I've been watching with interest as fundraisers debate the future landscape post COVID19. In particular, as it is my area, the future of face to face events. And no, I don't think events will ever be the same but many new opportunities will come out of this crisis. Some we can predict like way more virtual activities & DIY events and some we cannot yet know. Behaviours will be so different but that doesn't necessarily mean charities lose out, just that we will have to adapt and evolve and be prepared to act nimbly and be more agile. I'm an event fundraiser so obviously am a bit biased but I truly believe events will be stronger than ever in our post COVID-19 world.
I was hugely heartened by 2.6 Challenge. What the London Marathon team managed to organise in that short space of time was nothing short of miraculous. Imagine how big that event could be with more planning time and insight. I would be amazed if that doesn't become an annual fixture. The most exciting thing to me is that new audiences are getting involved in events they'd have never done pre Covid. Virtual events are having such a wide reach, we can attend a local hospice's event at the other end of the country from the comfort of our own living rooms if we so wish. And all these kids who are clapping and drawing rainbows and thanking the NHS, carers and front-line staff are our supporters of the future. This could be the start of a mass wave of new philanthropists.
So no, events won't ever be the same again but then neither will the world. We need to be ready for the unexpected. And we can do that. Event fundraisers are brilliant at managing risks and challenges. We deal with them every time we organise an event. A keynote speaker drops out, an entire front row table doesn't show up to a Gala Dinner, the event programmes come back from the printer with a prominent typo...we have all been there! But we contingency plan and we assess risk and we do all that because events never go to plan and the reason you might not know that is because we have implemented plan B (or C) and it was so seamless you didn't realise. Not only will events bounce back they will bounce back better planned & more robust than before, be they virtual or in person.