Episode 84: Embracing the new future of virtual events to greatly increase your engagement, attendance and donations with We and Goliath

Like it or not, we are still living in a world where virtual events continue to be a necessity. In order to accommodate the widest possible audience, getting your virtual events dialed is imperative to ensure that you enable optimum engagement. And what’s fortune is that we do live in an era where technology exists to make these types of events not only possible but incredibly engaging.

Instead of fighting the “new normal”, my guests today, Michelle Garrison and Daniel Moss from We and Goliath took a forward-thinking approach and focused on updating and optimizing virtual events to keep your attendees interested and engaged.

There are benefits to putting on your event in the virtual (or hybrid) space. First, you are no longer limited to local audiences (or ones with the facility to travel to your locale). Second, virtual events by their very nature include a built-in mechanism that create materials that can be repurposed to allow a one-time, in-person event to gain increased reach and a bulk of materials that can be shared for years to come. In fact, assets created in one year can be used to promote future events.

Our conversation today is jam-packed with great tips, clever breakout activities, and ways to make your next event shine. The events Daniel and Michelle have helped create over the years  have helped organizations turn their in-person events into international events and have even helped increase online attendance by over 7x of their previous years’ in-person attendance.

If you are seeking to put on an event, this show is a must-listen.

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Embrace the efficiency that virtual events provide to make connections you never could at an in-person event.

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DanielMoss: Yeah, we’ve, we’ve been really happy to, to help clients, you know, using our marketing skills and marketing materials and inspiration on all of this to get two X, five X, even seven X attendance at their virtual events compared to their in-person counterparts. And that’s really probably the number one benefit of virtual events is like you said, a lot of people can’t afford to fly, get hotels, paper food.

So you get the cost savings lead to this national or even global re.

are you looking for ways to shorten your marketing learning curve and help your organization survive and thrive. Welcome to relish this, the purpose marketing pod. A show for purpose focused leaders who want to use marketing techniques to fuel their organization’s growth. If you’re a returning listener and you haven’t subscribed already, we’d love to have you also please consider leaving a review wherever you listen to podcasts.

Now here’s your host, author and marketing specialist. Stew swine

StuSwineford: Ford. Hey, everybody’s still here like it or not. We’re still doing. Era of uncertainty in terms of whether or not events can go off as planned, particularly those who that are that take place in person. My guests today are Daniel Moss and Michelle Garrison from we and Goliath.

They’re both co-founders of that organization that specializes in, in bringing some real power to virtual events. They help people promote and put on virtual. And hybrid events as well as in-person, but they really tend to focus on the idea that we can reach a much wider audience through virtual events.

If you have hung your hat historically on fundraising at events for your organization, these guys have some amazing ideas on how to ensure that your next event. Particularly a virtual event goes off without a hitch. We talked about all sorts of great stuff today including, you know, really talking about how to get audiences engaged in your events so that they become interactive as opposed to just another zoom call.

You know, people are really getting zoom, fatigue but, but Daniel and Michelle. We in Goliath can really take your events to the next level. So this is an amazing episode. I hope you enjoy it. Here we go.

Daniel, Michelle, how are things today?

MichelleGarrison: We are doing wonderful. How are you Stu? I

StuSwineford: am great. And thank you for being on the show. I’m really excited to learn more about what you are up to over there at we in Goliath with event planning and, and all of that fun stuff. And we’d love to know how you got into that.

Great.

DanielMoss: Thanks dude. So we am Goliath is all about helping mission-driven organizations host more inspiring, meaningful events online. And we started unlike most event agencies, not just doing in-person events, but doing digital marketing and design and as well as event Oregon’s. In-person events for nonprofits.

As well as I have about 10 years experience, workshop facilitation for nonprofits, and then as a marketing director for four years. So we bring a lot of this focus on not only how can you make your event more interactive and engaging, but how can we make it beautiful? How can we grow your audience? How can we just reach whatever your goals are because we’re, we’re really optimizers, right?

We care about results. We care about making an impact and we want to do whatever we can to within your budget, to maximize your long-term goals beyond the event.

StuSwineford: Nice. And so are you primarily doing, I mean, I’m sure it’s a little bit of a mix at this point. Virtual and in person and, and, you know, hybrid, what, what, what are you noticing people doing these days in terms of events and, and you know, really leaning on.

Elements of their fundraising that has traditionally been you know, one of their go-to go to things to do to raise money.

MichelleGarrison: Yeah. So we do PRI primarily virtual and we are starting to move into hybrid. Now that things are opening. More last year we, we dabbled in hybrid, but then some things got shut down again.

So it, you know, w we’ve all been on this rollercoaster together, so we, we know how it is. And we we’ve really enjoy the virtual side and one, the hybrid events to not. Not make the virtual attendees feel like second-class citizens. So, so it’s all about sort of balancing both of the audiences and

DanielMoss: getting creative, like you said, for fundraiser events, for example.

How are we going to raise funds during the event in advance? How are we going to shift that in the virtual experience? So we can definitely talk about that and really maximizing the benefits of the virtual side, I guess, has been our primary focus.

