Events toolkit

Are you organising an event with Europeana? Running a webinar around digital cultural heritage and not sure where to start? Need tips to organise an online conference? Our events toolkit is here to help. 

Benefits of digital events

Meeting face-to-face with people is important, but there are great benefits to online-only events too. Webinars and online events can: 

  • Engage small to medium sized audiences (10-1,000 people)

  • Provide training

  • Be interactive - allowing participants to share their own knowledge/experience/questions

  • Be a lasting resource - shared afterwards as an online recording

  • Be a resource with a low-carbon footprint (and no travel costs)

  • Encourage participation of speakers anywhere in the world

Decision making

Before organising an event, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself and your team to clarify what you are trying to achieve, and so what you need to plan. Use our PDF to navigate your way through a series of helpful questions.

Online events checklist - graphml file

This format allows you to edit our checklist through yED (free software).


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Title: 11-1 IBM Hullkorttrykkeri
Institution: Telemuseet
Country: Norway
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Online events checklist - PDF

Download and use the checklist as a PDF decision tree. 


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Title: 7.0 IBM . OP Fotografier
Institution: Telemuseet
Country: Norway
CC BY-SA

Measuring success

Once you know what you want your event to achieve, think about how you’re going to measure and evaluate its impact. This will help you to learn about the experience your audience has at the event, and support you to learn, improve, and create more impact.

Below, you can find resources to help you measure the impact of your events, as well as a list of important considerations!

Europeana Impact Playbook

A step by step approach to help cultural heritage professionals design, measure and narrate impact. 


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Title: Europeana Strategy meeting “Migration and culture: how can our past educate our present”
Creator: Sebastiaan ter Burg
Date: 2017-05-24
Institution: Europeana Foundation
Country: Netherlands
CC BY

Europeana standardised question bank

A bank of standardised questions relating to Europeana’s work in digital cultural heritage.


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Title: Vitamin C
Creator: Gwyneth Thurgood
Institution: Wellcome Collection
Country: United Kingdom
CC BY

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10 impact assessment and evaluation considerations for event organisers

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  1. Data protection. People must know why you’re collecting data, what you’ll do with it and how we’ll protect it. If you don’t know this yet, think about this and make sure you are complying with GDPR guidelines.
  2. Timing. Think about the event impact as soon as you start planning the event, and use our impact tools to help design the most impactful event possible. Have your evaluation questionnaire ready before the event so you can send it as soon as possible. 

  3. Your audience. Who is taking part in your event, and how might you survey them? Is it important for you to monitor your audiences (e.g. the gender diversity or affiliations of your participants)?

  4. Collecting your data. Events have lots of opportunities but also challenges in terms of data collection. In many cases, participants register for the event. This is a data collection opportunity. You can also use interactive presentations or tools (e.g. Mentimeter or the Zoom poll feature) that you can use to collect data in real time. A challenge is after the event: you rely on the participants to be willing to spend time sharing their feedback. In some cases, you might get a low response rate. You will also encounter participant bias.

  5. Collect data early. Respecting GDPR, what data can you collect at the registration stage? Can you document a pre-event confidence level on the topic that you are addressing in your event, for example? 

  6. Clear communication. Tell the audience that they’ll be surveyed, what you expect to learn from the data and why this is valuable for you (and in time, them). Clear communication can help with response rates. 

  7. Standardisation. Use the same approach across different events so that the data you collect is comparable. This will also help you set a benchmark for the quality of the change you want to create or for the satisfaction of your event participants. 

  8. The questionnaire is part of experience. Make sure that your questionnaire is short and engaging. Check that it works well, has no typos, uses clear language and only asks relevant questions. 

  9. Short and long-term change. Don’t expect to see long-term outcomes immediately after your event! Change takes time. Ask questions that relate to short-term outcomes and indicators in the post-event questionnaire, and think about how you might assess longer-term outcomes in another way. 

  10. Using the data. How will you use the data after you collect it? Who do you need to share the findings and recommendations with and what will you learn from these?

Tools

There are many webinar platforms and tools to support online events. Your choice will depend on what you need and what your institution’s policies are, but you can explore some of our choices below. We are not affiliated with any of the suppliers, and there are many options out there to explore! 

Roles and responsibilities

At Europeana, we have many people who contribute to events. Below you can see the responsibilities they have - who would perform these activities in your institution? 

