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Roundtable: Virtual Events
Roundtable: Virtual Events

November 11, 2020 - Tips on hosting virtual events.

Jaime Morgan, CAE avatar
Written by Jaime Morgan, CAE
Updated over a week ago

During this roundtable, Novi Customers shared their experiences over the past few months and asked questions about best practices when hosting virtual events. Grab the popcorn, you're gonna want to watch this one!

Of the customers participating in the poll during our roundtable:

  • In the Past 4 months, 60% held all-virtual events, 40% held hybrid (in person & virtual)

  • 58% are planning hybrid events for the future, 30% are planning virtual only, and 12% are not sure.

Scroll below the video to see the list of tips & tricks from those who registered!


What's Worked Well?

Washington Multi-Family Housing Association

Using Map Dynamics and Zoom for their virtual conference
โ€‹(Information adapted from the conversation in the video recording)

WMFHA had to postpone an education conference that was slated for April, and ended up rebranding a new virtual event that used Map Dynamics and Zoom.

  • Pared down the sessions offered, as a half-day event each day so that people weren't on zoom all day

  • Dedicated each day to a different part of their membership

  • Held classes live via zoom except for one. One speaker had a conflict, so he pre-recorded and then somebody from his team hosted it live so that they could handle the Q & A portion.

  • Kept the classes short, about 45 minutes in content so that people could get in really quickly and take one.

  • Recorded every session and made them available to download or re-watch them afterwards.

Tip! Keep the event open for longer than the actual event dates: It was a three day event, but WMFHA kept it open for two weeks. After the event people could go back in and download any resources.

Earning Revenue: Just weeks before the in person Education Conference was supposed to happen, everything went into lockdown, so they sent an email out to everybody that was registered letting them know their registration was transferred to this new system.

Find ways to give back to the community: Normally WMFHA hosts an event that gives back to nonprofit charities, but it had to be cancelled. So for this virtual event, they didn't lower the price, but took $10 from each ticket that had been purchased and gave it to a nonprofit charity. They were able to give almost $9,000 to one of their nonprofit charities that supports domestic violence.

On the MapDynamics Platform:

Embedding the map in Novi AMS: You have the ability to pull the embed code out and put it onto your website!

What fun social events have been a success?

  • Virtual Classes - barista, mixed drinks, crafts, charcuterie, holiday gift wrapping

  • Virtual Games - Bingo

  • Socially distanced drive in movie gathering (okay, not virtual but a cool idea!)

General & Technical Advice

  • Ensure your speakers have good lighting, microphones. If budget allows, provide these to the presenters.

  • Practice, practice, practice. Hold a practice run (or multiple) - Tech rehearsals are key.

  • Ensure adequate tech support staffing on hand

  • Have a moderator

  • If you're using a platform like GoToMeeting or Zoom, look at Novi's private online event link functionality!


Platforms mentioned by the attendees:

  • Zoom

  • GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar

  • MapDynamics / HomeBase by MapD

  • Remo

  • Award Room

  • Pathable

  • Gatherly

  • Whova

  • Attendify

On Choosing a Platform: Decide what the most important parts of the user experience are and pick your platform from there. Some are tailored for delivering content (one-way experience, great for training and education), some are tailored for networking (great for member connection).


Record the sessions so you can offer them later at a reduced rate! Embed those videos & webinars as a Members-Only resource.

Engagement (Participant and Sponsors)


  • Provide a wide range of events - educational, social, in both meeting and webinar format, and also at different times

  • Utilize Polls, Q&A to enhance engagement

  • Spread the content out rather then locking them to their computer for a day or two

  • Break up the content with games or other fun activities

  • Send lunch! Use meal delivery services to send lunches to your attendees

  • Gamification - track points for engagement (uploading headshots, participation) and give prizes to the top attendees


  • In addition to just a logo placed somewhere, offer the sponsors an opportunity to have an article in your newsletter or online blog! This creates content for your association as well as promotion for the sponsor.

  • Virtual Scavenger hunt - sponsor gives 7 questions about their products. Attendees have until the end of the day to find out the information, and the first x amount of people that submit all the questions correctly get a prize!


  • Communication and marketing is key.

  • Send a video or PDF walk-through of the software they will be using the day off so participants are guided through the process.

  • Consistent reminders are important - keep it top of mind and ensure they add it to their calendars!

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