- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
FINAL TAKEAWAYS: MAKING A VIRTUAL CONFERENCE POP
Reflecting back on the Millennial Donor Summit, one thing is certain, underneath all the fancy new technology, attendees must find value in their participation. Sessions can be packed with great content, but attending all of the sessions back-to-back, while sitting in one place all day, can also result in information overload. Here are some of our biggest takeaways for ensuring a virtual convening “pops” with your audience.
- Solid planning and execution: Virtual conferences need good planning and execution. It takes time and effort to get this right, and without appropriate planning on the front end you risk losing control of your participants in a bigger way than if you were trying to troubleshoot in person.
- Trusted technology provider: Streaming and live video is wonderful in concept, but it needs to have a solid technology foundation so it will work no matter what the participant’s environment happens to be. Just because the technology works on your side doesn’t mean the users aren’t running into difficulty with their own firewalls, connection speeds, etc.
- High energy, informative and interactive sessions. Just like an in-person convening, without these elements, a conference can fall flat and disappoint those who have set aside the time and paid to come together to be inspired. The same holds true in a virtual setting, but getting that right can be more of a challenge.
- Rockstar panelists. To create interaction, presenters need to be creative, well-prepared, and have a plan for engaging the audience in the Q&A process. Engagement cannot be left up to chance, and is vital to the success of a session. Suddenly in a virtual format, participants have easier access to speakers—if the speaker is responsive to comments and questions from audience members the session will be much more engaging for all.
- Strong visual appeal. Just like an in-person conference, the appearance of a virtual conference requires attention as well. When our site design was initially set up, the graphics featured a bunch of white men in business suits hanging around the main entrance. That was not the look and feel we were going for, and we worked to make the design reflect the diversity of the crowd we planned to attract. Virtual signage is also important so that participants know exactly where to go and how to navigate to the various venues, be it the discussion lounges, registration, expo hall, etc.