Planning a Virtual Fundraising Event? See how Greater Giving can help. LEARN MORE »

What is a Hybrid Fundraising Event?

A Hybrid Event brings the best of a virtual event and a traditional in-person charity event into one integrated fundraising event—engaging supporters from wherever they are. These events can come in many different forms, customized to your audience’s needs. It is the best of both worlds—there is no one right way to plan a hybrid event!

Why Hybrid Events?

The onset of COVID-19—and the resulting restrictions on large gatherings—forced many nonprofits to cancel or postpone their in-person fundraising events in 2020. With technology largely in place, nonprofits saw an all-digital event as a natural transition to fundraising—and so the Virtual Event was born.

Some organizations live-streamed a program that guests could watch and participate in from a computer or mobile device. Others pre-recorded their program to minimize the possibility of technical interruptions, and peppered in live fund-a-need broadcast. Nonprofits utilized online auctions, donation appeals and interactive activities to try to fill the space that signature fundraising events left behind in the pandemic.

A recent nonprofit fundraising study showed that the majority of nonprofits that hosted a virtual event saw an increase in new donor attendance. With the possibility of in-person gatherings on the horizon, we stand on the precipice of change. How can you maintain the incredible energy of online, purely virtual events in the future? That’s where hybrid fundraising come in.

What Should My Hybrid Event Look Like?

Every hybrid fundraiser is tailored to the organization holding it! You know your audience better than anyone—find out what they liked, and what they want to see moving forward, and tailor your event experience to their needs. Start out by asking your most important donors what they want in a future fundraising event. This will tell you so much!

  • If you held a virtual event last year, what did they like? What didn't they like?
  • Try to get an idea of how many guests will be willing to attend in-person, and how many would like to continue attending virtually/online.
  • Where will you hold your event? What are the restrictions and advantages of the venue?

Make sure your preferred venue will allow hybrid event integration! Check that your venue has enough space for the additional equipment and personnel. If you plan to stream your live event for guests watching from home, you’ll want a reliable, high-speed internet connection that’s thoroughly tested beforehand so your stream isn’t interrupted. Find a production team with experience and know-how in recording and broadcasting an event online.

TIP: Wired internet connections are ideal for broadcasting a live event, as they tend to be more reliable and offer higher upload speeds for better quality video for your guests.

Most nonprofits already have the technology and expertise to host a hybrid event! Nonprofit organizations have been holding hybrid fundraising events for years—we just didn’t call them that! Any fundraiser that combines in-person and online elements is a “hybrid event.” These event formats are probably familiar to you:

  • LIVE AUCTION with REMOTE BIDDING: A live fundraising gala where guests can preview auction items before the event begins and place their initial bids. Most fundraisers that utilize mobile bidding also allow bidders who aren’t physically present to participate in the auction, allowing even more competition for auction items—and driving higher fundraising.
  • PEER-TO-PEER FUNDRAISING leading up to an “A-THON”: In an “a-thon” style fundraiser, participants fundraise for the cause on their own—usually with an online donation page—leading up to a run, walk, or other outdoor event. When the participant successfully completes the course, their collected funds are donated to the nonprofit, encouraging friendly competition among the fundraisers and giving all the participants a personal stake in fundraising.

Now, nonprofits have discovered dozens of exciting new ways to engage guests from near and far. They are getting more creative than ever, combining elements of traditional and virtual events to suit their audience and specific fundraising needs.

To help nonprofit organizations design their own perfect hybrid event, we’ve put together a few event formats that can be tailored and adjusted to your needs, audience, and technological capabilities!

  2. This format has plenty of flexibility to include any proportion of in-person guests and online guests. It is truly accessible to everyone, because remote attendees can participate in the auction, donate in the live appeal, and watch the same show over the stream as live attendees are seeing. It’s perfect for audiences who aren’t quite ready to assemble in person in large groups, but allows VIPs, major donors, and other guests who are comfortable to get together and socialize during the show.

  4. A capital campaign is the perfect fundraiser because it can be customized for any organization, any time frame, and any cause. Typically, a capital campaign focuses on a single, tangible goal, such as funding a new addition or program, and runs over a period from a few months to a few years.

    Pair your capital campaign with an in-person launch event to celebrate your major donors, and secure their commitments to the campaign. Alternatively, bring everyone together at the end of a successful capital campaign to honor those who participated and donated, and show off successfully reaching your fundraising goal.

  6. With so many causes competing for donors’ attention, how can you make yours stand out and really engage your supporter base?

