Report Summary

In December 2022 and January 2023, Eventgroove conducted an online survey to gain insight into organizers’ thoughts, concerns, and plans surrounding 2023 events. The results uncovered an interesting snapshot into 2023 in-person, virtual, and hybrid fundraisers and events, including:

  • Almost 80% of respondents plan to host more in-person events, while over half plan to host fewer virtual events.
  •  57% of respondents plan to host the same number of hybrid events in 2023 as they did in 2022.
  • Over 60% of respondents say the sustainability of events and fundraisers is already important or becoming a significant consideration.
  • Nearly 90% of all respondents said that printed products (used during or prior) are essential to a successful event or fundraiser.
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Foreword: 

When we released our first Events and Fundraisers Outlook at the start of 2022, it seemed as if maybe (maybe!) the worst of COVID had passed. Organizers had slowly begun shifting resources toward more in-person events and fundraisers while retaining virtual and hybrid efforts. Over the course of the year, that cautious optimism evolved into confidence—in-person gathering was definitely back!

What, we wondered, did the increase in physical events mean for the future of virtual or hybrid events and fundraisers? Additionally, in the second half of 2022 and now in 2023, fears of a recession in the US have continued to build, and the effects of climate change are increasingly making themselves known. How are those issues affecting fundraisers and event organizers? What tools and actions are essential to the success of an event or fundraiser in the world today?

At the close of 2022 with those questions in mind, we conducted our annual survey of Eventgroove customers. We also opened up our survey to any event or fundraiser organizer who wished to participate.

— The Eventgroove Team

The Big Picture for 2023

In 2022, 79.6% of survey respondents planned to host an event or fundraiser—after a tumultuous two years of pandemic-related challenges, it appeared things were looking up! That positive inference proved true in our most recent findings, as 93% of respondents plan to host as many or more events in 2023 as they did in 2022.

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Events are going strong in 2023 with 93% of our respondents planning to host as many or more events in 2023 as 2022

Innovative Events of 2022

“It is actually our wreath sale. People buy them and comment on how smart of an idea it is. I create a simple graphic with the three options, a Google form with photos for people to fill out, list the payment options…boom done. It’s easy for them and, in turn, easy for me.”
-Courtney F.

Advice from Organizers

We asked our respondents what advice they’d give their fellow event and fundraising planners. Below are some key themes we noticed from the responses.

HAVE A PLAN, AND BE FLEXIBLE

“If plan a doesn’t work, be cool…there’s 25 more letters in the alphabet.”
-Anne H.

“Plan on cost over-runs, also schedule twice as far in the future than you think you need to.”
-James A.

“Plan early, promote early, and utilize social media.”
-JW P.

HAVE A GOOD TEAM

“To have a good team so the work does not fall on one person.”
-Vanessa C.

“Build relationships with your vendors so they become a dependable part of the team.”
-Kelle K.

MARKETING IS KEY

“Advertise, Advertise, Advertise.”
-Myriam

“Have great branded give away items so the crowd will not forget your brand and what it stands for.”
-Theresa L.

In-Person and Hybrid Events Lead the Way

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The COVID pandemic forced nonprofits and event organizers to pivot to new technologies and methods to survive. As physical gatherings came trickling back, it became clear that our society has permanently adapted to the flexibility and inclusivity of online offerings. Whether people aren’t local, lack time, have mobility issues, or prefer to participate from wherever they are, hybrid events empower organizers to reach more guests, donors, and members.
In-person events and fundraisers now take precedence over other mediums—almost 84% of our respondents find that in-person events are the most effective, and nearly  80% of respondents plan to host more in-person events in 2023 than in 2022. 
With our respondents, more in-person events meant less virtual events, with 52% planning less virtual events.
On the other hand, over half plan to host fewer virtual events. At first glance, this seems to point to a pivot away from online tools. However, while fewer wholly virtual events are on deck, 57% of respondents plan to host the same number of hybrid events in 2023 as they did in 2022.  
Innovative Events of 2022

“A virtual trade show I attended with breakout rooms. It proved to be better than the in-person version because you were able to talk one-on-one with personnel, which has been impossible at the in-person versions.”
-Gawain A.

