Is an Educational Webinar in Your Future?
Prior to the COVID-19, I worked from home on a very infrequent basis. When I was ordered to work from home in the last few months, I created a routine. Part of my new routine was the ability to spend quality time on the computer for work and spend my lunch hour engaged in a webinar for the sake of learning.
I found myself wanting to attend or participate in several webinars on wide-ranging topics. I noted that many people who typically would not attend webinars began engaging in large numbers.
Webinars make it easy to remember material, understand practical skills and allow for personal interaction. It takes effort to prepare, and it is as perfect due to its live nature. It typically has a smaller audience that relates to the topic being covered.
ClickMeeting notes that webinars are the ideal method for nonprofit organizations to organize and convey information without having to incur the high costs of travel or educational materials. Webinars can be an ideal way to communicate with donors, volunteers and staff for training, education, fundraising and charitable program development.
According to ClickMeeting, key elements to conduct the best webinars for nonprofits include a team consisting of an organizer, assistant and presenter.
- Organizer: Responsible for coordinating the event and handling all details of the event. The person develops content and finds a suitable speaker, plus promotes the event.
- Assistant: Deals with technical issues and Q&A questions that come from the audience. They work with the presenter and facilitator by answering inquiries.
- Presenter: Person conducting the presentation and who prepares the webinar materials. They deal with elements of the presentation to make it engaging.
Convince and Convert notes that besides the importance of having a solid team, you must decide on the webinar format. Four types of webinar formats include a single speaker, used if you have a small audience; interview format, which involves a speaker and a subject matter experts; moderated panel discussion, which involves a moderator and panel; and Q&A format, a format where the audience asks questions, typically in advance of the event, to keep webinar time limits in perspective.
If you are creating a webinar, besides having a team and format, you must plan visuals and select a webinar solution such as Zoom, GotoWebinar, BigMarker, Adobe Connect, WebEx, ClickMeeting, etc. You need to set up the right equipment, space and publicize, plus promote the webinar. You need to use social media sites to spread the word. According to Convince and Convert, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally the best days for promoting a webinar, either at 10 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. Make sure you choose an interesting topic, and if possible, practice the webinar and follow up with attendees.
The Nonprofit Hub states that if you are involved in the nonprofit world and have not been to any good webinars, you are missing out! Webinars are a low-cost, high-impact way to reach hundreds of individuals and provide education. Where else can you receive quality education in the comfort of your own home or office?
Webinars typically run one hour in length. A high-quality webinar must provide:
- Unprecedented access to a respected nonprofit authority.
- Demonstrate new, useful concepts in an easy to learn format.
- Compress a complex and dense field of information quickly.
I am scheduled to present two webinars and watch several next month on topics related to my field and personal interest. I have enjoyed my webinar experiences, as it seems the smaller the size of the webinar, the more I was asked to participate. Colleagues want and need your expertise, knowledge and opinions on timely topics, especially where many answers are needed and welcomed.
With a shift of importance to online education for college certifications and degrees, the webinar focus is here to stay. I strongly suggest taking advantage of it, both in terms of witnessing and presenting a webinar in your area of expertise. In most cases, you cannot beat the price and comfort of viewing location.
Is a webinar in your future?
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.