StuSwineford: Yeah. It’s not all bad, right? You can, you certainly can reach a larger audience with a virtual event in theory.

I know that early on there were some really, really clever. Things going on, where people were, were essentially running concerts within gaming platforms and reaching millions and millions of people that if you just had held a concert, you, you know what, be able to feel a a hundred thousand person stadium.

So you know, there’s certainly some, some good things that are available there.

DanielMoss: We’ve been really happy to help clients, you know, using our marketing skills and. Marketing materials and inspiration on all of this to get two X, five X, even seven X attendance at their virtual events compared to their in-person counterparts.

And that’s really probably the number one benefit of virtual events is like you said, a lot of people can’t afford to fly, get hotels, paper food. So you get the cost savings lead to this national or even global re.

StuSwineford: What are some of the things that you’ve seen people do? What, what are some interesting, interesting ways that people have overcome that, that hurdle of, of, or maybe, I guess, fear of running a virtual event that they’ve been able to take, take advantage of.

MichelleGarrison: Well some of the things that we really enjoy and we enjoy helping clients with are bringing more organic networking opportunities and even matchmaking opportunities, similar to a dating site. We can match people up based on their interests. Projects that are work they’re working on. So that in the conference platforms that are available today, we just have so much more capabilities to aggregate data and select the right people for each other.

So that’s been really fun. We’ve also. Done after parties and musicians, chefs that come on to do a cooking show sleep scientists, yoga meditation. Oh, there’s, there’s a lot that can be translated online in a skillful way and a creative way that. Make it makes people feel really engaged just as if they were in person.

DanielMoss: And of course just utilizing live chat to the fullest. Right. Even if you’re not having people on screen during breakouts, we really encourage our speakers, our clients, speakers to talk to the chat as if they’re, you know, don’t forget that they’re there. Ask them questions, ask them for feedback for their insights and have a dialogue.

And

MichelleGarrison: chat roulette. It’s kind of fun to just, when you drop people into one-on-one conversations with each other at random, with different questions, it really becomes kind of an adventure without needing to go that far.

StuSwineford: Yeah, that’s cool. And you mentioned being able to put people into, I’m assuming they’re kind of like breakout rooms, but you are able to do that through kind of a demographic match.

Is that, did I hear that accurately? Well, we

MichelleGarrison: can do demographic ish matches based on topics of interest so we can recommend connections and not necessarily force people to have conversations. But give them that opportunity to, to reach out to the right people or

DanielMoss: depending on the platform, you can randomly pair people up and one by one, or have them randomly join a breakout group.

You know? So we’re, we’re what we call platform agnostic. We have a number of different tools to meet the needs and, and that includes different types of networks.

StuSwineford: Right. So when you engage with with an organization, are you just kind of asking them what they’d like, what their thoughts are first and then making recommendations based upon your area of expertise there is that, is that typically how you might coach someone through the process?

MichelleGarrison: Yes, exactly. We, we do a lot of listening, a lot of really engaging with what they want in their event and, and also make suggestions. Based on what we think might be a good addition or something that, that maybe they haven’t thought of yet, because there are a lot of tools out there and ideas out there that most many people haven’t quite yet explored.

StuSwineford: Yeah. And they keep changing everything every day. Right? Yeah. It’s really cool to see how you know, some of the platforms have continued to add features and enable new abilities and opportunities to you know, to engage in a, in a variety of different ways. It’s, it’s been really cool. To see how quickly the technology has evolved as, as necessity has been driving that it’s, it’s, it’s really, you know, caught up and, and exceeded everything that I think anyone might’ve thought thought chatter or you know, online meetings might, might look like

MichelleGarrison: it’s so true and we’re geeks at heart.

So we love diving into the tools and figuring out what we could do and innovating. So it’s, it’s really fun.

StuSwineford: Yeah. What are some of the latest trends that you’ve seen in, in events that, that, you know, nonprofits and purpose-driven organizations should be aware of? When they’re looking to put on an event this year and perhaps do either a hybrid or, or a a virtual component.

DanielMoss: Yeah. There’s, there’s quite a few things there. One thing. Upleveling your production value. I think at the beginning, everybody was okay. Getting away with having zoom meetings basically, but there’s so much more you can do by bringing in. Graphics animations, prerecorded video clips, interactive sessions, of course as well, like things maybe you’re going to split into breakout groups and work on a collaborative whiteboard or editing a PowerPoint visual note taking is a really fun way to add like adult learning style.

So you’re, you’re not only. Having this discussion, but you’re seeing somebody illustrate your discussion. That can be really fun. What else would you like to add Michelle?

MichelleGarrison: I, so in the hybrid perspective, just having a virtual hosts that can switch back and forth between that live experience and, and then engage the virtual audience.

And make sure that they’re there also having almost a separate experience from the in-person experience so that we’re not just watching people walk across the stage or randomly, you know, wandering the hallways. Oh,

DanielMoss: one more all had is like making sure that we’re optimizing value for sponsors. And let’s say at a fundraising event, how can we creatively give your donors, your supporters and sponsors?

