Going Virtual

Tools to Take Cultural Programs Online

As organizations continue to adapt to the new regulations and guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are turning to digital solutions as a way to present their programming to audiences. The option to have a digital component, or switch to an entirely digital event, is an exciting new prospect that organizations can consider to continue their programming at a time when so much uncertainty about live events exists.

While digital technology is an exciting tool, it can also be an overwhelming one. There are numerous software programs available, and it can be difficult to decide which one best meets an organization’s needs.

While most software can be effective at getting an event online, some are better suited to certain kinds of events, and the best uses for the different types of software should be considered.

What Types of Software Are There?


Video Meetings:

Meeting software, like web conferencing, allows organizations to host online meetings and conferences. Unlike web conferencing, video conferencing focuses on allowing large meetings and interactivity between everyone on the video call.

Best Uses: Annual General Meetings; staff meetings; small meetings

Benefits: Connects remote participants together easily; allows access to key documents and file sharing; allows for moderated contact through video and audio conferencing

Features: Moderation tools; video/audio and text chat; screen sharing; file and document sharing; task assignment and follow-up; polls/surveys/quizzes/voting tools

Examples: Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting

Further Reading:

How to Get Started with Online Meetings

What it Take to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

How to Run Effective Virtual Meetings

Evaluating Video Conferencing Vendors

COVID-19 Ultimate Guide to Free Video Conferencing & Collaboration


Virtual Classroom:

Virtual classroom software allows teachers, instructors, and organizations to engage with learners online.

Best Uses: One-on-one lessons; group lessons; workshops; lectures

Benefits: Allows instructors to move classes online easily; supports remote teaching; can build full class lessons online and save video courses for future use

Features: Moderation tools; chat options for text and video/audio; allow single person or multi-person classrooms; digital whiteboard; file sharing/document sharing capabilities; quizzes/polls; recording of video lessons for sharing after the event; course creation

Examples: Newrow, Adobe Connect, WizIQ, BigBlueButton

Further Reading:

Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Virtual Classroom

Virtual Classrooms: A Quick-Start Guide

Hosting a Virtual Classroom



Webinar software allows organizations to conduct live interactive and recorded video presentations. Like virtual classroom software, there is a focus on interactivity with the presenter but audience’s video/participation is minimized.

Best Uses: Lectures; workshops; presentations

Benefits: Moderation tools; audio/video and text chat; ‘hand raise’ Q&A features; screen sharing; virtual whiteboard; surveys/polling; file sharing

Examples: GoToWebinar, Livestorm, EasyWebinar, WebinarNinja

Further Reading:

How Do Webinars Work: A Beginner’s Guide

Beginner’s Guide to Webinars: Planning Your Webinar

Insider’s Guide to Better Webinars 


Live Streaming:

Live streaming software allows organizations to broadcast live events online and provide a way to engage with audiences. Using a webcam and microphone equipment, organizations can take an in-person event and stream it for audiences to access online from anywhere.

Best Uses: One-time performances, such as concerts or dramatic performances

Benefits: Connects to existing social media channels allowing for easy promotion; can be added as a component to a live, in-person event; numerous free options available

Features: Audience interaction options; text chat:, can support multiple camera in a single stream; social media integration options; allows recording for future sharing of event

Examples: Crowdcast, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Vimeo Livestream

Further Reading:

How to Live Stream: A Beginner’s Survival Guide

How to Live Stream Like a Pro – A Beginner’s Guide

A Quick Guide to Livestreaming for Beginners

Ultimate Guide to Learn how to Live Stream an Event

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Live Streaming Your Art


Video Conferences and Events Hosting:

Virtual event hosting software allows organizations to conduct interactive, multi-session conferences and meetings online; it provides a hub for a variety of different events and activities; it offers rooms where delegates can network online; it provides online exhibit spaces.

Best Uses: Large meetings/gatherings such as festivals, conferences, virtual fairs, and/or multi-day events that feature a schedule of multiple speakers at different times, or the same time on different channels.

Benefits: Provides a hub were multiple events can be accessed by registered users.

Features: Moderation tools for meeting hosts; best-suited for events with multiple presentations; chat options with attendees; polls/surveys/quizzes and other interactive tools; presenter screen sharing; breakout chat rooms within the same event

Examples: Pheedloop, Airmeet, vFairs, Aventri, cVent

Further Reading:

Web Conferencing 101 for Nonprofits

Virtual Events in 2020: The Ultimate Guide

How to Host a Successful Virtual Event

Virtual Conferences and Events

Virtual Conferences & Events: A Comprehensive Guide to Doing it Right


These are just a few examples of the software and services available to take events online.

Ultimately, the software selected is up to each organization, based on its program or event needs. While some  have multiple uses, such as Zoom’s web conferencing and live-streaming capabilities, it may not always be the best piece of software for  a specific event. Websites, such as Capterra, can help identify program or event needs and make recommendations for suitable software. Keep in mind that software technology continues to be developed, refined, and released so the best option today may not be the best option tomorrow.