    Design and run a social media contest built around fun! People love to compete, almost as much as they love to win, and doing it over social media means more eyes on your nonprofit. Base the competition around peer-to-peer fundraising, or a non-monetary metric that directly involves your cause. A dog shelter could run a “feed a dog for a week” drive, where supporters compete to see who can raise the most money from their Facebook friends—and whoever feed the most dogs wins.

    To really incentivize the competition, cap your social media campaign with an exclusive in-person dinner event for the winners!

  8. The golf tournament is a perfect summer option for socially-distanced fundraising! Display your auction items in a tent where everyone participating in the tournament can check them out, then bid from their mobile devices as they play through the course.

    Open your auction to remote guests who can’t attend the event for even more bids! This type of event typically doesn’t call for a broadcast or livestream, as there isn’t a formal program, and works great for mostly in-person guests—with room for guests of guests and remote bidders to participate in the auction.

    Substitute golf with any other outdoor event! Try hosting a garden party, a rodeo, a carnival, or a chili cook-off to accompany your auction.

As safety guidelines evolve, these event formats present simple and scalable solutions to increasing the size of in-person gatherings, while offering online participation to those guests who cannot or choose not to attend.

[READ] The Hybrid Fundraising Event

The Hybrid Fundraising Event | Article

Hybrid events will take on many forms, just as every nonprofit has their own unique approach to fundraising... Read More

[WATCH] Virtual Fundraising Hosting, Technology, and Streaming—A Live Panel and Q&A


You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! We’re partnering up with live streaming and virtual fundraising event gurus...


Check out our blog post, “How to Engage Guests at Home” for great ideas on how to engage both in-person and virtual attendees, and ways to leverage the dual-audience concept into fun games and great entertainment for everyone!

How Do I Hold a Hybrid Event? How Does It Work?

Hybrid fundraising events are what everyone's talking about now, but what exactly is a hybrid event and how do you manage all the details? Like any fundraiser, a hybrid event is individual to each organization, yet at the core, it is a combination of a live and virtual event. To pull off a hybrid event with flying colors, you'll want to be organized every step of the way and have the right technology and professionals in place. Get started with our Virtual Event Guide and Auction Planner!

Virtual Fundraising Event Guide Download[DOWNLOAD] The Complete Virtual Gala Guide

This comprehensive digital guide is the perfect place to start (or supplement) your virtual fundraising journey. We worked with nonprofits and industry professionals to bring you insight you can really use.

Auction Planner Download[DOWNLOAD] The Original Fundraising Auction Planner

Everything you need to make your next fundraising event your best event! We're divulging knowledge and experience gained from tens of thousands of events in one, easy to follow guide!

Our Virtual/Hybrid Event Package comes with everything you will need to successfully run a virtual or hybrid event—from the platform itself to the consulting, training, content and service our Customer Success team provides.

  • Device Friendly: Online Bidding via tablet, mobile, and PC
  • Advanced Bidding Features: Outbid notifications, Max Bidding options, Multi-Sale opportunities, Watch List, Bidding Dial and more
  • Online Bidding Dashboard: Real Time Stats, Texts, Emails
  • Virtual Fund-A-Need: Engaging, visual, real-time name recognition and fundraising updates—customizable for your strategy
  • Livestream Display: Livestream and post videos directly on your Online Bidding site using Vimeo, YouTube, or Facebook. Streaming video in the Engagement Center all happens as your supporters watch the goal thermometer rise
  • Display Boards: “Best in Class” Fundraising Thermometer and Auction Boards, customizable colors and fonts, motion centric graphics, branding and sponsor friendly
  • Event Management Software: Item and package creation, donor, bidder, and sponsor database, thank you and solicitation letters, auto receipts, reports, and data
  • Customer Success: Personalized onboarding, on-demand training, virtual auction resource center, how-to and best practice guides, phone, email, chat support, and 24-hour day/night of event support

[DOWNLOAD] Virtual/Hybrid Event Package Datasheet

Virtual Event Package Datasheet | Greater Giving

Our experts can consult with you to figure out what mix of fundraising makes the most sense for your organization. Or, if you know what you are looking for, we can answer any questions regarding features, implementation or best practices.

We would love to learn more about your fundraising efforts and find out how we can help you raise more and stress less. From the planning stages, to event night, to reconciliation, Greater Giving offers a complete end-to-end solution—resulting in increased revenue for your organization.

And, all of our products and services come with unparalleled support. Our Client Services team provides unlimited support with live training classes, videos and online help—available for questions by phone, email, and live chat. We’re here for you through every phase of your event.