States are re-opening and your organization is probably preparing to follow suit. It feels good to throw open the doors again, but as in-person events return, there are plenty of reasons to continue offering virtual programs. As you plan for restricted in-person instruction in the time of COVID-19, consider these reasons for continuing your virtual programs as well.
Members Uncomfortable to Return
While the country reopens and day-to-day life approaches “normal” again, the threats of the pandemic have not disappeared. People in high-risk categories, such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, may not feel comfortable returning to in-person activities right now. If you continue to offer virtual programs, those most at-risk can participate from the safety of their own homes and benefit from being a part of the community during this time of increased isolation.
The beauty of offering virtual programs is that participants can log on from anywhere. Because you aren’t restricted by demographics you can reach interested parties wherever they reside. Consider reaching out to nursing homes, schools or childcare centers to see if they are interested in participating in online group classes. What was once impossible due to logistics is now possible—and for the benefit of all it should stay that way.
Chances are that your reopening comes with many conditions, including limiting the number of people allowed in your facility at one time and restricted class sizes. Those restrictions will undoubtedly hit your bottomline, but online courses can help increase revenue. Because there’s no limit to the number of participants you can allow into your online programs, they may prove to be more lucrative than your in-person classes, even when compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
One of the most beneficial aspects of online programming is the flexibility it provides for members. Not only can your members take part in your programs from home, but they also have the ability to access recorded versions of the programs at a later time should they be unable to catch the live stream. Likewise, providing live content online allows people with tight schedules—such as a one-hour lunch—to squeeze in your program during their break; something that would not be possible if they had to commute to your facility to participate.
It takes money to keep the lights on, literally, and that’s why hosting virtual programs will help your organization cut costs. Your budget likely includes line items like the cost of utilities, paying a crew to clean the facility, and purchasing and maintaining equipment. When you offer programs virtually, those line items disappear and that unspent money can be socked away to fund other crucial programs.
Offer More Choices
At your facility there’s only so much space to host classes and that limits the number of programs you can offer at one time. You don’t face such restrictions online, however, which means that you can offer as many programs as your members demand. Virtual programs are also a great opportunity to try out new courses you’ve been itching to test for years, since overhead—and risk—is lower with online programs.