  • Event manager: Takes overall responsibility for all events 

  • Event organiser: Takes overall responsibility for the delivery of an individual event/webinar

  • Partner liaison: Informs partners about events and collects their ideas

  • Event coordinator: Manages the  events calendar; sets up registration platform using a template with standard questions, confirmation email, reminders and follow-up emails; act as host and sets up the webinar platform; evaluates the webinar process at regular intervals; supports staff in deciding the appropriate event format/platform for what they want to achieve; creates surveys; coordinates technical test and technical aspects of the webinar delivery on the day

  • Promoter: Creates promotional material; uses own websites plus social media/networking channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, ListServ; makes recording available online

  • Facilitator/Moderator: Chairs the event

  • Audiovisual support: Edits recordings of the event and/or pre-recorded presentations

Formats

There are many ways to structure online events. Think about how much you want to tell, how much you want to listen, and how much you want to discuss. Explore the formats we are working with and some top tips for delivering them online.

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Format options

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Webinars 

  • Maximum of 90 minutes

  • Moderated panel discussion

  • Presenter with/without slideshow

  • Discussion using pre-selected questions

  • Free discussion - using chat or ‘hands-up’ feature to involve audience

  • Letting people ask questions through a Q&A tool, questions are asked by a moderator

Workshops

  • 45 - 60 minutes

  • Use Mentimeter and polls for interaction

  • Q&A

  • Break-out sessions in smaller groups, with a facilitator in each group

  • Use of ‘workbooks’  with exercises that attendees receive before the event (take a look at one of our examples)

  • Use of tools such as Miro, Trello and Jamboard to replicate exercises found in face-to-face workshops

Café

  • 60 minutes.

  • An informal and interactive space where two or three people are invited to start a discussion about a specific topic

  • Afterwards there is the possibility for a Q&A and networking

  • If the cafe is not recorded a recap on the topic can be recorded for sharing afterwards

Pub quiz

  • Maximum of 30 minutes.

  • For socialising!

  • Use mentimeter for questions and scoring board

  • Chat for interaction

Flip the classroom

Attendees watch the presentation online before the event. During the event, the presenters lead exercises and activities related to the topic of the presentation. This means that: 

  • The time during the event can be used for discussion. Make sure to prepare two questions for each speaker.

  • Questions to speakers can be gathered before the event, for example in an open Google document.

  • There is no time loss due to technical issues of people sharing their screen.

  • The videos are usable after the event.

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Delivering online formats

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  • Hardwire your internet connection: this will help avoid any issues with an unstable wifi connection, which can affect audio quality and the overall attendee experience.

  • Test the audio before the webinar begins: organise a run through with all the speakers, making sure they are attending the test in the same place and with the same device they will use for the event, to ensure a good connection and that microphone, sound and vision are working properly before the live event begins. We usually plan a run through with speakers several days before the event. We explicitly ask them to do this from the location and with the device they intend to use for the event.

  • Minimise background noise: try to host your webinar in a quiet place. If you must be in a loud environment, using a headset with a mic often reduces background noise compared with your computer’s built-in microphone. In fact, a headset is a general best practice for higher-quality audio than other built-in options.

  • Dress: If using an event background, wear solid colours to avoid disturbing the background with patterns. Be mindful of any accessories or jewelry if you are expressive with your hands as the noise can be quite distracting. 

  • Set proper expectations: create a clear webinar title and description for the content that will be delivered. Make sure you deliver on the content that was promised in the promotions leading up to the digital event. 

  • Start on time: start the event five minutes early to allow attendees to join before it begins. The host should let attendees know when the event will start and if it will be recorded and shared afterward. If you think that people will join earlier, you can always start the event and prepare an automated slideshow (often called a narrowcast) or a timer to countdown until the start. See an example of a slideshow and timer we have used. 

  • Set the tone: welcome attendees as they join the webinar or meeting. Start with an icebreaker question and ask attendees to send in their answers in the chat. 'Where is everyone joining from today?' 'What are you looking forward to hearing/learning about?' Call out some of the answers you hear and share your own response with the audience. 

Advice for speakers

  • Look at the camera to create eye contact with the audience. This helps to create a more personal connection while presenting.

  • Ask someone to check the chat or Q&A  and then address these questions to the speaker. 

  • Speak as if you’re face-to-face with the audience while ensuring you’re at the appropriate distance from the microphone for the best audio experience.

  • When delivering a presentation, sharing images, files or video, give your audience a moment to open or take in what you’ve shared.

  • Embrace the breaks! Take a moment after the end of your comments and allow for the audience to engage before continuing on.

