Live Stream Tech Partners for your Virtual Fundraising Events and Galas
Planning a virtual gala (VG) or fundraising event? You’ll need an all-star tech team to bring your virtual vision to life. Choose wisely and do your homework! Here are some critical elements to consider before selecting your live stream tech partners.
References & Referrals
Some of your fellow fundraising friends have already made the pivot to virtual fundraising events. Watch their live streams. Did you like what you saw? If so, pick their brains! Ask them who they worked with and all about the technical side of the production. How did it go? Was it smooth? Were there any surprises? Was the tech team able to answer questions in a way they could understand? Were they happy working with them? Would they work with them again?
Not everybody speaks tech, but your tech experts should be able to give you the basics in laypersons’ terms and be pleasant to work with – all while delivering a fabulous show.
Recon time! Before hiring your tech team, do online research. Read their Google and social media reviews. If they don’t have any, consider that a red flag! Experience matters. What do others say about them? Reputation is important. REALLY important. So is experience, as this directly relates to your final product’s quality and production value.
Before you hire your live stream team, ask to review examples of their work as it relates to what you’re planning. If they take pride in their work (which they should!), they’ll WANT to share with you. If they don’t have examples to show you, you guessed it – that’s another giant red flag. Perhaps they only have one example or they show you an example of a conference when you’re planning a live streamed fundraiser. That should also give you pause – either they don’t have much experience executing virtual fundraisers, or they don’t regularly produce clean (glitch-free) shows, or they do offer some tech – perhaps just not the type you need or want. Reviewing their work will not only assure you that you’re in good hands, it’s a great way for YOU to determine what you like and don’t like in a live streamed virtual fundraiser. Reject what you don’t like. Reproduce what you DO.
Part of your prep homework should be watching other VGs and orgs’ interpretations of a virtual fundraiser. This will give you a better idea of what you want your unique show to look and feel like, as well as what you may want to emulate. Take note of what worked and what didn’t in terms of the VG that’s coming to life in your head. Can your tech team make it happen? Show them screenshots of what you’d like to feature in your show and ask for their ideas and advice on how to best reproduce these things in yours. We recommend screenshots for communication purposes. It’s easier to SHOW (not tell) your tech experts what you liked or didn’t like, especially if you’re not fluent in tech talk.
Roles & Responsibilities
In order to pull off a smooth and successful VG, it’s important that everyone on your team is CRYSTAL CLEAR on their individual roles. What will you be required to provide vs what will your tech team provide? You’re working in conjunction with them, so you’ll be required to provide some of the content – a vector or raster file of your logo, for example, high-res imagery to be used for backgrounds, any music you desire, that sort of thing. And be sure to get EVERYTHING in writing. A quote for a live stream is simply a quote and it can balloon out of control before you know it. We’ve seen it. You think you’re in for a set price. You request a few additional items or you see something you don’t like in your tech rehearsal that you want changed. When you receive the final bill, it has doubled. Tripled. This is no time for a handshake deal. What’s expected of you AND what’s expected of your tech team (and at what price) should be spelled out in a written contract. NO ONE likes surprises. (And we all know what happens when we assume, don’t we?!)
Do you want to live stream from somewhere specific? Your offices? A beautiful venue? Outside? It’s possible, but it’ll cost you. Consider your budget. Tech teams can often set up a temporary studio from a location of your choice, but think of all the additional time this takes – the schlepping of equipment to and fro, pulling cables, setup, tear down, site visits, etc. Makeshift live stream setups not only dramatically increase your total cost, they also increase the chances of things going wrong (think: Internet snafus, electricity challenges, forgotten equipment and worse). You’ll save tons of money and avoid headaches when streaming from an actual live stream studio. When filming in-studio, give a little thought to set design and/or digital backgrounds and you’ll be able to transform the space into whatever you want – something uniquely your own. It’s not as labor-intensive as you might think. A backdrop of your choice, a little furniture re-arrangement, subtle lighting changes, or a green screen with digital backgrounds – and BOOM – transformation complete! With the magic of virtual, you could be ANYWHERE and your viewers will be none the wiser. Ask your tech team for recommendations. They know what they’re doing, after all.
Your tech team is your right hand for producing a clean, high-quality live stream. They’re the unseen heroes who make your VG look and feel fantastic. The ones behind the curtain, if you will. They’ll handle the execution of your virtual event so you can focus on the effectiveness of it.
Where do you want to stream to – YouTube? FB Live? The mobile bidding platform you’ve selected? All of the above? No clue? Let your tech team advise you. They’ll know and be able to school you on the pros and cons of each.
They also put you in touch with vendors who bring the final product you desire to life – via custom graphics, videos and vignettes, set design – anything pertaining to the visuals that will grace your viewers’ monitors at home. These types of referrals are gold and can and do impact your final virtual product and its production value.
Live streaming and the technology associated with it is relatively new to the fundraising industry. Despite that fact, it doesn’t have to be scary or painful as long as you have the right team behind you! Reach out – with our very own in-house live stream tech team we’re your one-stop shop! We also have loads of referrals, vendors and recommendations to share. Ready? Let’s do this!