Five Ways for Nonprofits To Plan Successful Post-COVID Events in 2022
With Covid-19 advice and guidelines changing frequently, it can seem easier to throw our hands up in defeat, shelve all precaution, and hope for the best. But precautions are still important, particularly for our immunocompromised community members and those too young to be vaccinated.
Here are some common-sense recommendations to make your post-Covid events as safe and effective as possible this year.
Choose the Right Time
Timing is everything, especially when it comes to safety during a pandemic. Consider the Covid-19 case numbers in your area. Avoid putting your attendees at increased risk if local transmission is on the upswing.
It's important to consider hospital capacity, too—even though a variant might generally result in less-severe disease, it's transmissibility is also an important factor. Even if fewer people overall need hospitalization, it can still be overwhelming to the healthcare system if they all need care at the same time!
Whatever you choose, make sure you're up-to-date on regulations that apply to your event location.
Simplify the Guidelines
It's no secret that guidelines surrounding Covid-19 have grown in complexity over time—in some cases, they can be downright confusing.
If you choose to lean on official recommendations in preparing for your in-person event, help your attendees out by attaching dates to the guidelines. For example, “In accordance with current recommendations, any known exposure after [DATE] means you should mask up at our event!”
Even if you choose not to communicate that level of detail with your event attendees, you'll want to outline these recommendations for your staff. Make sure anyone attending your event in an official organizational capacity is following the most up-to-date guidelines.
Host a Hybrid Event
Hybrid events incorporate both in-person and virtual participation. They’re an ideal solution for those who aren’t comfortable traveling or attending in person—including potential panelists, speakers, or other program participants.
The most successful hybrid events take an intentional approach to participation and include meaningful ways for all attendees to interact, whether in person or online. Remember to keep accessibility in mind for a variety of ability levels, and be ready to test and troubleshoot any and all technology.
Take On-Site Precautions
Beyond any mask or vaccine requirements you may implement, there are a variety of on-site precautions you can take to ensure the highest level of safety possible at your event.
Precautions might include:
- Improving ventilation at indoor venues by opening windows or bringing in air purifiers,
- Creating seating charts in advance and minimizing opportunities to mingle,
- Conducting temperature screenings or basic symptom checklists at the door,
- Sanitizing shared devices like microphones or clickers between users,
- Incorporating hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the event, and
- Serving individual meals instead of providing a buffet.
Once you’ve considered any local mandates, the choices are yours. But it's important to plan for all contingencies ahead of time and know what you'll do in a given situation.
Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for a bumpy ride.
Give Your Guests the Info They Need
Communication is always key, but it's become even more important in the face of a pandemic. Attendees will rightfully want to know what to expect, both at your event and in the case of any changes.
Masks and vaccines have unfortunately become hot-button issues. Keep yourself out of the fray as much as possible by first defining your terms internally and communicating your expectations clearly and concisely with all invitations, ticket sales, and public promotion.
If nothing else, you'll avoid surprises and cut down on hard feelings if your supporters have the necessary details to make an informed choice about joining you.