Planning for Fall Events in Times of Uncertainty
Worried about COVID setbacks? Here are some tips from our team to help you with your fall event plans.
Fear not; our team is masked, double vaxxed, and ready to keep the ball rolling! In keeping with our purpose to “Amplify Our Community,” we never closed our doors, even during the earlier days of the pandemic. As we head into our second “COVID Fall Season,” we are ready to take this next round of surprises head-on. If you are feeling nervous about what is ahead, don’t panic; here is what you need to think about to stay on track.
Planning and flexibility are the two most important items in your event toolbox. Here are some things to put in place at the beginning of your event planning process.
- Ask your hosts, presenters, and stage talent about their comfort level with hybrid and virtual formats in the event COVID restrictions change.
- Talk to your venue and vendors and develop options for a Plan B and Plan C if needed.
- Think about what you might need in terms of donation software and put it in place early. For example, fundraising software like Give Lively has a 2-week verification period if you’re applying for a free nonprofit account. Luckily, these fundraising platforms can be used for in-person events as well.
- Check the availability and speed of both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections at your venue to ensure there is enough bandwidth for mobile software and streaming if needed.
COVID-Conscious Tips for In-Person Events
If you’re planning on hosting an in-person event this fall, make sure you follow these tips to keep your attendees and staff as safe as possible.
- Communicate your COVID event protocols early and often to your guests, vendors, and staff.
- Request a dedicated mic for each presenter instead of passing microphones between multiple people.
- Ask your AV company for disposable mic covers or bring your own. Mic covers work like shower caps and can be changed between presenters.
- Include branded items such as hand sanitizer, pens, and masks in the ticket price or provide them complimentary in swag bags.
- Add a little levity by holding a mask decorating contest with an awesome prize for the winner.
- Tie your social distance signage and markers into your theme. Do you provide outdoor recreation? Create “trail signs” indicating where guests should stand. Provide summer camp experiences for youth? Use pool noodles to indicate 6’ distancing.
- Use an online auction and/or fundraising software platform so guests can bid from their phones. This reduces the need to touch pens, bid sheets, and credit cards while lowering printing costs.
Have a Plan B: Host a Hybrid Event
Converting an “in-person only” event to a hybrid event is possible with some planning and will involve the following:
- Adding a live streaming component which includes choosing a streaming platform as well as editing your run-of-show (or script) to include the virtual audience. Ask your AV team for assistance.
- Reducing the number of in-person attendees depending on the changes in governmental COVID restrictions and/or if a significant percentage of attendees want to attend virtually.
- Using a fundraising platform that allows for virtual participation such as Give Lively and Greater Giving.
In order to be prepared, add the following action items to your list:
- Meet with your AV team to determine what equipment and software are needed and make a plan to create the additional media for the virtual component such as pre-recorded videos, captions, or media for pre and post-event.
- Talk to your venue and other vendors about how to adapt to a hybrid format while still honoring existing agreements. For example, can some of the meals, swag, and decorations be converted to a delivered box experience for virtual attendees?
- Assemble your team for the live stream component including a chat wrangler, fundraising software lead, and media creation point person.
And a Plan C: Shifting to a Virtual Event
All of the components created for a hybrid event can be used for a strictly virtual event.
To ensure you’re prepared for Plan C, add the following action items to your list:
- Talk to your venue about hosting the virtual event from their space or talk to your AV team about the availability of their studio.
- Discuss additional AV equipment needs including monitors for information feeds.
- Ask your AV team to help you develop a comprehensive script with media cues.
- Add a teleprompter or dedicate a staff person for advancing the script.
In short, a change of plans doesn’t have to mean a change of venue, catering, and audio visual services. Having a plan prepared for your fall event helps create a seamless transition if something needs to change so you can adapt to any curve balls! Reach out today for assistance with your fall events by calling 206.548.9822 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
At Live Oak AV, we have experience supporting all event types through:
- Quality audio and video equipment for in-person attendees
- Live streaming services for hybrid & virtual Events
- Fully-equipped Live Stream Studio for virtual events
- Professional broadcast software
- Ability to stream to most video, conference, and meeting platforms
- Coaching & training for clients
Visit our blog for more tips on hybrid and virtual events!