So, the world has changed. Stay home, stay safe is our new mantra. But, what do you do about your upcoming events? No one wants to cancel the chili cook off or the annual clean up the park event, but what do you do? How can your church continue with its event planning during a pandemic?
While maybe not all of your events translate perfectly into the virtual sphere, it is imperative to communicate with your people continuously and consistently. Regardless of whether you are canceling your event, postponing to a later date, or moving it online, clear communication is key.
To Go Virtual or Not
Before you decide to cancel your event, take a moment to breathe. Really consider the event, and then get a little creative.
Maybe the chili cook off seems like it can’t go virtual. The best part is the competition, after all! Well, that and eating all of the chili. But, maybe, in this time, the most important part is breaking bread with your community. What if the chili cook off becomes a virtual dinner party where everyone cooks their own chili? The competition can be for the most creative decorations and the benefit is that the community gets some much needed interaction.
Really encourage your church leaders to step outside of the box in their thinking. This can be hard for sure, but your community needs you! One scientific study showed that social isolation is actually more dangerous to your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We need to interact to stay healthy both physically and mentally! Just because we are socially distanced, does not mean we need to be isolated.
Event Planning Health Check
Go through your calendar of planned events through at least June, and possibly for the rest of the year. Hopefully, we won’t be socially distanced for that long, but you need to be prepared to answer questions about ALL upcoming events. Come up with specific a game plan for the events happening in the next two months. Again be creative. How can you create an interactive and fun event for your community while staying safe?
Whether you decide to Go Virtual, Cancel, or Postpone your event, you will need to update your online calendar of events. As your leadership team considers your events and makes plans for what to do, here are a few things to remember as you update your calendar.
Update Your Events Calendar
Once you know whether you are going to cancel, postpone, or go virtual, it is time to update your online calendar. Do not delete events that are cancelled or postponed. Edit the event to say CANCELLED or POSTPONED at the beginning of the title and include a short reason at the top of the event information that stands apart from the rest of the event. Remove any registration links or payment options to remove any possible confusion. For postponed events, either add the new event (if you have the date) and link to it, or add a sign up form so folks can opt in to be informed when more information is available.
When you decide to take an event virtual, add the words ONLINE or VIRTUAL to the title. Edit the post to include all of the details your community will need to participate fully in the event. Include deadlines for registration and who to contact for help setting things up.
Virtual Event Tips & Tricks
There may be more people who will need help walking through the technology, so creating a clear set of directions is vital to make it as easy as possible. For example, instead of linking to a long registration url, create a button that says Register for Name of Event. This will keep your event information clean and clear, especially when you have multiple links with different pieces of information.
Build in extra time to adjust to the potentially new technology. If your event starts at 11 am, begin your live stream at least 15 minutes earlier. Be available to answer questions as people begin to connect. Walk them through how to turn on or off their mic and video.
Answer as many questions about the process as you can in advance. When you don’t have all of the answers, tell the truth. Say, “We are figuring out the details and will let you know by such and such a date by email (or however you will let them know).”
Communicate Across All Channels
Reassure your folks by communicating clearly what is happening. Use your email lists, social media, and website homepage to reach as many people as possible. However you choose to communicate with your people, be consistent.
If you are looking for more tips on how to communicate with your community during this time, you can read How to Optimize Your Homepage During Covid-19 Isolation or watch the replay of the webinar.
Worship Times is a full-service digital marketing team that specializes in helping churches of all sizes and denominations. Wherever you are, we want you to be able to reach your people and continue your ministry. Whether you need support or reassurance that you are heading in the right direction, we are here.
We have created multiple integrations for you to transition your in-person community to the virtual sphere as seamlessly as possible. If you have any questions about your Worship Times website and virtual integrations, please put in a support ticket. We also have a list of video Resources and Tools for Covid-19 that are available for everyone.
If you are curious about becoming part of the Worship Times family, get started today. With Worship Times, you have access to cutting edge tools and a staff of experienced marketing and communication professionals who care about your ministry. You will not be disappointed.
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Events Calendar Resources
Many of those on the Worship Times network are using the Events Calendar who have created a few resources specifically for their event manager.