Coronavirus

Ways you can help your community

How to set up an online activity or event

Last updated: 24 March, 2020

Setting up an online activity or event means: 

  • people in your community can still get together and interact with each other

  • there's no event space hire or catering costs

  • people can view a recording of the activity or event at a time that suits them 

What you need  

  • a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone with an in-built camera and microphone 

  • access to wifi 

  • a quiet room 

  • tripod or a stack of books 

Top tips  

1. Decide whether to run the event live or pre-record your activity or event 

Live stream means that you all go online at the same time, interact with the event or activity together, then stop at the same time. 

It can be a good option if you want: 

  • other people to interact with you or each other during the event – this can be via audio, video or messaging  

  • to stream something as it's happening 

  • to record the event or activity and share it with people later 

Pre-recording means you record your activity or event in advance.    

It can be a good option if you: 

  • don't need other people to interact with you or each other during the recording 

  • want a few attempts at recording it  

  • want to share the activity or event with people later – you can still set a time to do this so that a group watches it together 

2. Structure the activity or event  

Decide what format you want the event to take. You can: 

  • chat with others over video or audio   

  • share your screen so that your guests can see what you’re seeing – that could be a slide deck, a video or documents 

  • run a webinar (usually someone presenting a seminar of a topic, followed by questions) 

  • record a session in advance, then watch it as a group to get feedback     

Work out how long the event or activity will take.  

Plan what you want to cover within that time and allocate rough timings.  

3. Choose what software you’ll use  

You can live stream or pre-record for free on your device using: 

You need to register for these services but your guests won’t need to. Or you can record live videos and get live comments from people in your network using: 

4. Decide how you’ll take payments (if you’re charging for your online event) 

You can use: 

5. Let people know about your event  

Pre-record  

If you’ve already recorded your activity or event, you’ll have a link to the recording. 

You can send this to your network via email or on social media.  

Live stream  

You'll be able to get a link from the service you’re using which will only be active when you log on at the set time. You can send this out to your network in advance, via email or on social media.  

Allowing people to register in advance can help you get an idea of how many people to expect, and who they are. 

When you send it out include: 

  • what the event or activity is 

  • who it’s for  

  • what they’ll get out of it

  • when it is

  • if there’s anything they need to prepare

  • that it’s online

6. Share any materials and ask for feedback   

If you’ve prepared any materials for the activity or event, like a presentation or video, share it with the people who attended the event. 

This is often a good opportunity to ask for feedback too. You could ask them to reply to your email or social media post, or use a survey like Google forms.  

Make it for everyone 

  • explain how the event will be structured and how people can contribute 

  • reassure people that they don’t have to contribute if they don’t want to 

  • let people know how they can turn their camera on or off 

  • let people know how they can mute or unmute  

  • regularly check in with the group, encourage feedback 

  • if there’s a messaging or chat service, check if there are any comments there 

  • make sure there are no flashing lights  

  • use British Sign Language interpreters if possible 

  • recap what you’ve been through at the end  

  • share any slides or materials after the event  

  • if you send out the recording afterwards, include a transcript 

Useful websites 

Readability guidelines: presentations 

Guidelines on creating accessible presentations 

Run the world

A platform you can run online events from


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