The Return to In-Person: Getting the Most out of Nonprofit Events in 2022

Posted by Op4G Staff on Dec 27, 2021 11:49:00 AM

The Return to In Person: Getting the Most out of Nonprofit Events in 2022

With the countdown to 2022 now in full swing, predictions for the new year are popping up everywhere. Many prognosticators, from Bill Gates to Fortune magazine, are cautiously forecasting an end to the “acute phase of the pandemic” and a return to more “normal” times. This is great news for nonprofits—and not just those focused on health. It means that nonprofits can once again start hosting in-person events after almost 2 years of isolation, solitude, and Zoom! In light of this, we’ve tracked down the top tips for organizations hosting in-person events in 2022. 


Follow Local Rules

In the hopes of limiting the spread of COVID, some states and cities still have restrictions for in-person gatherings. Ensure that your nonprofit respects these rules (e.g. by assigning volunteers to monitor participant levels). After all, violating the rules could not only endanger your supporters—it could also result in a hefty fine and potentially negative press. While looking into local COVID rules, take the opportunity to research other bylaws as well, such as environmental and noise ordinances.


Head Outside

In vast portions of the country, outdoor events are possible most—if not all—of the year. These events have long been appealing for numerous reasons: the fresh air, the connection to nature, the open space, and the low venue cost (such as for municipal parks). But now, in the time of COVID, there is an added perk. According to medical experts, “Outdoor transmission of the virus is rare”, accounting for less than 1% of transmission. This means that participants are likely to feel more comfortable with an outdoor event, making it the perfect transition back to in-person gatherings.


Keep Your Distance

As the coronavirus spreads primarily via respiratory droplets (e.g. from coughs and sneezes), social distancing is a key tactic to reduce transmission. The CDC currently recommends staying at least 6 feet away from any person of a different household. In line with this advice, your nonprofit should encourage event participants (through signage and verbal reminders) to maintain a safe distance. Perhaps even more importantly, your nonprofit should also facilitate distancing. Strategies include setting up self-service kiosks in lieu of registration tables, blocking off narrow spaces or creating a “one person in, one person out” system, and using arrows or markings on floors.


Mask Up

In addition to distancing, public health officials continue to endorse mask wearing in indoor public settings and regular hand sanitizing. But two years into the pandemic, people still forget their protective gear from time to time! Help your event participants stay and feel safe by offering free masks and hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). Strategically place these items at entry points and other key spots, such as the bar, coat check, podium, etc. Finally, consider making the masks re-usable and branded (with your logo) so participants can promote your nonprofit in their day-to-day life!


Offer No Touch Giving Options

Whether it is an official fundraising event or not, remember to provide multiple ways for participants to give. Handling money and credit card scanners still unnerves some people, so keep disinfecting wipes nearby. Better still, offer no-touch options like mobile card readers or donating via text message/app. This allows donors to comfortably use their own personal smartphones to support! 


Call in the Champions

As this blog reveals, your in-person events in 2022 will likely require more planning, money, and effort than events of the past. Before your nonprofit gets completely overwhelmed, recruit some help! Call on your staff, your board, your volunteers, and perhaps even some local businesses. Ideally, name a few “champions” to take the lead. If they are really engaged, they may even offer to underwrite, host, or market the event! (Check out this blog for other event marketing tools).


Provide Alternatives

Even if you have done everything above to create a safe and amazing in-person event, anything can happen. Some nonprofit supporters may get cold feet and decide they aren’t ready to mingle. Or there could be an unexpected surge in COVID cases in your region, leading to new and tighter restrictions. For these reasons, be sure to create a virtual event option. After the last two years, your nonprofit likely already has expertise in this area!


In closing, the new year and the return of in-person events are now within sight. Americans remain committed to supporting their favorite nonprofits…and many are eager to reconnect through charity galas, cocktail hours, races, etc. So safely seize the opportunity by following the tips above. If your nonprofit has additional advice, feel free to leave it in a comment below!

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Topics: Events, Nonprofit, Nonprofit Funding