The the right type of visibility that they want. The, maybe that’s a VIP reception before a fundraiser gala or a special in-person experience at an otherwise virtual event. Right. So getting creative to maximize those those experiences.

MichelleGarrison: Yeah. And bringing music in throughout the event, we’ve found is really important to engage the heart as well, to bring people into that feeling feeling oriented discussions.

It really is nice to segue from music and an intro and maybe mid events and the outros, but that really makes a big difference.

StuSwineford: Oh, that’s great. So just, just kind of thinking about the event itself as as more of a production piece than just, you know, a dinner with a bunch of people in a room sort of deal that maybe has an agenda, but, but really trying to increase the the production value of, of everything.

That’s just going to help everybody stay more than.

MichelleGarrison: Yeah, it’s really easy to get used to the zoom meetings and assume that your virtual event needs to look just like a zoom meeting that you would spend on, you know, an hour with colleagues. But it, it really doesn’t need to be like that. And it can still be on zoom and the same format, but with a bit more interesting Polish and engagement and

DanielMoss: yeah, we’re working on one gala right now.

It’s like a 50th anniversary gala. And so they’re bringing in. The voice of members in short segments that we’re helping them prerecord. As well as having a number of quick fireside chats, you can pack so much into an hour when you, especially when you prerecord or pre produce your event. Right? So it becomes, there’s no such thing as zoom fatigue when you’re like watching Netflix.

Right. Zoom visiting is like, in other words, like if the content is entertaining, if it’s fast moving, if it’s polished, people will watch. A full hour and there’ll be like, we want more, right. It’s or even a four hour event and they’ll stay engaged the whole time. So let’s think about how we can be as exciting, entertaining visually as well as on the interactivity side and keep people

MichelleGarrison: thrilled whenever.

We had comedian hosts and it was so fun cause they just bounce back and forth with each other and we’re kind of poking fun at each other, but then like bringing in some of the presenters into the discussion and it kept things interesting and light.

StuSwineford: That’s great. I I’ve definitely am. You know, my brain is going crazy over here in terms of, of how, how, how.

Slick V a virtual and even a, a hybrid event could be by bringing in those elements and essentially allowing both of those kinds of audience groups to have a really unique experience. I can see how that would play really well. What are some of the things that, I mean, I could also see people particularly in the nonprofit space thinking, well, you know, I’m an executive director of a nonprofit.

I don’t necessarily, you know, I’m not an MC or I don’t, I don’t really know. No, how to produce a slick event like this, what are some of the things that you bring to the table to help, you know, to help someone in that, in that role make sure that they are able to, to kind of knock these events out of the park.

MichelleGarrison: Yeah. Well, part of it is really taking stock of your current network and your current community as. We can help to make suggestions and bring people to the table. That, that if, if, if somebody that is within a nonprofit, doesn’t really have that same level of connections. But typically in a nonprofit member group, there are, there’s some real talent and some people that are really willing to come to the table and participate in the event and do it for free out of the goodness of their own heart.

Right? Like that. And so starting this. Finding some of your power members in a sense, the people that can show up and really bring energy to the event.

DanielMoss: Yeah. Maybe you’ve got a celebrity supporter in your network and you can invite them to be an MC for your event. We’re doing that with the equal rights amendment coalition in a month.

They haven’t an actress. Had Alyssa Milano at their previous gala with us last year. Maybe you’ve got musicians, maybe you have influencers online who can help you promote. So definitely agree, especially for the budget, just focus on the network, but then also reach out and see who would be. Cross promotional partner, right?

Maybe, maybe you want to maximize your reach by bringing in a partner organization and give them a MC role. Yeah.

MichelleGarrison: And if you need help with that, we, we do have partners and team members that can help do some of that outreach to, to find those connections.

StuSwineford: Oh, that’s great. So that’s a resource that you provide there.

We, we

DanielMoss: in Goliath. Yeah. For example, we got the women’s March to promote one of our women’s related events. We’ve got Marianne Williamson as a keynote speaker for a hybrid event a couple of years ago, things like that.

StuSwineford: Ah, that’s great. So when people are. Are putting together an event. What, what kind of budgets do you recommend that they work with to, to take their event from, you know, something that, that may be semi effective, but it could be better to that next level.

What, what kind of, what kind of investment do people need to make? Yeah,

DanielMoss: great question. So we primarily work on two types of events, fundraisers. Galas or it’s ceremonies. Let’s put that in one category and conferences full day multi-day conferences fundraisers and galas. If you’re gonna do what we call premium production, right.

It’s not just a zoom meeting, but you’ve got some of these elements we’re talking about. Usually they start at around 25. Or, or let’s say like 10 to 30,000 is a reasonable range to, to make a really good event. And then on a conference site, it ranges a lot, maybe anywhere from 20 to a hundred thousand in order to have.

So the range there is how many, not only how much content, how long, the style of production, how many concurrent things are going on. Do you need promotion graphics, video editing, and animation? Multiple languages isn’t is a major cost factor. Of course, we’ve done things like up to six languages over six days, that would be one of the most expensive or hybrid.

