Pandemic aside, there’s no denying that events have changed substantially in recent years. As we plan for the year ahead, we are tasked with reimagining our events to fit the current circumstances. Organizations have been forced to restructure or cancel them entirely. We have quickly had to learn how to effectively turn in-person events into virtual ones. Learning how other organizations have tackled this challenge can offer valuable insights.
This fall we have seen annual walks, runs, and rides take a never-imagined virtual approach. And with surprising success!
Lauren Holmes, the events manager for our client Boston Medical Center provided us with insight on how she was able to ensure that her team was still able to participate in the Rodman Ride for Kids. Team BMC has participated in The Ride since 2009 and they weren’t about to let the opportunity to raise money in support of various pediatric programs slip by this year. The Rodman Ride successfully transformed the event into a virtual one where participants could bike, run, swim or choose their own adventure.
Holmes said, “We approached this ride similarly to how we have in past years, recruiting captains from our pediatric programs to help recruit other riders and raise funds for the programs they work in. Since these captains are very busy running pediatric programs in a hospital during COVID, we were worried that they might not have the bandwidth to add something else to their plates. However, we are happy to say that we saw many riders come back again this year, as well as several new additions. The Rodman Ride did a great job of incentivizing riders, which is crucial for a virtual event, and we tried to add excitement to that with some team specific incentives as well.” Participants secured their sponsors and set their own goals while Lauren and her event team made sure that everyone was able to participate with or without a bike, by adding options to choose from such as running, walking, doing lunges, yoga, or even baking cookies. Staying true to ride rituals, the team coordinators also sent out team performance shirts (designed by HGX!) for the participants to wear and sell.
Organizations like BMC have refused to let the pandemic stand in the way of meeting their charity goals. Holmes added that “The Rodman Ride also removed the fundraising minimum expectation this year, which put less of a burden on participants. Overall we are happy with this year’s results and we’ve been able to raise over $95,000 for BMC Pediatrics to date!” Reinventing how the ride was done posed some challenges for the organizers, but it paid off in more ways than imagined.
Though virtual events will never completely replace in-person experiences, they do remedy the gap. Here are our top ten tips and takeaways:
Learn more about Team BMC here.