01 December 2021
Events are a great way for your church to reach out to the community, bring people together and raise important funds during the festive season. But this Christmas, many people may not feel comfortable, or may not be able, to meet in large groups.
Combining in-person and virtual events, hybrid fundraising can help bring everyone in your community together - whether they are in your church building or not.
Key steps to plan a hybrid fundraising event:
1. Choose your event
For hybrid events, your activity should be something people can engage with both in person and online. A sledging competition wouldn't be very easy to join in with from your sofa! Make sure your event will work for both audiences - keeping it simple is often best. The list of ideas on the next page can help provide some inspiration.
2. Get your digital technology ready
It is helpful to focus on the digital element of the event first. You will need to use a streaming platform, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Live or YouTube, so people can watch and participate from home. Set up a camera, laptop or smartphone in your church building in a spot with good audio and a clear view.
You will also need to set up an online giving platform, to receive donations from virtual attendees during the event. There are a variety of providers available and it’s important to do the research to find the best on for your church.
3. Check any regulations
Always check regulations and rules around your fundraising and events, especially running a raffle or lottery. More guidance can be found at the fundraising regulator
4. Send out invites
Publicise your event using all routes possible including emails, newsletters, posters, local press, community groups and social media. Social media is great way to spread the word about your fundraising and reach a wider audience, especially if you include pictures.
5. Test the tech!
Make sure to test any digital technology you will be using before the event starts. It can be helpful to start a WhatsApp group or have email addresses for online participants so they can let you know of any technical difficulties.
6. Follow up
A positive of hybrid events is that a video recording will be produced to look back on and share. Sending out a video or photos after the event can help reinforce your fundraising message. Make sure to thank everyone who came and let them know where their donations will be going.
Hybrid Festive Fundraising Ideas
Wreath Making Workshop
Could any keen crafts people in your church run a class to make a Christmas wreath? Set a price for the workshop and sell tickets beforehand. To make this event hybrid, you can offer people the option to join from home. For this, you will need to post out the materials needed or a shopping list sufficiently in advance, then stream the workshop live using a video sharing platform.
Festive Fun Run
A sponsored run, walk or jog is a great way to raise funds, and can be especially popular in the period between Christmas and New Year. As well as the opportunity to run or walk together at the event, people could also participate by doing the distance alone in their own time. Make sure to take photos and ask those participating virtually to send in a snap too. The running app Strava now also allows users to link their profile to charitable causes.
You could stream a live concert of carol singers or a music performance. Invite your church and community to watch in person or online, and encourage them to give when they watch, by providing information on how they can donate.
Christmas Cheese Night!
Cheese can certainly be enjoyed at home, as well as at an event! To host a hybrid Cheese tasting night, deliver the goodies to any virtual participants before the event. There are companies who deliver pre-made packages or you can pull together a homemade bundle. Then stream the event using a video sharing platform.
Could you put on a talk about your church's history in exchange for donations? People can listen either in person or via a live-stream, where you the speaker is recorded and broadcast live via a platform such as Zoom or Facebook Live. As well as raising funds, this can be an interesting way for your community to learn more about the church.
Quizzes are a popular way to connect with friends and the community. You could host a quiz and give teams the option to take part in your building or compete online via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Ask people to make a small donation to take part. Including seasonal rounds like 'Guess the Little Angel baby photos or 'Events of 2021' can add extra fun. Having slides that you share with people at home and in person is very useful.