So what exactly are Virtual Events?
Many charities and non-profits host "fun run," walking, or biking events. These are wonderful! They bring together their community of volunteers for financial support and fellowship. Many communities have developed that are spread across the country, and sometimes the world, so they cannot come together for events "in person."
Virtual events are fun, engaging activities that take place over a certain time period, but are able to include people all over the world! The events themselves can be walked, run, biked, swam, done on a treadmill, on a rowing machine, elliptical, or any other way you choose. The distance can also be completed all at once or spread throughout the event time period.
The race is completed when and where it is convenient to you, in the way that is most enjoyable!
Why a virtual event instead of an "in person" event?
There are two primary reasons. The first, as described above, is that not everyone can participate in an "in person" event. Possible participants may live too far away, not be able to run/bike/etc. so need an alternative activity, or may simply have a conflict the day an event is planned.
The second reason is that in person events are very time and resource intensive. The host needs to find a way to do everything from find a route, to work with their city to get permits, to finding and coordinating event volunteers, to having water available. Once every aspect of an event is planned, the entire thing becomes contingent on the weather cooperating! Anything that does not take time, will cost the hosting charity or non-profit money, which ultimately is counterproductive to their fundraising goals.
Virtual events eliminate many of the planning aspects for event hosts. A time frame is presented, and anyone who wants to participate is able to complete the event when and how they are able.
If no one is participating at the same time, how does this build community?
The sense of community is maintained primarily through social media. Everyone is encouraged to post pictures and write about their experiences, and why they are participating in the event. Completing the events in small groups of friends, families, colleagues, etc. is highly encouraged so you can support one another while supporting a cause you believe in!