Keys to a Successful Hybrid Fundraiser

The last few years have made it clear that people expect more ways to engage, support, and give. Mindful of supporter and customer preferences, organizers have retained a hybrid approach to fundraisers and events. But what is the architecture of a successful hybrid event?

Our respondents say that the most important element is underlying technology in the form of a user-friendly online fundraising platform. After that, leveraging social media to drive attendance and engagement is a clear second.

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The Importance of Sustainability

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Increasingly, the impact our choices have on the earth is becoming a priority for everyone. That focus on sustainable events and fundraisers is also growing. The overwhelming majority of our respondents either asserted that sustainability is an important consideration or that they are increasingly feeling it’s an important consideration.
Innovative Events of 2022

“Buying ‘time’ from volunteers to conduct projects such as yard work. Called ‘Rent a Player’”
-Andrea N.

Must Haves & Challenges for Organizers

Biggest challenges for event and fundraiser organizers

2023 event and fundraiser organizers face some headwinds, including the threat
of recession, inflation, and competition for share of voice online. Those issues are reflected in the 27% of respondents who point to making money as the most difficult aspect of hosting an event or fundraiser.

When considering the top three challenges to planning events and fundraisers, 66% of our respondents listed making money, attendance, and marketing. Since marketing and attendance directly influence the ability to make money or fundraise, it’s clear that these elements are all intrinsically linked.

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Must haves for organizers

It’s no surprise that guest experience plays a big part in the success of a fundraiser or event. However, that 90% of our respondents say that print products are essential is something of a revelation. Though humble, items such as high-quality raffle tickets, wristbands for efficient identification, and posters and postcards for information and marketing all contribute mightily to a positive marketing response and guest experience. 

Advice from Organizers

Keep it fresh and come up with something new each year. For example, we (the Marshall Fire Department) host an annual two-day festival to help support our work. This year, in addition to our fish fry sponsored by The Barrel Inn, Marshall Home Talent Baseball game, and a live band (Stetsin and Lace), we decided to have a Latin Family Day. Several local Hispanic bands and a DJ played music (mostly donated by La Movida Radio), and Maria’s Mexican Restaurant brought food trucks. They set one up near the Latin Family Day events and the other near the truck pull. We found that the food trucks were a huge hit with the crowd in attendance.
Chris Meinholz, Secretary, Marshall Fire Department

Conclusion

Event and fundraiser organizers are actively embracing a combined in-person and online approach to reach more people. Through in-person events and online options, organizers can address their biggest challenge—generating income or donations.
Of course, hand-in-hand with that is attendance and participation. Similarly, many respondents indicated they have adopted a hybrid approach to marketing. By utilizing social media promotion together with printed materials such as posters, flyers, and postcards, they’re able to appeal to more people.

– The Eventgroove Team

Survey data based on responses from 200 respondents of our survey in December 2023.

About Eventgroove

Eventgroove is the premier one-stop integrated events and fundraising platform pioneering a radical customer-centric approach to SaaS. From simple event ticketing and donation pages to more complex multi-location events and concurrent fundraising campaigns with an ecommerce storefront, Eventgroove enables its customers to manage, market, and execute events and fundraisers from one place under their brand.

Based in Bozeman, Montana, Eventgroove places a top priority on sustainability and conservation. The company is Forest Stewardship Council FSC® certified, and its production runs on 100% wind energy. In addition, since 2007 Eventgroove has donated 42% of net profits to conservation organizations protecting habitat and keeping carbon in the ground. 

Eventgroove serves over 78,000 customers across the nonprofit, entertainment, education, sports, faith, and civic sectors. Eventgroove operates in the US, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

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