With restrictions on face-to-face meetings and an uncertain year ahead, we know some of you have been finding it difficult to connect with your members.
But staying socially isolated doesn’t mean you have to cancel all of your group’s plans. You just need to adjust them a bit.
There are many different ways you can interact with your members virtually. You may decide to simply re-create a successful live event (eg a talk or film screening) virtually. You might decide to try out something new and find new ways to engage with your members.
Staying connected with your members is important for a number of reasons:
A virtual event is any organised meet-up that takes place online, in a virtual environment instead of physically in person. There is no limit to the range of events that can take place – everything from small-scale craft sessions to large conferences with hundreds of participants.
Virtual and engaging events are going to be a big part of the future of your group so we suggest you prepare yourselves to be able to create engaging, inclusive and accessible online events for your members.
There are many reasons that you should be considering holding a virtual event and here are some things to consider:
It is important that before planning a digital event you get some feedback from your society or club members that this is something they want and will attend.
A lot of people are put off by virtual events (particularly with the over-abundance of virtual quizzes they’re invited to) and want to know that they are not going to be sitting looking at a screen for hours. Consider doing a poll on your social media asking members what kind of events they want to see from you and how frequently they would consider attending.
Top Tip – getting feedback from your members counts towards Balloon Accreditation!
You need to think about who is going to be attending your event and why. Are your audience looking for:
Like planning any in-person event, there are basic questions you should be asking yourself when developing your idea for a digital one. Some of the important questions you should be asking yourselves at the start of planning are:
There are lots more questions you could be asking yourself so we advise you to fully develop your idea and then use the rest of this page to help you practically plan your activity.
Developing the content of an event is the most important part of planning digitally. You want to make sure your event is engaging, fun and more than anything interactive. Generally, people don’t want to sit at a screen and watch someone talk for long periods of time so consider the separate elements of what plan to do.
Who is going to host or chair your event: Your host plays one of the most important roles in a digital event as they create the flow, the mood and tone for your event. They want to make sure they connect your content and messaging to your attendees in an uplifting way. This can be done through the interactive features of the platform you use or a space that participants are drawn back to between content segments of your event.
Just like hosting an event in-person a good host will:
External Speakers: You can source your speakers in the same way that you have always done for you events and because of the lack of travel you may be able to book some better speakers than originally planned for cheaper!
Our policies still apply to student groups planning digital events that include speakers to come along and talk. We share responsibility with you for the event running safely and smoothly and we also need to make sure we stay within the law and are meeting our obligations as a registered charity.
If you are planning to run an event with one or more external speakers present, please complete this online form as far in advance as possible (and no later than 2 weeks before the event).
When planning a digital event, one big question you want to ask is, does this event need to be live or can it be pre-recorded. Both of these types of events come with their own pros and cons but typically live events have a better, more natural feel to them.
You need to think about what could go wrong too: with pre-recorded you need to ensure you have enough time to film, edit and upload the content whereas with live events you need to think about connectivity issues, including how to navigate around them.
It is important that you consider how your attendees are going to feel at your event. In-person events are built for engagement through organic networking work whereas it is more difficult to facilitate this through digital events.
Ensure you think about the needs of the attendees - What are their goals and how will they find the design of your content. Put yourself in their shoes. Have you noticed you have any questions about what to do at the event, how to log on etc.
We’ve seen lots of ideas coming from student groups when planning their events for the new term This is a bit different to what you’re used to, but the good news is - you’re not limited to Zoom quizzes! Some of our favourites, that can be adapted by you, are below:
A box (or bag) of fun: We love this idea and think it can be adapted by pretty much any group:
Create your own virtual scavenger hunt: A step-up from your regular quiz night, take your members on an adventure around the world using Terraclues.com or Geoguessr.com
Competition and Collaboration: Competitions are a great way to engage not only with your members but also a great way to collaborate with other Societies or Clubs. You could:
Managing a team to be able to deliver a successful event is important. Below is an outline of a potential event team structure you could use for a larger-scale online event
The range of different platforms you can use to deliver your digital events are as varied as the events you can thin of. The main thing is you choose one that
All UoB Students have access to Microsoft Teams and Zoom via the IT Services Team
All events, both in-person and digital should be as inclusive and accessible as possible. Here are some tips to think about:
You never know what is going to happen. Even the greatest of event planners can miss the most sleight of details which can have a large impact on the delivery of your event. Ways to prevent this:
It’s a good idea to set out your expectations of the audience before the event begins, including any etiquette or protocol they should eb aware of. There are tonnes of inforgraphics online you can draw inspiration from, we particularly like this one from uofsdmedia.com