With the new reality of living with Covid-19, it is difficult to host in-person meetings. At Plastic Pollution Coalition, we used to host in-person coalition meetings in several cities as a way for people to learn and network with others in their community. In June, we transitioned to doing webinars. Although it's difficult for people to network during webinars, we can still continue sharing best practices and have a dialogue with our community. One advantage is that webinars are not limited to a specific geographic location, so more people can participate from around the world. We are also able to record the webinars, so they can be watched at a later time by others who may not be able to participate in the webinar itself.
Setting Up the Webinar Registration
When you sign up for a webinar or an online event using Zoom, GotoWebinar or many of these online meeting platforms, your data goes into these platforms. As a webinar organizer, you have to manually import the participant data into Civi. Instead of having people register using the meeting platform registration form, we would rather have people register for the webinar using a CiviCRM event registration form. Some platforms, like GotoWebinar, requires each person to sign up individually, which creates an unique individual login for them. In Zoom, you can create an event link with a password that you can share with registered participants. For this reason, we decided to use Zoom, and added the Zoom meeting link and the call-in number in the event confirmation email.
Using the CiviEvents Online Registration Form
When I created the Event in CiviCRM, I set up the online registration form, and also added some additional questions using a Profile. Instead of sending people to the standard Civi event form, we send people directly to the Civi online registration form. Here's the link to our upcoming webinar, so you can see what the registration page looks like. We add images and formatting by using Mosaico, and getting the html code from the public html page. Since we have people joining the webinar from around the world, we add the link to the TimeZone Converter on the registration page setting it to the local time when the event is happening, and people can select their city to see what time it will be happening where they are before signing up for the event. You can use this Event Link Generator, and add the link on your registration form.
Adding the Event to Your Calendar
Many of these meeting platforms include links in the confirmation email to easily add the event to your calendar. I was trying to figure out we can do something similar in Civi with iCal or something else. This may be possible to do in Civi, so please do share if you have found a work around for this. I wanted to give people an option to add the event to a Google calendar, Microsoft calendar or in the iphone calendar. I ended up creating a public Google calendar event, and adding calendar link in the confirmation email.
Sending an Event Confirmation Email
We create a custom Message Template for the webinar with the link to add the event to the calendar, the Zoom link and other meeting details. When someone signs up for the event, we use a Civirule to trigger the event confirmation email. Here's the Civirule.
Tracking Registrations in a Report
We create an Event Report to track all the registrations. We ask people about how they heard about the webinar, and also ask them to share questions ahead of the webinar, so we can share these with the event presenters.
Getting Feedback from Webinar Participants
After the event, we send out a Thank you email with a link to a feedback survey we created using a Civi Profile. This data is helpful for us to see how we can improve our webinars, and get ideas and suggestions of topics people are interested in. Here's the link to the survey we created for the June webinar.
Please Share Your Tips & Questions
Please comment below to share your tips and questions. Thank you!
If you are using GOTOWebinar, the Veda Consulting GoToWebinar Integration for CiviCRM Events extension is fantastic. The hardest part is the initial set up between the Civi and GOTO, once that's done the systems link together so any event I create in GOTO can be chosen to create an event in Civi in a few simple clicks.
Thanks for sharing your tips! If you would prefer to use an open source video platform rather than Zoom there are other options like Jitsi Meet (https://meet.jit.si/).
The image links look to be broken in this post?
Also I'd like to mention another great open source video-conferencing system being organised by https://meet.coop - a provider that you can also be a co-owner of!
Thanks for sharing Roshani! We've done something similar. Although we use a different webinar platform, collecting the data in first in CiviCRM was really important to us to keep a real picture of our contact engagement. On the day of the webinar we export registrations from CiviCRM and import to our webinar software. We send a message from CiviCRM letting them know they will receive a personalised link to join from the external platform, and what to do if they don't receive it. This allows us to match back with registered emails to update CiviCRM with those who attended / didn't attend the webinar.
CiviCRM's import / export tools means this can be done really easily in bulk (we have 500+ registrations per webinar) and we can update our CiviCRM quickly after the event to remind people to share their experiences on our webform.
By using CiviCRM's out of the box import / export means you're not limited to the webinar platform that's right for your organisation as long as it allows you to export (and most do).