Best Advice for Making Peer-to-Peer Hybrid Events Successful in 2021 and Beyond?
NonProfit PRO asked three of its board members for their best advice on peer-to-peer hybrid events. Here's how to make peer-to-peer hybrid events successful in 2021 and and beyond from Sue Citro, chief experience officer for Best Friends Animal Society; Nick Ellinger, chief brand officer at Moore; and Peter Panepento, philanthropic practice leader at Turn Two Communications.
Peer-to-peer hybrid events offer the chance for added creativity and fun. Focus your strategy around answering how you'll engage both audiences, those in person and those online. Ask yourself: What do both audiences get the same way? What does each audience get that's unique to their environment? And how will you offer opportunities for both audiences to connect and engage together? Believe it or not, providing authentic engagement opportunities for each of those scenarios may leave you wanting to do hybrid events exclusively going forward because of how they extend the reach of your event to include more.
Plan for after, before [the event]. Event participants and donors are notoriously difficult to retain. Strong post-event experiences, including an introduction to the organization [since the supporter] may have been giving more on behalf of a friend than to the cause, can help get a second chance from these potential supporters. Co-op modeling and enhanced merge-purge strategies can also tell you who among the loosely affiliated event donors are supporters of other organizations and thus more likely to stick with you. A smart retention operation can increase donor lifetime values and make sure you don’t have to start from zero next year.
Hybrid campaigns give nonprofits more options to connect with their supporters beyond event day. Nonprofits that create meaningful touch points throughout the year — through things like virtual gatherings, challenges and contests — can raise more money and build deeper relationships that extend well beyond a single event. Hybrid isn't going away — and it's giving organizations a chance to get creative and test new concepts that build stronger bonds and raise more money year-round.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 print edition of NonProfit PRO as “Member Spotlight.” Click here to subscribe.
Sue Citro is the chief experience officer at Best Friends Animal Society and is responsible for how the development, digital, marketing communications and brand experience teams collaborate and work in new ways to bring more people into Best Friends’ lifesaving work. Before joining Best Friends, Sue led new digital expansions for The Nature Conservancy in Asia and Latin America. She started her career working at Peace Corps headquarters, followed by time at a direct mail agency and then consulting in the digital fundraising space with nonprofits large and small.
Sue holds a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Jeremy, and 103 lb. rescued dog, "Little" Luca.
Nick Ellinger joined the Moore, where he works to increase the automation and customization of fundraising as chief brand officer, in January 2020. Before that, he was DonorVoice’s vice president of marketing strategy, working with organizations like Catholic Relief Services, Share our Strength | No Kid Hungry, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation to look at their fundraising with a different lens. He developed his direct fundraising muscle running Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s direct marketing program for a decade. He’s also the author of "The New Nonprofit" to challenge fundraising norms.