Virtual events are the fad. Or are they? Well, they are not here just because of a trend. Virtual events are here to stay forever. If you are new to the virtual events industry, it may seem overwhelming. Coming to school events, while some schools around the world are slowly welcoming students to its campus at the time of writing, there is still worry among parents due to the risk. Even during this year, we can expect most of the schooling around the world to remain hybrid, maybe even going into next year.
Physical school events are still a big no-no. This is where virtual school event platforms come into play. These events provide a good sense of community learning remotely. Be as creative as you can get to host your next virtual event for the school, and create an impression on students, teachers, and all those involved in the organization.
What is a School Event?
While hosting a virtual school event, consider how you are going to present it to your audience. You do not need something complex, in many cases, even a simple PowerPoint presentation will do. But the event has to be exciting and engaging for the attendees, and it must give them the value they are looking for and wonder what types of events to host for your school? Here are some ideas. Note that the list is not exhaustive.
- Virtual Open House
Schedule a day to meet up with parents along with their kids. Parents will also love to interact with teachers and meet other parents. Consider organizing virtual ice breaker games, introduce everyone in the classroom and also show around your classroom virtually. At the same time, you can pass on important information, resources that will help the students get through the school year.
- Virtual Field Trip –
You can engage them with tons of virtual games, make them form teams, and make the kids compete with each other. Maybe, like a virtual scavenger hunt? You can even encourage families to choose a venue, explore it and share their experiences and ideas.
- Virtual Admissions –
Hosting virtual admission fairs is a great way to entice interest in students and inform them on how to get to the school of their dreams. Each parent and student must be able to see how their life at the university will look like. They must become aware of future opportunities, the way of teaching. You can also give them a chance to privately interact with recruiters (if it is also a career fair) for a mock interview.
Other school event ideas include virtual races, virtual craft night, virtual escape room, online auctions, etc.
What is the Difference between Virtual Events?
Virtual events provide a lot of benefits, here’s how it makes a difference for you compared to a physical event:
With virtual events, you can reach a larger audience because all the attendee needs is a smartphone/computer with a good internet connection. Also, they do not have to put any effort to reach the venue. Just login and attend the event!
You save a lot of money on virtual school events because you do not need to arrange accommodation, hire event spaces, arrange for food and beverages, etc. You can engage keynote speakers at a very less price compared to their presence physically at the event.
Virtual events provide new ways to interact with your audience. With virtual networking sessions to virtual booths, it will be exciting for the audience to engage with and consume. Add real-time features like polls and chats during the streaming of the event.
Virtual events can be made available either for free or on-demand even after the event is over. This makes your content evergreen, and maybe even provide a way to charge money to your audience even after the event is over! It acts like a life-long asset.
If you conduct a virtual school event, you get more access to valuable data and insights. You can easily know the engagement rates of the audience, the demographics, their interests, and how they interact with different components of the event. This valuable data will help you better plan future events.
Get Started Planning for Your Virtual Event
The first step in the event for school planning is to fully understand the purpose of your virtual event. Brainstorm different topics and ideas for your event, create objectives and define sessions that will be interactive, engaging, and informative to your audience.
Once you do this, global planning, do more specific planning in detail.
Visualize your perfect event and then work backwards. Who would be the perfect guest to speak at the event, if it should?
What would be the perfect school event organizing tools or school event planning software?
What would be the perfect games to play with the parents and/or students?
How would you market it perfectly?
What would a perfect script for the event look like?
Know Your Fall Event Options
Fall is the season for events in school. They are usually big events from convocations, to open houses, to welcome ceremonies to revisit days.
You can either, Have a small physical event with limited attendees, following all protocols of social distancing and hygiene. But you will still need to have some virtual event option to accommodate more people.
You can host 100% virtual events that are streamed live to the audience, like open days, parent-teacher meetings, etc.
You can host 100% virtual events that are pre-recorded, like school introduction videos, etc.
Or you can have some virtual element in your event that is either pre-recorded and live-streamed so people can watch it later also.
List Your Fall Events
In this step, get the different divisions of your school, like the admissions, sports, and fundraising, and make the list of events you can conduct in the fall. You can record them on a spreadsheet or a project management tool.
You can decide the dates of the events and the frequency of each event. Like, you can decide if you want to have few big events or more small events.
Choose the Experience for Your Event
This part of planning and organizing probably takes the most amount of time. Again, in this step, you decide if the event is going ahead or if it is cancelled or postponed.
If the event is going ahead, you decide if the event will be virtual and pre-recorded, or streamed live. Or you decide if you want to have a hybrid option by inviting some audience to the live venue and giving others the option to watch the event online.
But remember, things are changing dynamically. So, it is recommended that you always prefer to focus on virtual events first because they have lesser chances of getting cancelled or postponed.
Create the Agenda for Your Events
- Next is to plan in even more detail for your event ideas for school. For each event, decide:
- What is the event/segment going to be?
- Who is responsible or stakeholders for the event/segment?
- How is the event/segment going to be held?
- Where is the event/segment going to be held?
- What will be the length of the event/segment?
- For each event, break it down into various segments and for each segment, decide the above details.
- Find Out How Your Event Can Be Different?
- For each event, decide what will differentiate it from other events. Be as creative as you can. This will help your event to a next level and stand out from other events of the school or events from other schools.
- For example, you can move to or create a virtual campus tour and show parents what are the different social distancing protocols the school is following, should the students return to the campus this fall. You can set up cameras in some of your classrooms and show parents and students how learning happens in real-time.
Develop A Strategy for Following Up
Follow-up strategies are important to provide positive outcomes from your event, and convert your leads to attendees. Decide how and at what frequency will you be sending reminders or information about the event to the registered attendees.
For example, for admission-based events, you can send an email to the registered attendees containing the information and how to access the event, if it is virtual.
If it is a fundraising event, you can send a direct email to donors telling them a ‘thank you’.
For back-to-school events, again, you can send an email containing the details of the event.
Or you can also send some school-based merchandise that the student will love, like a laptop case, a themed notebook, or a branded mask.
There is no set way to follow-up, do whatever suits your school, and be as creative as you can!
Ask for Feedback and Improve in The Future
Conduct events after every event and get feedback from your attendees. Keep these surveys short so that they have a high response rate. It is more recommended to have multiple-choice questions, that the attendees will quickly answer.
Do not include more than 3 to 5 questions. Use this valuable information to plan your future events better.
Do your event management for school well. Virtual events are going to be here to stay. Be it a school event or any other type of event that involves gathering some people, virtual events are always going to be preferred not just for safety but for the ton load of other advantages that they provide. If you are planning for a virtual school event, use this short guide to plan your event well, execute it and most importantly, enjoy the process of hosting an unconventional form of the event – a virtual event.