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Planning a virtual post-secondary event or Homecoming?

4 Tips for Successful School Events

Events are an essential tool for post-secondary institutions to drive fundraising, enrollment & applications and alumni relations.  In 2020, with the shift to virtual learning, Proof Experiences helped several post-secondary schools create highly innovative & engaging virtual events and the results were phenomenal.

“You’ve managed to convince me I am at a party. Well done!”
– Virtual attendee at Smith Connect Live

Virtual is here to stay and as experts in the design and delivery of exceptional online experiences for schools like Queen’s University and University of Toronto, we are sharing the following timely tips:

1. Choose a technology platform that meets your celebratory needs. Your college or university may have a contract with a platform supplier for classroom learning. However, that does not mean the technology will provide the functionality you may need for an engaging online celebration. For a lot less than an annual contract, you can often secure a short-term one-time license for a specific virtual event platform – giving you added functionality like gamification, virtual 1:1 networking, fundraising features, social media & sponsor integration, etc.

2. Ensure emotion is part of the mix. Great in-person school celebrations make you laugh. They make you cry. They make you look back, and they make you look forward. Your virtual celebration should achieve the same results so build this right into your strategy up-front.

Hosting an awards presentation? Invite family and friends to join the recipient remotely on screen to share in the moment. Proof Experiences organized a Homecoming event where we arranged for a professor being recognized to be joined live on screen (a surprise!) by his daughter who was living in another country. There was not a dry eye as she thanked dad for being a great father and an inspiration.

3. Good video is the backbone of your event. Whether it is participant contributions (people love to see pictures of themselves!) or alumni interviews or a campus tour of popular watering holes, invest time in assembling relevant and compelling video that is ready to roll on Event Day.

A fun virtual alumni event we organized for the Queen’s Smith School of Business opened with a photo montage of participating students, set to upbeat music – setting the stage and tone of this exceptional event from the get-go.

4. Start planning early. Unlike live events where face-to-face human interactions are impromptu and unscripted, virtual events need to be planned down to the second. The content and the flow of your event and your ability to engage and interact with attendees online will take almost more time to plan than a live, in-person event. And don’t forget to plan for attendees from around the world, living in different time zones – global inclusion is one of the biggest benefits of virtual!

Whether you are welcoming back alumni or sending students off into the world, there are lots of great ways to successfully take your traditions and school celebrations online!

Proof Experiences can help you plan your virtual events. Connect with us.

 

Chair|April 26, 2021

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