Get Free Demo

A Guide for Nonprofit Fundraising Events: The Profits and Expenses of Hosting Hybrid and Virtual Fundraising Events

Virtual and hybrid events have become important aspects of the fundraising process. As these event types have gained popularity, many nonprofit and charitable organizations might be curious about the costs involved with hosting a hybrid fundraising event

Expenses are, of course, important elements to consider during the planning stage. While events with an online component almost always reduce overall event costs, it is important to note that they also include some expenses in areas not typically associated with their in-person counterparts. High-quality, well-executed hybrid events require investments in areas that may not be usually considered.

Elements such as volunteer recruitment and training, audio/video production, virtual event producers, and more are areas you’ll need to consider when hosting a virtual and/or hybrid event.

With this in mind, we’ve partnered with Paybee to share this guide with you in the hopes it will demystify the costs associated with hosting a hybrid fundraising gala. Additionally, we’ll also discuss the earnings that some nonprofits have  been able to achieve through virtual hybrid events.

So, How Much Do We Have to Invest in a Hybrid Event?

The first thing to keep in mind when thinking about the expenses associated with hosting a hybrid event is the two distinct experiences you will be creating for your audience— an online gathering and an in-person event. The scope of your fundraising gala could require you to hire or recruit volunteers in both tech support and staff to ensure that your event runs smoothly and effectively, catering to both of your audiences. 

Here are some essential investments you will need to consider for your hybrid event, as well as a price estimate for each category.

Volunteer and Staff Training

In a virtual event, your volunteers and staff can play a crucial role in collecting bids and payments and facilitating check-in/checkout.

Because of this, your staff will have to be trained on how to manage your virtual event backend from their mobile devices, necessitating extra time and resources to be spent on volunteer training, management, and scheduling.

Video Production 

Professional, high-quality video and sound are vital components of a successful online event. Hiring a professional videographer to be present at your physical event will allow you to bring that experience to your online attendees in a far more engaging way.

In addition to ensuring that your event is fully accessible and enjoyable for your digital participants, great video footage can also serve as excellent marketing material for your organization. Well-shot and edited portions of your fundraising gala may be used in the future to win over possible contributors. 

When searching for the right videographer for your event, make sure to be thorough about viewing their portfolio and reading their client reviews. It’s important to determine if they have experience with your specific kind of event, as well as if their style matches your vision for the format of the gala. 

Also, ask your potential hires whether they will be providing their own gear and if it is included in their rate. Last but not least, ensure that the format your videographer works with is consistent with the platforms and software that you will be using to host and run your event

From our experience, the cost of having a professional videographer at your event can range anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Where you land within that range will depend largely on the scope of your gala, as well as specific requirements you may have when it comes to additional skills and components you want to be included in the service.

On Location Event Producers and Coordinators

A production team is vital for ensuring that both of the components of your event run in tandem and according to plan. A professional team will be able to help you successfully and functionally organize the different aspects of your fundraiser, leading to the quality of both the physical and digital parts of your event.

Production teams or producers who have prior experience in hybrid events, or who are specialists in the matter, can further help in planning your online event. Things like creating website home pages, managing sign-up forms, and organizing streams are some of the things that a producer could assist you with. 

Just as you would with any other hire, take a close look at possible producers’ portfolios, references, and prior experiences. These aspects are all important to consider when looking for the right match for you and your hybrid event

Professional producers or production teams at your event are approximately a $1500 investment. Remember, always make sure to discuss all duties and expectations in advance with your producer to eliminate unwanted problems and surprises. 

Online Hosting Platform Fees

Make sure to take your specific event needs into account when deciding on an online platform to host it on. For fundraisers, it’s important to ensure that your chosen virtual platform can easily accept donations, market ticket sales, and work well with other popular social media platforms for promotional purposes. If your hybrid gala has an auction component to it, for example, your digital platform and any apps you may use to that end must be able to host that feature effectively between your physical and digital attendees.

Your chosen online event platform will continue to play an important role after your fundraising gala has wrapped up. Event breakdowns, as well as facilitated ways for contributors to make their donations and receive tax receipts, for example, should be services the platform can provide for you.

Bundle Deals 

A package deal may be the right option for you, offering you every feature you need for your event at a great price. Since 2020 we’ve seen all types of events successfully readjusted to digital formats, a shift that led auctioneers to sell their services in an all-encompassing package that includes video production. Check out whether this option is right for you and your organization’s hybrid fundraising event.

How Much Can I Expect to Raise From a Well-Executed Hybrid Event?

Hybrid fundraising galas can be exceptionally lucrative events. While the appropriate investments are necessary in ensuring an enjoyable, high-quality event for all of your attendees, they can lead to incredible results for your cause:

Exceeding Fundraising Expectations

We’ve seen many virtual events

raise 30% to 50% above their initial objective. The added profit can be attributed both to the lesser cost of hybrid events and to the contributors themselves.

Keep in mind that giving donors the option to attend your events virtually translates to no travel-associated expenses on their end. In addition, online participation also caters to donors with full schedules, who can’t afford to be present for the entirety of the gala.

Digitally, they are able to join when possible to make contributions and participate in other ways. These features may seem subtle on their own, but compound to eliminate a significant amount of costs for your supporters. In their turn, they might then feel more compelled to take that into account when making their contributions. 

A Larger Audience and Greater Contributions 

Making your fundraising event available online will inevitably and significantly increase your audience. Consequently, a larger outreach means more prospects to make your hybrid event as lucrative as possible.

Facilitating participation for online attendees is a vital way to ensure that contributions can flow easily during your fundraising event. In the case of a live or a silent auction, for example, digital networks like the PayBee application allow contributors to actively bid and participate in real time.

Due to the large number of bidders from all sorts of different platforms, the auction will be far more lively, engaging, and exciting, ultimately leading to increased profits. Beyond auctions, there are other numerous fun activities that are perfect for hybrid fundraising events.

Larger hybrid events provide advantages to your organization that go beyond the money raised. By being able to take on such a wide online audience, your nonprofit will have automatically gained thousands of possible new contributors who now know your brand. When it comes to searching for supporters in the future, you will be much more likely to find people who recognize your organization and are eager to participate.

Bringing it All Together

Fundraising galas for charities and nonprofit organizations are steadily transitioning to the hybrid event format. For this reason, it’s essential for you to have knowledge of how these events work, their associated costs, and how you can run your own. 

Though our clientele consistently finds hybrid fundraisers to be more lucrative than the alternative, they also understand the need for investments in areas like management and an efficient virtual event platform.

When considering your own hybrid event, be aware of the expenses needed to ensure the appropriate personnel and hosting platforms. While some of these investments may seem unnecessary to outsiders, they guarantee the quality of both your event and the image of your organization as a whole.

When catering to thousands of possible new online contributors, there is no second chance at making a great first impression. Make sure to think through all of the details to provide your attendees a truly valuable, exceptional experience.

If you’ are looking to get a better understanding of the kinds of services and other costs associated with hybrid fundraising events, learn more about Paybee’s online fundraising platform.

Additional Resources

7 Tips for Recruiting and Organizing Event Volunteers

Nonprofit Virtual Events: Should Yours be Live or Prerecorded?

The 7 Types of Volunteers you Need for your Charity Auction

Hosting a Virtual Conference: 3 Top Tips for Your Nonprofit

How to Get Volunteers for an Event

6 Virtual Event Management Tools for Nonprofits

Michael Jung is an award-winning writer who’s been producing entertainment-related content for over 20 years. An expert in comic book history, storytelling, children’s literature, and reader response theory, he’s applied his knowledge toward furthering the study of pop culture in both the academic and business worlds.