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Contributed by
Underfall Yard Trust

Overview

The Underfall Yard Trust is a Bristol-based charity that works to operate, maintain and preserve a local working historic boat yard.

Under normal circumstances, The Underfall Yard Trust offers in-person tours of the site. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust has been offering live virtual tours of the boat yard via Zoom.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since November 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Underfall Yard Trust’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need to safely take part in tours
  • As a member of staff, I need to allow visitors to engage remotely for a low cost

Software and tools used

Zoom

Zoom is a popular online conferencing platform with video, audio, and live text chat. Features include the ability to screen share, as well as to share links and other media during a session.

Cost

Zoom offers a range of subscriptions. The free ‘Basic’ plan allows unlimited one-to-one meetings but has a 40-minute time limit on group sessions.

There are also various options for paid plans:

Pro (£11.99/month/host) Business (£15.99/month/host) Enterprise (£15.99/month/host).

These plans contain increased options for participation and no time restrictions.

Zoom is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

More price options can be found here.

Considerations

Most people are comfortable using Zoom.

It’s important for it to be straightforward for the users and the guide.

You can use it easily on your mobile phone and desktop.

Video quality isn’t very high, so that can be a limitation when you are visually trying to engage audiences.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is an event management and ticketing website. The service allows users to browse, create, and promote local events. 

Cost

Eventbrite is free to use for ‘free to attend’ events. It offers a tiered pricing structure for for-profit events.

You can see more information on Eventbrite pricing here.

Considerations

Eventbrite is a well-established ticketing platform.

Some people may be slightly dubious of this software and the free service can sometimes have its limitations.

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is a popular online tool that allows users to create surveys online for free, and get quick feedback in real time. There are also pre-written templates so that surveys can be made quickly.

Cost

The basic plan on SurveyMonkey is free. SurveyMonkey has three popular paid plans:

Individual Advantage (£32 per month)

Team Advantage (£25 per user per month)

Team Premier (£75 per user per month)

Considerations

The free version of SurveyMonkey can be restrictive.

SurveyMonkey is generally easy to use.

Recipe steps

1. Understand the changes needed

Consider how your physical tours can transition into virtual ones.

Consider which aspects of the tour need to stay and which can be changed to fit a video format.

Think about how safeguarding changes when using a platform like Zoom. For example, if the majority of attendees are children, you may need to disable the chat function, ensure videos are turned off, and that they are all on mute.

2. Perform a practice run

Have an initial practice run to see what works and take note of problems that could arise.

You can use volunteers as attendees to give you feedback on the tour.

3. List the event on ticketing platform

You don’t want to publicly share your Zoom link too widely, as people may start joining who did not initially book a ticket and you could reach your limit.

Don’t integrate the Zoom link with the booking confirmation on Eventbrite, but instead notify users that the link will be sent to them closer to the time.

You can schedule an email two days before the tour with the link.

4. Perform checks before the tour

Check your tech is performing fine and that the Wi-Fi and 4G is working well. You can have another member of staff as an attendee to assess this. Remember that if you’re moving from indoor to outdoor spaces, your phone will want to connect to Wi-Fi even though you are outside. In these instances, remain on 4G throughout the duration of the tour.

Ensure everyone is on mute as they come into the virtual tour space.

5. Assess your equipment

Depending on your budget, you can think about what additional tools could make the tour smoother.

Acquire a selfie stick to make the stream look more professional and stable than using your hand. You can also invest in a stick that allows you to change from front to back camera easily without having to touch your phone.

Consider buying a microphone that reduces background noise.

6. Send feedback

You can send out the feedback form in an email to those who have attended. You can also offer them a way to sign up to newsletters so that they can continue getting information about your charity and the work you do following the tour.

Guidance

Sometimes there can be issues with the camera quality and quality in general. You want to give people a disclaimer about any issues that may occur so that they don’t feel short-changed and are more forgiving if an issue occurs.

You may want to consider what cost you are incurring for your users, as they may expect something very slick if they have to pay for a ticket.

Make clear to people wanting to book to only buy one ticket per household or one ticket per screen so that you can enable as many people to join as possible.

Get people to type up questions into the chat for Q&A on Zoom or even just to use the Q&A function to reduce the chance of getting multiple people speaking at once.

Risks

Because most of the tour takes place on a site that is public, someone in theory could be overheard using bad language. Having said that, these things happen in public too. Transparency is key in these situations.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Andrew

Thanks

Many thanks to Underfall Yard Trust for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Underfall Yard Trust and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 26th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021