Nonprofits provide services to vulnerable populations in the community, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the services and operations of these organizations. Due to social distancing measures, the pandemic increased the need for technology in the workplace, and the nonprofit sector is no exception.
To further social change, some nonprofit organizations adopted smart technology and are depending on technology more than ever. Smart tech may include artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing, machine learning, smart forms, and chatbots.
Many schools and social service agencies relied heavily on technology to continue operations during the pandemic. Schools shifted to remote learning, food banks used robots for packing meals, fundraising departments deployed AI to identify potential donors, and homeless services agencies provided mental health and legal advice via chatbots.
Implementing a technology plan for nonprofits can mean everything from facilitating hybrid events and remote work to integrating fund accounting software.
Many nonprofits are increasingly relying on technology to host hybrid events. While digital events were crucial for short-term survival, organizations are using them for their long-term success.
What Is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is an event that combines both in-person and virtual attendees. Hosting a hybrid event means everyone can participate, regardless of where they are. Event participants can choose to attend in person, or they can participate remotely through a digital channel, such as video conferencing or virtual event booths. This flexibility is why so many nonprofit organizations choose to incorporate hybrid events in their programming.
A hybrid event allows you to engage attendees and deliver a consistent experience for everyone, often preferred over an event that prioritizes a live audience over a remote audience or videos on demand sent to the remote audience after the event.
How Hybrid Events Work
A hybrid event aims to allow attendees to choose how they participate and offers a consistent experience for each attendee. Though virtual attendees may not be in the same venue as those attending in person, a good hybrid event allows all attendees to directly engage with presenters and other attendees. With the right technology, it won’t matter that all of your attendees aren’t in the same venue.
Since a hybrid event gives every attendee access to the same content and the opportunity to engage with everyone in attendance, remote and in-person attendees can network and make connections via live video or instant message. A hybrid event can work for nearly any situation and any scale, which is why many event organizers plan to continue incorporating hybrid events.
Benefits of a Hybrid Event
Strictly in-person and virtual events can have several advantages and disadvantages. Though many employees are looking forward to a return to in-person events and cutting back on screen time, others prefer to join events remotely for a variety of reasons. As such, hybrid events are the expected future of event marketing because they accommodate both types of people and offer the following benefits:
- Increase the flexibility of events: During this unprecedented time of lockdowns and disruptions, in-person events may need to prepare for last-minute cancelations. The costs can be high when this happens, especially for a nonprofit organization. When you plan a hybrid event instead, you can fall back on the virtual aspect of the event if unforeseen issues arise.
- Improve return on investment: Since hybrid events offer better scalability and reach, you can attract more attendees and improve your return on investment. You can also reduce your organization’s financial risk with greater flexibility, as it’s easier to reduce in-person activities and increase digital reach.
- Gain valuable insights and data: You can access data and insights with hybrid event technology from both your remote and in-person attendees. For example, attendees can provide feedback via surveys or polls through a mobile event app. Analytics solutions also offer data-driven insights that you can use to better understand your attendees and improve your future events.
- Enhance audience engagement: All attendees can engage with other attendees and presenters no matter how they access the event. Virtual attendees can participate in hybrid events by submitting questions to the presenters and commenting on content. Along with connecting to presenters, virtual and in-person attendees can engage with each other.
- Increase accessibility and attendance: A hybrid event allows you to reach more attendees. Location or other barriers cannot limit your attendees as they can access your event from anywhere. Those who want to attend an event but are facing travel constraints, for example, can still attend virtually. Unlike an in-person venue, there is also essentially no limit on how many virtual attendees your event can host, allowing you to reach a greater number of people by making your event hybrid.
- Reduce the environmental impact of your organizations’ events: One of the only positive aspects of the pandemic is the reduced environmental impact of travel. By hosting hybrid events, you can reduce the environmental impact of your events. Face-to-face events and meetings will always have their place, but incorporating virtual space reduces the amount of travel needed for the event and the impact on the environment.
Remote Work and Increased Efficiency
In order to accomplish their goals, organizations must consider the efficiency of every aspect of their operational management, including fundraising, training, projects, payroll, and budgets. As such, many nonprofit organizations are adopting remote work arrangements as the pandemic continues. This shift to more remote work has increased efficiency for nonprofits. Though technology has been integral to these organizations for a long time, the current climate has put technology at the forefront.
We may be able to credit technology with the nonprofit sector’s recent comeback. With the increase in remote work and efficiency, nonprofit organizations increase their productivity, save time with automation, and generate a greater impact from social media strategies. Of course, with an increase in tech use, technology challenges for nonprofits can arise. However, the right software can prevent or solve these issues.
Request a Free Demo of Nonprofit Accounting Software
At MIP Fund Accounting®, our purpose-built, comprehensive software is scalable and configurable for nonprofits. Our trusted solution includes built-in and configurable dashboards and reports. Along with our software, we offer various services designed to help nonprofits manage complex accounting. With more comprehensive financial tracking, your organization can make more informed decisions, operate efficiently, and engage donors.
Since we designed our platform with nonprofits in mind, we can offer everything your organization needs for fund accounting, including accountability, auditing, and reporting requirements.
Request a free demo of MIP Fund Accounting® today to learn more about our nonprofit technology solutions.