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Hybrid Events

What is a hybrid event? Simply put, one that includes both in-person and virtual elements. They range widely, but share some similarities and concerns. 


Why Hybrid?

Why include a virtual element even if you have the go-ahead for in person? A few good reasons:

  • Maximize potential participation. With reduced travel and varying levels of comfort engaging in group activities, not everyone will be able to make it to a live event. Give them an option to stay involved via a virtual event.
  • Maximum flexibility. The future is still uncertain. Starting with a virtual option makes it easier to transition to a fully virtual event should the circumstances require it.

Coordinate with Your Event Management Company or Timer

If you're planning to do any sort of modified in-person element, any event management company or timer will be key. Make sure you talk through your plan with them thoroughly - and get their advice - before you put it into action. Timers work with many nonprofits, and can also manage your virtual results as well as shipping and fulfillment.


Time Slots and Participation Caps

For any in-person event determine the maximum number of people that can be socially distanced at one time and how many shifts you can host. Then you can use GiveSignup's tools to set up time slots and control the number of people who register or buy tickets for each time slot.

If you are doing a run/walk/ride, there are many ways your can modify the start and flow of your event to increase social distancing include:

  • Open, rolling start (start anytime in a 5 hour period)
  • Flexible wave start (break runners into waves, and then allow them to start anytime within their 15-30 minute wave time)
  • Pre-assigned wave start (specific start times for each runner)
  • Corrals can help assign and manage waves. You'll find this feature at RaceDay Tools >> Corrals >> Set Up Corrals
  • Most races will keep the results separate for in-person and virtual events, especially if awards are offered. 

For a socially distanced ticket event, GiveSignup's modern platform offers you multiple ways to host a socially distanced event:

  • Ticket grouping to cleanly display available timeslots
  • Flexible ticket caps
  • Free email to communicate last-minute changes to your ticket holders

Participant Management Considerations

Making it easy for participants to switch between in-person and virtual options (as long as in-person caps allow) gives your participants peace of mind and makes them more likely to register in advance.

  • When possible, budget both options to be the same cost, allowing participants to seamlessly swap between the two. For a typical 5K, the costs can naturally be relatively similar when you eliminate some scalable in-person costs (fewer porta-potties, less food, etc.) and add in the cost of shipping.
  • Allow event transfers to let people sign up for in-person, but change if they can no longer travel, etc.
  • Be clear about your refund policy. If you can't offer refunds in the event of a move to virtual explain what the options will be (transfer to virtual, deferral, etc).
  • The more flexible you are able to be, the more likely participants will be to register.
  • Expect late registrations. Participants have always been procrastinators, but that appears to be especially true now.


Additional Resources for Hybrid Events

GoVirtual Hub for best practices and setup guides for any virtual elements of your event
How-to Setup Virtual Results for the virtual element of your event
Find a Timer to help with scoring both the in-person and virtual components of your event, as well as swag, shipping, and fulfillment
Looking Forward Guidelines with suggestions for safety modifications for in-person events
Communicating with Local Government Officials for insight from timers on how to work with your local officials.

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