You should expect about a 50 to a hundred percent increase in cost. To go hybrid from in-person right? Cause you’re basically taking an imprisonment and a virtual event and merging them to.

StuSwineford: Right. Well, I imagine, and this is something that we are always on the lookout over here at relish studio is looking for ways to reuse materials.

So, you know, when you, when you think of of the traditional in person, That, you know, we all got used to, and, and a lot of, a lot of nonprofits really leaned on pretty heavily for, for a good chunk of their revenue in any given year. A lot of that material wasn’t reusable, but I would say that that has to be an advantage of, of doing a hybrid or, or a virtual event is that, you know, all of this is potentially at least recordable and reusable.

Is that something that you’re also on the lookout when, for when you’re putting on.

MichelleGarrison: Definitely. We encourage that and we manage all of the replays, the replays get put into us a site that’s accessible by their attendees, and that can be shared out to YouTube and other, other channels. We also really like to do highlight videos at the end of the event, we’ll take some of the best clips and, and it becomes a, a lot of content that they can use throughout the year.

And even throughout the life that, I mean, for decades really.

StuSwineford: Right, right. Depending upon how, you know, how evergreen that material is, it could be, it could be something that could, could get used on their site for, for quite some time.

DanielMoss: And sometimes we’re using in future events. We had one large conference who had a best of stage and they were just replaying sessions that we had done with them or other from other of their events, because that content was basically evergreen, like you said.

Right.

MichelleGarrison: And we haven’t done. Evergreen conferences in the sense that the, the event continues to be marketed after it’s, it’s gone live, but certainly a possibility that we would love to do more of that, where we have all of those replays and tickets can continue to be sold to content more like an e-course format.

StuSwineford: Right. Right. Well, a lot of people do that with webinars too. They, they recorded a webinar and then. Pretend like it’s, it’s live again and just reshow it. And you know, that tends to, tends to be something that we see happen quite a bit.

DanielMoss: We also did some of the summit where you had like 21 speakers over 21 days.

And that event keeps getting new registrations and that’s been an evergreen event that worked really well to support a cause. And it’s basically a training focused event that works for them.

StuSwineford: Right. Well, you guys are in, in the Asheville area, correct? Yeah. So how does, how does this work for you know, for, for somebody here in Colorado who might be interested in, in putting on an event with you, are you, are you in a meeting to come out and be onsite for the.

Or what’s, what’s that engagement look like? Yeah.

MichelleGarrison: So we can work with anybody virtually from around the world. And we can work in person as well. For hybrid, we have partners throughout the world and we also have team members that we can fly out to be onsite.

StuSwineford: So, is there a production team typically for, let’s say, let’s say there’s a hybrid gala or, or something of that nature. Is there typically a team on onsite, like managing multiple cameras and stage adjustments and all of that stuff, if that’s what what the budget will cover or is that something that you can help people get set up remotely and then.

And then

DanielMoss: yeah. Put that together. Yeah. Any of the above. So sometimes our clients come to us and they’re like, we’ve got. Venue. And they’re providing all the AAV gear, but we want you to live stream it. And so we can show up and just it’s called being an encoding technician. So they just give us a feed and we send it to life or we’ll bring a camera and send that to live, or we can bring all the gear.

And then, like you said, at the end, there are also these great cameras called PTZ cameras, pan tilt, zoom, where we can send those to you, coach you on setting them up for yourself. Remotely control them. So that would be a third option. That one’s really good. If you’re looking for ongoing support for events, you can basically keep these cameras as long as you need them.

And then we can just set up and, and be live with you from a distance for a, you know, a series of events.

StuSwineford: Yeah, that’s cool. I just know that there are a lot of, of, of people who are, I mean, they’re not technically Proficient I guess. And, and, you know, so they, they can get a little fearful of how all this works and how much, you know, how much of that knowledge are they going to need to bring to the table.

And so it’s, it’s really cool to hear that you can do that remotely with a little bit of setup, you know, prep and coaching or even, you know, support that fully on onsite.

DanielMoss: Yeah, we’re very flexible in that way. And of course, I mean, we are also just really virtual advocates in a big way though. We love hybrid events and in-person events.

You know, we really think if you have a national audience you should not, even though things are opening up. Forget about the power of virtual events to grow your audience with less cost, less environmental footprint, less time. And that’s probably where we shine the most is how can you use the marketing, the design, the production, the partnership.

To reach that national audience, global audience have that evergreen

MichelleGarrison: content and then have a smaller, potentially a smaller virtual or in-person event of VIP’s that are willing to fly out and, and be there in person. And it really takes a lot of stress off of the planning as well. And I don’t want to mitigate the planning for virtual because it is definitely a.

It’s involved. It’s not something to just ignore, but the in-person has a lot more logistics to figure out.

StuSwineford: Yeah, for sure. I think you know, having been on the board of a couple of nonprofits and have seen how galas work, it, it takes a ton of planning for, for either a virtual event or an in-person, but but there are certainly some cost savings that are, or cost savings opportunities with, with a virtual event.

