Online events are increasingly popular, but many event creators are still figuring out where to start. If you’re used to planning in-person cultural events for your organisation, you may wonder if you can cultivate the same connection online.
With the right planning, an online cultural event can be a fantastic way for your group to connect with its most committed members. Since anyone with an internet connection can attend an online event – as a participant or guest speaker – you can even expand your reach across the globe and save on costs while increasing revenue. Learn how to host virtual happenings with these 10 creative online event ideas.
1. Know your audience
One of the keys to any event that you’re hosting is to know your audience. What will they find interesting, engaging, or entertaining? For example, if you’re planning Pride Month events for an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, consider whether your attendees would respond better to a film showing, a poetry open mic night, or a panel of speakers. You can determine this by looking into your target audience’s demographics or the events that you’ve had success with in the past.
2. Work your core
Appeal to your organisation’s existing members first before trying to bring in a new audience. Your core members are already passionate about your organisation, so you can not only count on them showing up, but also use them as a great asset for promoting your event. For example, if your mosque is livestreaming religious services or the likes of a Ramadan preparation seminar, be sure that your congregation is in the know and then give them resources to share the event with their network.
3. Ad it up
Once your core membership is excited about your event, consider who else might find your event appealing and find ways to advertise to them, from sponsored Instagram posts to targeted email campaigns. Take advantage of the reach of online events and market to people in similar organisations in other parts of the UK. You might find people who are interested in joining your event online but might not have been able to attend in person.
4. Plan for access
Remember to plan for accessibility so that people get the most out of your event. For example, if you’re hosting an event focused on another culture, like a documentary showing for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, consider including an interpreter for the Q&A or translated subtitles during the film.
With any type of event, you should also think through how the pricing for your event may affect attendance. Allowing greater access to your event adds up to greater success. Sliding scale pricing is a great way to make events more inclusive while still making a good profit.
5. Highlight what’s unique
Your organisation is unique, so your cultural event should celebrate that. Look to members of your community for imaginative ideas that will make your online cultural event more appealing. Consider putting your community’s artisans, musicians, or thought leaders in the spotlight as part of a holiday celebration. This can help draw attention from new audiences.
6. Build your brand loyalty
With the expanded reach an online audience can bring, be sure to consider ways to inspire brand loyalty from your attendees. Schedule recurring events to give attendees a reason to return, or organise an ongoing series of related events. National Student Pride is hosting a series of online events to celebrate Pride Month, for example. People want to be part of vibrant communities, and a key to growth is making sure your community is active and vital.
7. Hold a social
Ultimately, any cultural event is about creating connections between attendees, which is often as simple as getting together to socialise and meet new people. One idea is to bring people together in fun new ways. Take Social Muslims. When COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, the organisation started hosting virtual networking events, including trivia nights, fitness classes, and matchmaking sessions. Attendees found new ways to celebrate as a group and created connections that extended beyond the event itself.
8. Amplify minority voices
One way to make an impact is to organise your event so that diverse voices are heard, promoting inclusion in a natural way. To do so successfully, it’s key to be sure the cause relates to your organisation. For example, agency A+F Creative and Cassava Republic Press have been working together to host the quarterly Black: The Literary Salon, with each event offering a panel discussion with authors of colour. Instead of simply discussing the topic of race and inequality, the organisers give Black writers a platform to showcase their work. For more inspiration with cultural diversity event ideas, check out how other Eventbrite creators are making inclusivity the norm.
9. Bring it back home
When planning your cultural event, find a way for the event to put the spotlight on your organisation. If you’re hosting an online Easter egg decoration event, you can invite attendees to your online Sunday services. Or pair cultural events like a Women’s History Month Q&A with a discount code to purchase related reading from your website’s online shop.
10. Check your calendar
There’s no denying it: people love to celebrate. Many cultural and religious communities have popular holidays — so why not build your event calendar around them? Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Pride Month all offer unique opportunities to highlight different communities and causes, which is an excellent way to market your event and gain greater connections.
Ready to start organising a community event?
If you want to know more about how to plan a virtual event with a cultural or community focus, we have the resources you’ll need for planning, pricing, and marketing. Enrich and expand your community by hosting your next cultural event online.