The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC) held their Northwest Regional ICAC Conference as a hybrid event with Whova’s platform. Because information privacy was non-negotiable for the conference’s specialized training, the ICAC’s event planning team utilized Whova’s content control capabilities to host nearly 800 attendees with total information security.
About the ICAC Task Force Program
Comprising over 4,500 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies in the United States, the ICAC Task Force Program is the national effort to combat internet crimes against children. The ICAC Program helps these federal, state, and local agencies develop effective training and responses to online child abuse and exploitation.
As one of the program’s educational approaches against crime, the Northwest Regional ICAC Conference invites law enforcement professionals from around the world to train together on how to best fight child-focused cyber crimes. In its eight years, the conference has grown from a local gathering of 20 people in Washington to an international event with nearly 800 attendees from 13 countries.
- Overall event information security
Due to the sensitive nature of the event’s subject matter, it was imperative that what happened in the conference stayed in the conference.
- Content control
While law enforcement and prosecutors were the primary attendees, some select civilians could attend the event. However, some sessions were restricted to officers only, so the organizers needed a way to distribute classified content to just this group of attendees.
- Small organizing team
The conference’s four-member planning team had to organize an international conference on top of their regular task force duties. The resources they used had to be efficient and effective.
- Facilitating engagement
The whole point of the conference is to learn from each other, so encouraging attendees to make connections organically was important for the organizers.
- Sponsor and exhibitor visibility
Because the conference is a free event, the ICAC Task Force Program relies heavily on sponsorship to make the event possible. Keeping sponsors and exhibitors satisfied with their ROI was vital.
- Ticket session mapping
One of Whova’s most popular features is Ticket Session Mapping. This feature lets organizers create multiple ticket types, which integrates into the event management system and allows them to actually choose which sessions a ticket has access to. For this conference, the organizers created different ticket types for law enforcement officials, prosecutors, representatives from NGOs, and educators, then personally curated which tracks and sessions were available to each ticket type. So when the time came for the officer-only sessions, the civilians had no access whatsoever to the session content. The information stayed confidential and consistent to their ticket type.
Organizers could map certain ticket types to only be able to view certain sessions
- Responsive customer support
With a small team managing the event, the organizers particularly appreciated being able to reach out to Whova’s customer support for help with any of their event’s unique needs. Because of the sensitive topics and classified information discussed at the conference, the organizers had specific security standards and scenarios that other events wouldn’t typically have. Organizer Kelly Crouch greatly appreciated Whova’s case managers, IT, and engineers “individualizing” the platform’s preset features to accommodate her organization’s needs.
What we appreciated most was the one-on-one support from our program manager on Whova’s behalf. […] We provide a lot of unique scenarios in the security levels that we’re looking for that a traditional conference may not be looking for. The customer service and the IT and engineers working with us to come up with workarounds or unique solutions to our problems has been huge.Kelly Crouch
- Pre-scheduled announcements
Another feature that saved Kelly time and worry was Whova’s Announcements, which not only lets organizers send reminders to specific attendees, but also lets them be scheduled ahead of time. Because of COVID, morning check-ins had to be done before the actual conference. So instead of waking up at 5:30AM everyday to send the announcement herself, Kelly scheduled the reminders for that time during her normal waking hours. Announcements saved her from having to remind herself to remind everyone else each morning.
The organizers scheduled announcements ahead of time to save time during the event
- Engagement features
Speaker-attendee interaction and attendee-attendee interaction thrived during the conference. Attendees exchanged over 2,400 personal messages on the Whova app, as well as arranged in-person get-togethers using the Meet-ups feature. Speakers started discussions on the app’s Community Board before their sessions began to gauge topic interest and get a raw estimate of the attendees’ knowledge of the subject. This helped the attendees get excited for the session as well as helped the session be driven by the attendees’ interests.
For us, engagement is huge. Our speakers love that they can start discussions before their sessions even start.Kelly Crouch
- Tiered sponsorship
This conference generated over 740,000 sponsor impressions with high tier sponsors achieving especially high visibility through the Whova app. The organizers created multiple tiers for their sponsors on the platform, and offered prime visibility to those willing to pay more. The conference’s continuing Platinum Sponsor and hosting partner was featured first in Whova’s virtual Sponsor Center, and high-tier sponsors and their names and logos featured on banners throughout the platform, drawing the eyes of attendees from the get-go.
High tier sponsors were featured throughout the event with in-app banners