In, in theory Yeah, obviously I’m sure that there are other things that one can spend, can invest their, their budgets into for a virtual event. But but you know, there’s certainly a lot of, of just built in costs that that, that you wouldn’t incur for a virtual event. So what, what’s your process with, with somebody who is putting on, let’s just say they’re putting on a.

You know virtual gala type of event. Well, walk me through what that engagement might look like too, so that people can get an understanding of, of, of what they would need to prepare for.

DanielMoss: Great. So, I mean, we always start by offering groups a free virtual event, strategy session. So we just love to brainstorm with you about your event.

How does it look like in person? What do you envision in a virtual or hybrid scenario? What are your goals for the event? Fundraising dollars, educational content, inspiration partnerships, et cetera. And then we suggest different solutions visually for graphics, animation, content wise, software wise and promotion wise.

Once we are into a project we recommend anywhere from like six to eight weeks. As the production planning phase, you want to start earlier for promotion. Of course, if you can. And, and before that for speaker outreach and stuff, right over that six to eight weeks, you know, it’s like asset collection planning, scheduling meetings for recording sessions, speaker training.

Looking at your run of show, how can we make it really smooth and polished design and review. So that would be event websites, graphics, promo materials, and then a rehearsal live event. And then, like Michelle said, those highlight videos and reports and recordings afterwards, and we’ve done it in as little as three weeks, actually for a 700 session conference.

So we’ve really worked a lot on, on systemizing, right? Making it easy to make the decisions about all the tech options and giving you templates for things. So we’re pretty proud of

StuSwineford: that as well. Nice. Do you think the virtual events work for most. Types or most sizes, I guess, of non-profits as they could everyone benefit from, from this type of of an

DanielMoss: event.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We’ve done events for local chapter organizations, local charities, et cetera, as well as multi-million member charities. And they weren’t great. And you know, and it just, depending on your budget, how big are you going to go in terms of the content guest speakers, production value, et cetera.

StuSwineford: Nice. Do what, what are some of the pitfalls that people tend to fall into when trying to put a, put an event on motor? Some of the things that, that people should look out for as they’re exploring an opportunity to do an event, or, or maybe even in the, in the, in the process of putting something on? Yeah.

Well, we

MichelleGarrison: really believe in engaging the audience as much as possible. And we’ve seen that in many circumstances, a client might come to us with an agenda where there’s a lot of presentations happening without the audience being able to interact. With what’s going on. So that I would say was, is one of the bigger pitfalls because the attendees are not as satisfied with that experience when they can’t actually participate.

So we like to encourage our clients to look at the ratio of presentation, to engagement and, and really take stock of what their audience really wants. And look at ways to bring them into the conversation. So that’s a big one. Another one is just coming to the presentation and reading off of a script, right?

Looking down instead of at the camera, just the basic presentation skills that apply in person really apply on online as well.

DanielMoss: Yeah, I’ll add not starting early enough is probably a common thing during COVID. We got a plenty of those requests, like you know, our, we got canceled in this in-person event and we have two weeks, we have four weeks.

And so there’s limited things you can do, obviously in that timeline, unless you’re you have a team who’s ready to rock it. And then since we’re on the, you know, relative to this, and it’s like a. Not enough promotion. If you’re going to put all this effort into great content for your event, give yourself plenty of time and plenty of budget to spread the word, to grow your audience.

And we can talk about that side as well. For sure.

StuSwineford: Yeah. How far in advance do you recommend people start? Really hyping the event and, and you know, getting people ready for, for this experience.

DanielMoss: That’s very relevant, I think, to your audience. How, how connected is that audience to you? You need less time if they’re already familiar with you and they’re kind of pre-sold, they’re used to.

Hearing from you more time, if you, if you need to warm them up to you. And in that case, maybe you need some pre content, like a podcast, for example, or a pre event, a free event that leads up to a paid event in order to really get them ready for your bigger engagement.

StuSwineford: Gotcha. So yeah, like everything, it sort of depends on, on the situation.

MichelleGarrison: Yeah. And if it’s an annual event or if it’s something that continues, then we really like to look at the life cycle of your events and what can you do even post event to keep people engaged and to keep them coming back. So maybe you’re doing a series of events every month. To just, just keep that interest going so that when you gear up for the main event, the following year, your members are already really on

DanielMoss: board.

Yeah. But I guess for a straightforward answer, one or two months for promotion for a virtual event is probably average that we

StuSwineford: would read. Okay. Yeah. I was trying to think one of the, one of the boards I was on had an annual, an annual event and I think they would start. Yeah, kind of promoting it about, about six to eight weeks out.

And then really, you know, leaning on people as, as the event got, got closer, if there were still tickets available to that. And that was a live event, but then, you know, in 2020, right, 20, 20, they had to go to completely virtual. And you know, I think it was obviously, it was a little bit of a change because this.

I mean, there was a lot of, a lot of fear involved in that because they just had no idea how that was going to turn out. And it ended up being I think they ended up raising at least as much money as before, and didn’t have you know, the same production costs just because of. Yeah, it was, it was virtual.