Planning processes

Use our templates and practical checklists to help plan your event and read our guidance for how to communicate about your event - before and after it takes place.

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Communications for events

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Before the event

  • Decide if the event will benefit from a hashtag on social media; how high profile is it? Is it lasting a day or longer? Are people likely to want to use it to connect with other attendees? Have you got a hashtag you want to use, and if so, has it been used in other contexts before? Check with someone from your communications team for advice. 

  • Prepare promotional text - include title, date, time (including timezone), topic, speakers and a link to register. Think about all the channels/audiences you have and create texts tailored to each one. Make sure you tell them why should they attend - what will they get out of the event?

  • Prepare key visuals for the event.

  • Prepare your registration page - include your promotional text as well as any technical information registrants need to know.

  • Prepare email confirmation, reminders and follow-up messages for attendees and speakers. Include technical joining information, relevant resources from the event or opportunities to join other activities.

  • Prepare your post-event survey - set up a template if you are running multiple webinars so that you collect the same information each time and can then make comparisons. 

Sharing the event

  • Use channels you own such as your own websites and newsletters; we collect all events together on our Events page

  • Use social media/networking channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn to share details of your event. Ask your communications colleagues for advice about the best way to reach your desired audience. 

  • Use mailing lists such as newsletters or ListServs.

  • Tell your own colleagues about the event - do you use Slack? Or an internal newsletter?

  • Keep track of the event registrations and send reminders if necessary - you can tweet a couple of times - or retweet what others have shared. 

During the event

  • People may tweet during the session - share the hashtag at the start of the event and on the visuals associated with the event.

  • Have someone responsible for monitoring and responding to social media posts/tweets.

  • Have someone responsible for watching and responding to the platform’s chat function.

  • Share the survey link.

  • Inform people if you are recording the event and if you intend to share it - they need to be aware.

After the event

  • Make your recording available online - whether that’s just on YouTube/Vimeo or embedded on your own site. We curate recordings of past events on our Webinars page

  • Send a ‘thank you’ email to registrants with any resources such as the slideshow used in the event, the recording of the event and the survey link

  • Don’t forget to check back on what people posted on social media about your webinar, to learn about what worked well (or didn’t!) and use this to inform planning for future events. 

  • You may want to do a blog post or newsletter write-up of your event to share the resources and the recording.

Communicating with presenters

  • In order to make sure your speakers know exactly what you’d like them to do and when, it’s useful to set up a presenter brief that contains everything they need to know. Keep it as short as you can so that important information is easy to spot.

  • Make sure your presenters are aware of what you would like them to do and relevant deadlines, so that you can get in touch to remind them to, for example, send their bio in, or attend the technical test session.

  • Make sure your speakers are aware if you intend to record and share the session, and plan how you will respond to any concerns or manage any edits they request. 

  • Ask your speakers and partners to share the event announcements - offer draft promotional text which they can use.

  • After the event, send a ‘thank you’ email to your speakers and anyone else involved in the event, along with an opportunity to give feedback on the process.

Risk management

Being prepared for things going wrong can help you to manage risks associated with online events. By testing your platform and your running order, you can work through some of the most common issues. Make sure you set up at least one test session/rehearsal  a few days before so that you have time to resolve any issues and test the following:

  • The coordinator can share screen and background slides, and take back control of the screen if needed.

  • The presenter(s) can join, hear, see, be heard, be seen, share their screen and play audio.

  • The moderator can monitor time; you may wish to test sending private messages to the presenter to alert them they have five minutes left.

  • The coordinator can mute/unmute other participants if necessary.

  • The coordinator can record the webinar and archive the chat discussion. 

  • Organisers and presenters have a channel through which they can communicate about the event (a ‘back channel’), particularly if any problems arise.

  • Everyone is aware of all roles and responsibilities, and clear on how to respond if any technological or other problems arise.

  • Participants can easily engage via a chat/messaging function.

Explore more

Events
Title: Merry Company
Creator: Isack Elyas
Date: 1629
Institution: Rijksmuseum
Country: Netherlands
Public Domain

Events

Europeana organises, attends and highlights a number of events throughout the year - explore some of interest.

Webinars
Title: [Ràdios Pla]
Creator: Desconegut
Date: 1930/1940
Institution: Ajuntament de Girona
Country: Spain
Public Domain

Webinars

Explore and watch previous webinars the Europeana Initiative and its communities have run for, and with, cultural heritage professionals.

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