FAQs of VLG's (Virtual Live Galas)
You've got questions (lots of them) and I've got answers.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions.
What is a Virtual Live Gala (VLG)?
A VLG is any fundraising event that takes place using some sort of internet technology, either live or pre-recorded, to engage community members at a distance.
Why should we hold a VLG instead of cancel or reschedule our event?
While these current times are certainly unique, the answer to the question “why hold a VLG” is similar to when we ask why we would hold a traditional event. It’s a three-part answer:
To raise money for your organization
To gather community and encourage connection and fun
To share and inform about your organization’s mission/vision/purpose.
These three factors are still vitally important--perhaps even more vital. Your organization’s funding needs have likely increased. Everyone is feeling disconnected due to Social/Physical Distancing and holding a virtual event expands the possible reach for you to transmit mission-related messaging.
Each organization will need to weigh all the factors related to canceling or rescheduling. Things like:
deposits for vendors and venues,
coordinating all aspects on a future date,
uncertainty about what the future holds (when can we gather again?),
Ensuring board members or key donors will be available on a future date.
How long is a VLG and what does it look like?
The key components of the VLG should take about 60-90 minutes and include:
Welcome, review of tech, how viewers can get assistance if needed
Messaging from key organizational representative
Engagement activities, entertainment, keynote, etc.
Some VLGs have simultaneous online auctions, though the open and close dates and times will vary between organizations. Some VLGs are pre-recorded, some take place via “live-casting” on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook Live or using webinar software and some use Zoom or other group-meeting software.
How do we get people to come to our VLG?
This varies widely, depending on your typical audience for the live event. But the best way to attract people is to really focus on the engagement tactics and make it feel fun and connecting. I also suggest not charging a ticket price (free admission), unless you choose to offer some sort of paid content.
How do we get people to stay for the duration of our VLG?
Move quickly, keep it short and sweet, and use those engagement tactics!
How do we get people to donate at our VLG?
The skills I employ as a live fundraising professional are fully applicable in the virtual space, so using a fundraising professional is key. Inspire, connect, create the call to action.
What technology is required?
The technology you decide on has a lot to do with what you already have in place and what you feel most comfortable with. Each VLG is fully customizable.
What sort of staff/volunteer support will we need for a VLG?
Like a traditional live event, you’ll need to recruit staff and volunteers to support your effort. You’ll likely need someone supporting with the back-end technology and some day-of support for technology as well. I also recommend having 1-2 people handling data (similar to the “Trackers/Recorders” at a live event). Additionally, having someone within the organization take the lead on content is ideal, plus some marketing and communication. But again, each VLG looks a little different.
Will my event be successful?
While auctioneers and fundraising professionals are certainly new in this space, we are seeing trends that suggest you can expect your VLG to be as successful or even more successful than your live event. I certainly can’t guarantee this, but with excellent planning and execution, you will likely see success.