I didn’t need a venue or you know, to hire a chef and all that kind of stuff. So it’s really interesting how we get kind of stuck in a way of doing things, but there’s always, there are always other opportunities even, and even, I would say people would benefit from making sure that they have kind of a mix of, of ways to end.

DanielMoss: What do you mean by a mix of ways to engage?

StuSwineford: Well, instead of just saying it’s going to be all 100% live this year, or, or 100% virtual, you know, making, making an opportunity where people can engage, however, they, however they see fit, I guess. You know, like, I guess, I guess I’m going with, you know, hybrid events tend, seem to me, like that would be an interesting.

Approach for people to take right now, given the uncertainty of, of, you know, whether or not a live light event that’s scheduled for say September or October, we’ll be able to go on.

MichelleGarrison: Yeah, it is true. It is. It’s important. And when we think about like multiple touch points in marketing, It’s similar with events, just having multiple ways to engage.

You’re right. And, and to go even further with that, I would say for myself, I’m pretty introverted. And even though I, I like being at the in-person event, I also get a little bit tired in, in, in being in that event. And I don’t tend to contribute as much. Whereas I’ve found that online and we’ve noticed this with our events, that more people can, can contribute through chat.

And it’s a much easier format to share and express opinions.

DanielMoss: Yeah. I would add that in terms of different ways to engage. There’s like Michelle said, the event life cycle is interesting to think about and how. As a part of your event, marketing or promotion, you could start getting people talking about your event within your organization, asking questions about like, almost like a survey of what, what would you, not only what would you like most to see in this event or topics and things, but what is your biggest challenge?

What would be your favorite takeaway from this. Right. How could we serve you the most, getting those types of discussions going on beforehand will really guarantee that there’s more interest in your event because you’ve, you’ve got those pain points out of your audience in advance, right. It’s sort of like taking a marketing strategy and applying it to your content planning.

You know what I mean by that?

StuSwineford: Oh yeah, absolutely. I, I was actually just thinking about that. I I’m part of an organization that is. I believe they were, they were going to do a live event last year. And then that got, you know, COVID challenges cropped up and they had to cancel the live event and made it virtual.

And this year they, I know they sent out a survey fairly recently just asking. And it was really just asking the question you know, how do you feel about. Attending a live event this year and it gave you a few different options for, you know, I I’m, I’m super excited or not excited because of cost or I’m not excited because of COVID challenges or, you know, whatever it was.

Giving given that you’re already asking people questions. I love the idea of, of including some additional, just content type questions that, that, you know, if somebody is answering one question, they probably will answer two or three. And, and it’s just a kind of a missed opportunity if, if you aren’t trying to just get a little bit more information on how to put on or what people are interested in.

I think that’s just a fantastic idea.

DanielMoss: It can be amazing. Shockingly effective to take the language from your audience and use it back to them in your copywriting. Right? This is surprisingly not enough marketers do this. I would say our greatest marketing case study was when I was marketing director for.

For this nonprofit, we there in a workshop focused nonprofit and they do events as well, but it’s mostly about workshops. So we interviewed people who had taken the workshop. Like what was the main benefit that you got out of here? What was the number one challenge you’re trying to accomplish or overcome?

And we use that language in the copywriting and we helped them get, I think it was like 53% increase in conversions on their workshop signup page. Primarily for that reason, bringing in the voice of the customer, their pain points, their emotions, their goals. And I think that same thing applies to marketing where marketing events, not just you know, I mean, that is an event as well, a workshop, but for all types of events, Educational events even, right.

It’s not like only sales focused or whatever. So it could be, how is this going to help you in your career? How’s this going to help your organization or help you in all sorts of ways. You’re bringing in the language of not just what you think this event is going to help for them, but you know that it’s going to click because it’s coming from,

StuSwineford: from their map.

Yeah. It’s amazing. How many times. The problem that we believe that we solve for our clients is not the problem that they believe we solved for them. And yeah, it’s really funny. I think that people tend to get, they get, tend to get too caught up in the technology. That seems to be a pitfall that a lot of people have, and not maybe so much in the nonprofit space.

But certainly you know, no one really cares how I get a website built, for example you know, they just want, they just what their problem solved. And so so it’s really cool too. That’s a, that’s a very great tip to, to, to try to tease out what the, what the actual problems were, and then use that language to, to promote the event

MichelleGarrison: and not only the language, but also shaping the, the agenda.

As well and learning what people want to hear about what they want to work on together. And it can really make for a much more interesting event when the attendees feel like they played a role in creating it.

DanielMoss: Yeah, bouncing off that I’m wondering maybe in some non-profits would even want to be asking their, their members.

Is there content that you want to bring into the event? Do you want to host a breakout session? Do you want to suggest questions in advance? At least two people. And like I mentioned, from our pre-produced events you can provide video collection tools and let people send in clips of, let’s say. Thank you as appreciations to the nonprofit at a gala or to a retiring employee, or ask a video question.

All sorts of content. And I think that makes it very entertaining and people would feel really honored to be able to be invited, to provide just, you know, a five second, 22nd clip into your event.

MichelleGarrison: Okay. One fun thing as well is a lipsync video where you give all of your attendees a song that they can lip sync to.

