Charity Events And The Metaverse
Written by Nikki Bell
Whether you are excited or confused about it, the metaverse is coming and charities need to be prepared for the opportunities it will bring and the way it will shape our donor’s world.
In this article we’ll explore how the metaverse will affect charity events including conferences, fundraising, and stewardship events.
What Is The Metaverse?
Before we begin we’ll recap on the metaverse and what it means.
In a nutshell, the metaverse is a 3D world using virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) with video and graphics to create digital spaces that facilitate connection. Using VR or AR headsets, users can interact with digital content they’re immersed in rather than viewing a 2D or 3D design on a screen.
Why Is The Metaverse Important For Charities?
There’s a lot of attention on the metaverse and how it’s shaping the future within marketing and consumer trends. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the space with design, safety, and access; but its rapid development and growth means it’s something that will be adopted and understood more widely within the not-so-distant future.
Donor expectations from their ‘real world’ experiences transfer onto charity interactions. Charities must be aware and involved in online experiences that can find and steward donors – the metaverse will be one method that provides limitless opportunities.
The Metaverse And Charity Events
As with the events sector as a whole, the metaverse provides a huge opportunity for charity events.
As we’ve experienced throughout the pandemic (and before for any early-adopter charities), virtual events are a great way to reach and engage donors without the time and cost of in-person events – all with the benefit of being greener and sustainable.
We’re able to connect in more meaningful ways by providing interactive and immersive experiences that look good and facilitate meetings and connections based on data. The metaverse will allow charities to take this to the next level by hosting in a 3D space that draws the participant even further into that experience.
Imagine fundraising challenge events in the metaverse where you can look to your left to see and interact with fellow fundraisers running alongside you. Or conferences where you can enter a virtual hall to wander around and engage with digital content from speakers or partners that go beyond just leaflets and freebies.
The 3D, immersive, and interactive medium of the metaverse will allow charities to put focus on the key element that’s important for virtual events – experience and engagement – by crafting venues and elements specific to the event’s purpose.
Event hosts on the Everywhere+ virtual event platform are able to provide metaverse experiences within their online conferences, events and webinars – but it’s not without its current challenges for charity event organisers.
The charity sector is still a way off from adopting the metaverse in the tech’s current state and there are considerations to think about before jumping into the metaverse as an events option.
One such consideration is cost and ability to access. To experience the metaverse your attendees will need the physical (headsets) and digital (software and powerful web browsers that consume a lot of energy) tools to join in. You must be willing to provide these to all attendees and be comfortable that they’ll be able to use them, providing alternatives like traditional virtual or hybrid digital access for non-metaverse participants.
Another key factor in the current metaverse state is safety. Because the metaverse is boundless (no barriers between digital and real) and decentralised, the responsibility falls to organisers to ensure an attendee’s safety when attending their events. From representation to child safety and accessibility to equality, how your donors feel about themselves and how they are treated within the metaverse should be thought about and planned for in the very early stages of development.
We must also as a sector become savvy with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The payment methods have been bubbling in the charity sector for some time with not a lot of charities adding this to their transformation plans. But as one of the rapidly growing payment methods that will reshape payments, legacies, digital fundraising, and stewardship – now is the time to learn.
Finally, virtual reality use within fundraising isn’t a new thing. Charities have been using the technology for an immersive experience for years with not a lot of groundbreaking takeup across the sector. Will the metaverse be any different? Time and application will tell.
As the metaverse continues to be developed some of these factors will be solved and access made safer and easier. It’s still something to plan for in your future strategies but for 2022 learning and discovery should be top of your agenda.
In the meantime, charities should continue to provide virtual event experiences to donors using 3D or teleconferencing event software to learn more about their preferences and potential. This approach not only builds up data and experience of virtual events with your donors, it also provides additional access and opportunities for fundraising and stewardship.