The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) utilized Whova’s app to organize a highly engaging 2-week virtual summit. The conference took place between April 5-16 and was hosted 100% online. While the organizers were initially worried about turnout for a virtual event, IUCN ended up selling over 17,000 tickets. Event engagement was simplified using the Whova app, ensuring thousands of engagement actions happened seamlessly during the two-week IUCN event.
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About IUCN Global Youth Summit
The IUCN Global Youth Summit was hosted online through the Whova platform, allowing thousands of youth leaders to connect virtually to discuss ways to strengthen international networks and build momentum for conservation movements. The global event had over ten session tracks, which consisted of over 300 virtual live streamed sessions, and featured speakers located across the world, including France, Hawai’i, India, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Canada.
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While COVID-19 delayed or canceled many in-person events, plenty of events successfully moved online. IUCN worked with Whova to make sure this 2-week online event was a success by addressing concerns such as:
- Promoting online registration and attendance
The IUCN held its first virtual global youth summit in 2021. Being the first time holding an event like this, registration and promoting attendance was seen as a challenge by IUCN. Transitioning away from in-person events, the IUCN had to find a way to deal with online registration and attendance to support the many challenges an event of this size can face. The Whova platform simplified the process, allowing attendees to attend and communicate during the event conveniently from one platform.
- Managing a large event with many attendees and sessions
The IUCN saw a unique way to grow their attendance by holding more workshops than they may have held at a live event. By putting on a virtual conference, IUCN expanded its audience size compared to in-person events. However, this meant organizers needed an effective way of virtually contacting a large number of attendees.
- Creating virtual networking opportunities
Virtual networking can be difficult, especially with an online event of this size where attendees might feel lost in the crowd. IUCN wanted to make sure they provided many opportunities for attendees to interact in sessions and make valuable connections with other attendees or leaders during the event.
- Hosting engaging online events
Various challenges can present themselves when hosting online events, such as giving attendees opportunities to meet others, ask questions, and have meaningful discussions. Additionally, organizers faced the challenge of quickly and accurately showing the event schedule to all attendees.
1. Whova’s tools streamlined IUCN’s virtual registration and attendance process. Organizers were able to connect their social media accounts to manage promotional campaigns quickly. Whova can also help organizers promote their event with the Social Media Center, encouraging attendees, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors to promote the event within their social channels to expand their organic reach. This is made easy with pre-made branded social media posts that are shareable right from the Whova app.
The organizers were able to easily promote specific sessions with an automatically generated agenda webpage
The organizers also used Whova tools to automatically generate branded event and registration web pages to attract potential attendees, giving organizers a streamlined way to improve registration and attendance while reaching a large audience. The organizers promoted their event by sharing their website across social media. With Whova’s web page generation tools, organizers could quickly generate an agenda web page plugin with pre-made, professional designs customized to their brand.
2. Managing and attending this large online event was simplified using the Whova platform. Organizers were able to run as many concurrent sessions as they needed, and attendees could easily participate in sessions. Live-streamed or pre-recorded video sessions were embedded directly into agenda items so attendees could quickly attend sessions and engage with event content through a chat, polling, and Q&A sidebar next to the session video.
Attendees engaged with sessions through a chat and Q&A sidebar
Additionally, the organizers could share important announcements with the community by sending essential details with in-app push notifications or emails to event participants. Whova’s Community Board also allowed attendees to communicate and discuss the event, sessions, photo contests, and more. Fluid communication within the Whova platform was critical to creating natural interaction between attendees.
3. Networking sessions for the IUCN event were promoted through social platforms and email and set up using the Whova meet-up feature. The IUCN organizers created over 100 meetups themselves and announced the schedule to attendees, and encouraged attendees to create their own virtual meetups through the app.
Attendees were also able to follow up on their connections with networking tools like one-on-one messaging and attendee matchmaking based on interests, backgrounds, company affiliations, schools, and more, facilitating more natural interactions. During the virtual event, over 300 meetups occurred, and over 6,500 attendees participated in virtual sessions.
Whova matchmaking helped attendees make more valuable connections by connecting them based on factors like background and interests
4. Organizers were able to better engage attendees at the IUCN Global Youth Summit by promoting gamification. Using the fact that most attendees were under 35 and semi tech-savvy to the organizer’s advantage, IUCN ran a photo contest to keep attendees engaged by encouraging them to share photos across the platform. Attendees could also join in on event-wide discussions through on the event’s Community Board forum, and as well as connect one-on-one with private messages.
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