And we’ve seen some really fun things done where. Clipping it, there have different clips of people in the event that are singing and dancing to the song.

StuSwineford: Yeah. You could have a three minute song and show, you know, 60 different people doing their little version of that, of that lip sync. I think that sounds really cool.

How you could, you could cut that together. Yeah. That that

DanielMoss: happened at an AFL CIO conference. And I thought that was one of the most inspiring part.

StuSwineford: Yeah, that sounds amazing. Actually, I’ve just picked her again. If I had, it sounds, sounds just incredible. Actually, in that case, they,

DanielMoss: they not only took like a popular pop song, but they rewrote the words a bit to be more meaningful for the cause.

It was like very similar. And then they had all these women sing about it and it was, it was, it was so it was not only fun, but it was really inspiring because the tweaking of the way.

StuSwineford: Yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. What other, w you’ve mentioned kind of interactivity and getting people engaged in the event.

So I’m envisioning, you know, I’m sitting at home watching this event on my computer, you know, what, what are some of the things that, that do bring that interactivity, that remote interactivity to, to a hybrid or a, or a remote event? What are some of the things that you’ve seen work really?

MichelleGarrison: Yeah. So it really depends on the format because sometimes you can’t talk to the audience, but other times everybody is on camera and for the interactive part, being, getting as many people on camera as possible is always a good thing.

I mean, maybe not always that I’m sure there’s circumstances where it’s not usually a good thing and, and, and also. Not being afraid to experiment a little bit with that format and have people unmute to cheer or dance together or. You know, give people shout outs if they’re, if they’re excited about something.

So there’s a lot of engagement that can happen there, but also just calling people out to put a word in the chat or what they’re experiencing or, or questions that they might have. And then taking it to the next level of. Up leveling the breakouts and really in enrolling them into the breakout before sending them into the breakout, making sure we’re very clear about what’s going to happen once they get shot into this, into the, the digital ethers.

And they’re sitting there with another person and it’s very common. If there hasn’t been any. Explanation beforehand for somebody to get dropped into that environment and not quite know what to do and feel a sense of confusion. Bringing that more clarity before sending people in. And then when they come back out, allowing people to share what they experienced in that breakout, instead of just jumping right into the next thing, I think we, we tend to move on too quickly from one transition to the next in virtual, but that space is really important to allow people to participate.

DanielMoss: And getting creative about the types of breakouts that you’re doing and how often. So. A lot of times, people are just defaulting to presentation content with Q and a, but that’s not what Michelle is talking about here. She’s talking about give people a question to discuss in a small group, 2, 4, 5, 6 people.

Something juicy, right? Like we’re in a workshop environment here, not just a presentation style or a training, and we’re saying discuss your, how you’ve handled this challenge. Or here’s a challenge, brainstorm a creative idea about how to handle that. You have three minutes and we want everybody to take.

30 seconds. Share your top tip, and then we’re going to come back. And if you like, you can share your, some, a summary of your groups, things with the whole group, and then let’s brainstorm that even further. Okay. Here are the greatest ideas. Let let’s all vote on these or something. Now we have a takeaway, right?

So giving a focus to your breakout, your breakout rooms within a session that they have a challenge to that, and they know that they’re valued, right? Their input, we call it crowdsourcing. So we’re like, we want to pull on you. You are experts at this event. You’ve been living this. So tell us, you know, like we’re going to use this content to, to create some best practices guide or to share back to you.

And I think, again, people get, feel very valued. They feel very, they want to be seen and heard and contribute and not only learn.

StuSwineford: Right, right. So at the end of the day an organization that’s doing a you know, any event is, is probably looking to drive some kind of engagement or, or revenue or donations, or what have you, from that event, what are some of the tools that you have tools or, or, or ways to foster those donations?

You know, in an in-person event, I’ve seen some really fun, interactive. Interactive ways to to get people to engage in in, in a, in a donation, like in a group donation, capacity, like paddle raises and things of that nature, but what, what are some of the ways that you’ve seen and have helped nonprofits do that in a virtual.

Virtual space.

DanielMoss: Great. First of all, to be honest, most of the donations that have been raised have been in advance of the live event, right? So it’s a lot about the relationship building with and, and then the live event portion is often honoring the people who given around the. The campaign of that event with naming visibility, maybe even letting them speak or logos if it’s sponsors, but then the live event donation is also very important, right?

We’ve done reverse auctions, where you say, I’m looking for $3,000 to meet this specific need, who here would be willing to, to, to reach that we’ve done auctions, where you’re collecting the items and you’ve got the virtual auction that people can click around. For that on. If you’re on a budget, obviously you’re going to want to ask your members, your supporters, who can donate services as well as goods.

Things like some things that worked really well at auctions, we’ve seen are like vacation rentals, right? If somebody has a second property and they could share that for a night or a week or workshops, they have professional skills, they offer those trainings to members and it doesn’t have to be.

Super focused even on the, on the theme, as long as it’s valuable to people. And then there’s just the direct donation asks. So for that, we like to screen share the latest donors and the total donation amounts next to the Vive speaker, as they’re asking. We’re just throughout the event, maybe it’s a thermometer, et cetera.

