed the beginning of a new era for events. The word “pivot” has probably been seen and heard more times than you can count.

Complete and total events anarchy has erupted.

But fear not. While this world of virtual events, online meetings, and webinars may be disparate from what once knew, they may be just what our organizations needed.

It’s fall and the beginning of a new semester. You’ve been tasked with flipping your events upside down and making everything work in a world of technology. There are so many questions and concerns and unknown parts to this universe, but luckily, you are not alone.

First, evaluate your planned events.

Are they necessary? What purpose do they serve? Once you have an idea of why your events should be held, focus on making them into a success virtually or even as a hybrid—offering both in-person and virtual opportunities.

Once you’ve determined the purpose of your event, focus on your programming and what you hope to accomplish.

Virtual events are not so different from in-person events, both requiring intense planning and execution.

What platform will allow you to best execute this event? Will you need to work with a production company to make your plans come to life? Production companies can add much needed value and polish to an event and can help take on some of the workload that otherwise falls on the event coordinator. However, there can be an expensive price tag for these services, so make sure if it suits your event, you have the budget to manage it.

There are a thousand resources out there to make your event successful.

  • You can do a simple interactive email campaign as an event substitution by using the ThankView platform.
  • Be more interactive through a live Zoom call.
  • Applications like Whova or Socio allow your attendees to interact in the moment.

Deciding what is best for your event can be overwhelming. It’s worth it to take the time to explore all your options and make an educated decision about the tools and platforms that are best for you. Even though the process can be taxing and frustrating, conduct thorough research and find the perfect fit. Your hard work will be rewarded when you hold a successful and meaningful event for your stakeholders.

Above all, this is your chance to be creative.

The world is your oyster and there are no bad ideas. You can do anything from host live games, like bingo or a scavenger hunt to running a virtual tailgate with special guest speakers. Sending branded items related to your event to your attendees through a fulfillment center is a good way to show appreciation and also use the items as a way to engage during your event. Use this time as an opportunity to start anew and try new things. If it doesn’t work or ends up being a bust, there’s (often) no harm done!  Most importantly, just know that people want to be involved and attendance to virtual events has proven to be high.

Starting the planning process for your virtual event can be a struggle, but there are many resources out there to help. Check out www.eventmanagerblog.com to find guides on pivoting, blogs, and much more. And remember, you’re not alone in this! Connect to your colleagues, peers, and networks. We are one team in this and are happy to support you and help your event to be a success.