ESC’s Guide to How to Conduct an Online Event
List Your Event on Event Site
After years of trying a wide variety of online ticketing sites that promise to integrate with our donor management system, we discovered that they all seemed to only sync with the yells of frustration from our development team. As a result, since we recommend using an event site, we recommend either BrownPaperTickets.org or EventBrite.com for our events. Online event sites work well for both online and in person events because they help locals find you, provide automated email reminders, click to import events for your online calendar, and online ticket, sponsorship, and donation processing.
Location, Location, Location
Make your location both “online” or “remote” and include the city from which you will be filming or broadcasting. That way people searching for events in a particular location will find it. It puts your event in local searches.
Quality videos can be made on most smart phones so purchasing a video camera is not required. We highly recommend you carefully review ESC's video conference best practices.
We recommend that you proofread scripts and rehearse. It is especially important that you do a technical rehearsal to make sure you are able to record and play back audio.
While you are welcome to use jargon and slang in your remarks, you should avoid acronyms or abbreviations. For those who don’t use them routinely they create a pause in comprehension.
We also recommend that you avoid swearing. Salty language offends some viewers and might restrict who is able to see a video of the event online afterward due to content blockers.
If your event is live on a video platform, make sure that the “host” is well trained in managing it. As the live producer of a live show, the host should take time to ensure that the setting only allows them to share their screen. Many platforms allow you to have two hosts. If you have a large audience, sharing hosting duties might serve you well.
Thank people for coming at the beginning and end just as you would if they came to an in-person event.
Plan ways throughout the program that live or post-filming viewers can participate. This participation should not just be by donating or purchasing something, but by having other meaningful calls to action as well.
Opting into Recordings
Make sure that if you are recording presenters or participants that they opt into being recorded in writing.
After filming, either live or in advance, plan a chat with the organizing committee to discuss successes and opportunities to improve next time.
Captions and Headings
In your post-production video we recommend that you include headings and titles. If you are able to provide captions, they are useful too. If you cannot afford or don’t have the technical capabilities to do captions, then a text transcription of the video is a free alternative.
Upload the Video
In addition to placing your video on your website and posting it in social media, we recommend that you host it on an external channel such as YouTube. There you can set up if you want it to be public, private, or semi-private.
Alert your stakeholders to the online event before, during, and afterward. If you’re posting the edited video somewhere that the public can access it, then we recommend including the link in a newsletter, social media posts, on your website, and in a press release.
After the video is shared, consider if you can survey participants. If so that data can be helpful in improving next time. Learn from the feedback of organizers, supporters, those who actively participated, and those who opted out. Your next online event will be even better for it.
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