Text to give can be very useful, depending like if you’re live streaming your event to YouTube or Facebook, then text to give could be especially valuable because they’re not on your website. Or if you think there’ll be joining from a mobile. So yeah, lots of different options there. If you’re on a budget and you want to do, like I say, the simplest type of a virtual fundraiser, two little tech tips, you could look at pledge Ling.

So this is integrated into zoom and it enables pretty much any, don’t a nonprofit to have other people host fundraiser events for you. So if you have a big audience that may want to do that, or just for yourself, that makes it very easy. Or give butter would be a free, very simple fundraising platform that allows a lot of these things.

There’s plenty of other platforms, but you know, those are two tools that you can use at no cost to put together some of the methods that I just mentioned, and then you could call it an agency like Wayne Goliath, if you want to Uplevel the production value and the promotion and all of that.

StuSwineford: Yeah, that’s amazing.

You know, there’s so many tools out there but it’s always good to hear what you have seen work effectively particularly those that are, that are lower or, or, you know, zero costs. So I know that that my audience is certainly going to appreciate that. So I I’ve just really enjoyed our conversation.

I’ve learned a lot. I’m excited to share this with everybody. I think that, that, you know, events have been, like I’ve said the, kind of the bread and butter for fundraising for a lot of organizations for many, many years. And in this new era of, of uncertainty. In-person events. It’s great to have you know, tools and assets and partners who can help you pull off you know, a virtual or hybrid event.

And I would say that, that you two at we in Goliath would definitely be people to, to chat with. If if you’re exploring doing a a virtual event, how can people find out more about, about you and your services and getting. Oh,

DanielMoss: thanks so much, Stu you can visit [email protected], w E N D G O L I a T H.

So, and by the way, we’ve, we’ve got your Slingshot is our metaphor or line, right? So like, if you’re curious about the name is like, we can’t all be David on our own, right. Let us help. Take tackle your giant goals with, with the skills and tools. But so we am goliath.com and you can reach out and ask us for a virtual event strategy session.

Like I mentioned before, we’ll brainstorm your goals, needs tips, tools, whatever you want to discuss. And if you’d like a quote, happy to send.

StuSwineford: That is awesome. I really appreciate you both being on the show today. It was so fun talking with you and I love talking, but I also like action and I really am hoping to inspire people to take action.

While listening to the show if there was anything that you wanted people to do to make the world a better place either through events or just you know, in their daily life, after listening to the show, what would you ask them? Wow.

MichelleGarrison: That’s a big question.

DanielMoss: I think one thing that we talk about a lot that we’d love to see nonprofits do more of is create coalitions, right?

We all have our own important causes. Like whether that’s down to the nonprofit level or the whole. Category of a, of an issue we’re working on, right? Whether it’s environmental, economic, social justice, et cetera, but teaming up more with, with people in your space and across spaces because these causes are so interconnected and we need to be supporting each other sharing ideas, but also cross promoting supporting each other’s causes, getting.

Our supporters to, to become cross supporters. And I’ll give an inspiring video recommendation. If you, if you want to hear more about the power of that old video, Paul Hawkin called from Bioneers, I think it’s called the other superpower. And he shared how, if all of these nonprofits and causes around the world were to team up, they would be even more powerful than the larger.

You know, then the U S military, right? They are the most right. There’s hundreds of thousands of non-profits out there. And we were unstoppable if we all team

MichelleGarrison: up and I’ll add to that, but it’s one of the, or if not, the main reason why we are so focused on empowering virtual, because we see the power in efficiency that, that this brings to the table and we’ve had.

Events with over a hundred countries that show up to discuss really important issues and creating policy together. And so we’re super excited about the, what we have at the, at our fingertips right now, all of us and the way that we can easily now communicate with each other and get things done much quicker.

StuSwineford: I love it. I mean, we are clear across the country almost from you guys, at least halfway across the country and able to have a great show. Like this is something that, that, you know, would have been a bigger challenge, you know, 15, 20 years ago. So yeah, embracing that bracing that virtual opportunity.

And I love the coalition building. I think that, that Yeah, that it’s that old adage of, of high tides raise all boats, I think is how that’s stated. So I think if we can all play really well together and, and create those partnerships that we’re all going to win. Thank you both. So very much for being on the show today, I had a really fun time talking with you and.

Really excited to to learn more about what you’re doing and follow, follow your growth and how you’re helping nonprofits thrive. Thanks for being on the show.

DanielMoss: Thanks so much. See, let’s do be well and good luck everybody out there. Hope to hear from you and happy to support

StuSwineford: you. All right. Thanks guys.

And there you have it. Another great episode of relish this. Thanks again for listening, you can find past episodes of the [email protected] And remember if you liked what you heard today, please subscribe and leave a review. Wherever you listen to podcasts. For more information on purpose marketing, grab your free copy of my book.

Mission uncomfortable. How nonprofits can embrace purpose driven marketing to survive and thrive. Get your copy [email protected] Thanks again for listening. Come back next week. Won’t ya.