Avoiding event fatigue is the first step to engaging your donors effectively. Read on to find out how you can better engage your audience during virtual events.

Virtual fatigue sounds familiar?

If yes, then you may also know that long-drawn out online events are a culprit for low energy levels and dipped emotions at the end of the day.

So, why do virtual environments take a toll?

Experts point out a few possible explanations.

An article by National Geographic reveals that besides words, the human brain needs non-verbal cues such as eye contact and hand gestures for holistic communication.

Unfortunately, audio-video interactions deprive us of a full sensory experience. More so, because online communication has a 1.2 seconds delay (even with decent internet streaming), it can signal our brain that the other person is less focused or unfriendly.

Did you know that zoom meetings may lead to hyper self-awareness and self-consciousness? This is caused due to the effect of viewing our mirrored image (and actions) while interacting with others. And don’t forget about social anxiety, since not everyone wants to open up their personal spaces in professional contexts.

Coping with virtual stress

Covid-19 has compelled nonprofits to switch to online fundraisers. The best way to reduce virtual fatigue for your participants and team members is to ensure that your events turn out to be fun, engaging, and at the same time, productive.

Here’s what you can do to create an incredible experience for your audience and have them undergo less tech exhaustion.

1.Get creative with your content plan

Give your attendees different forms of content before the event date. Send short videos or podcasts that they can listen to in their own free time. This pre-engagement initiative will draw better networking opportunities for them and you.

Here’s an example: Before their live streaming, Summit Dogs let their potential audience consume campaign videos and information to draw more people to the page. When they premiered their main program live, it became a huge success

2. Un-Conference your event

Explore new ways for audience interaction by replicating the anti-conference trend in a virtual format. Creating small discussion groups provides scope for all your participants to engage and discuss your cause. Meaningful conversations and fewer presentations will ensure you have all the ears. When people join your event because they want to and not because they ought to, they are less likely to feel drained at the end of it.

Click here for some extra tips on Un-Conferencing!

3. Unlock the full potential of your social community

Actively leveraging your social media helps reduce virtual fatigue (in the long run) in two ways. One, your attendees can interact and make connections with your nonprofit and with other members (including sponsors and influencers) well before the event. Two, through your online community engagement, they will find your cause more relatable and will be eager to spend time at your event.

For example, when Faith in Action strategized their year-end campaign, they used the power of social. They created unique hashtags and engaged sponsors, volunteers, and donors before the charity day.

4. Change the game- literally!

Does the Gauntlet fundraising tournament excite you? Then you would be happy to know that gaming based virtual events have been a recent trendsetter. For nonprofits, gaming fundraisers are an exciting new opportunity. Here, gamers raise money for charity by live streaming video game tournaments.

Gamefly, or Twitch are some great options to engage your participants in a great gaming experience. You can also check out Jackbox and use games as quick energizers in between sessions.

5. Create better virtual experiences

Fatigue grows when boredom sets in. But an incredible virtual experience can make your events a whole lot better. How about giving your attendees a long-longed opportunity to run into old friends or meet new people in the Virtual Hallway? Create a hallway experience for them with virtual hallways, lounges, and tables that are open throughout your fundraising event so they can socialize.

The checklist for reducing online fatigue can be endless and every nonprofit is looking for innovative ways to give donors the best experience and reasons to stay committed. For more insights on hosting your events, check out our blog on executing virtual events.

We would be happy to hear from you. Comment below with some of the resilience tips your organization is adopting to combat virtual fatigue in these difficult times.