Exclusive Interview! How CPHR re-invented the sponsorship experience.

FMAV INTERVIEWS ERIN RODDIE ON HOW THEY REDEFINED VALUE FOR THEIR SPONSORS USING AV TECHNOLOGY

We continue to enjoy annual increases in registration numbers and profits for our annual conference, says Erin Roddie, an association planner at CPHR Yukon and BC.

Download this interview to learn how CPHR was able to overcome sponsorship challenges , how they re-defined value for their sponsors and how using AV technology helped boost their events’ ROI.

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Collaborating with the Timewise and One West Event Design, FMAV wanted to create an immersive experience that would welcome and accommodate high calibre speakers and keynotes. While also providing a warm welcoming space that encouraged networking and conversation.

The designing of the main room (the Process)

The team (FMAV & Timewise) met in the Edmonton office to align and frame the event towards creating a narrative to explain the value it represents to its various stakeholders.
The first step was a Stakeholder Alignment Exercise (more details can be found here). From the exercise the team identified the high impact stakeholders that would provide a high return on investment, if the design was focused on them.

 

Stakeholder_Alignment

 

The team then took those key stakeholders, and performed a Rapid Empathy Exercise. They mapped out a statement each stakeholder would make before the event, as well as a statement for after the event. These statements helped to understand the change in behaviour the event would create. It also contributed to articulating the events value further.
We then dug a little deeper into each stakeholder. The team wanted to understand the level of experience the stakeholders wanted. We asked the question, on a scale of 1-10 where would the stakeholder sit?

1= simple and accessible                   10= highly experiential/disruptive.

 

 

 

 

 

Then we performed a Presenter Intimacy Matrix, with one axis being up on a “Rockstar” i.e. up on pedestal, inaccessible, star power. Vs “Best Friend” intimate, reach out and touch them, like best friends sharing a coffee, being close to and getting to associate with the presenter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the Vibe? We listed words that speak to the feeling at the event.

From that activity and information, we identified our event narrative which was:

‘Go West offers event professionals in Western Canada the opportunity to come together to make meaningful connections, educate, elevate, and engage within a community. Presenting the Western Canadian region as brave thought leaders, actively embracing innovation. Leading the industry with smart, effective event design.’

 

Additionally, the goal for the producers was to grow the events stature, exposé, attendance and educational impact.

 

Achieving the narrative

To achieve this narrative we applied several design strategies in the main room, firstly we manipulated the shape to break the standard rectangular box. Creating a triangular shape with video screens and impactful draping. The shape served two purposes, firstly to focus attention on the main stage, and secondly, to envelope the audience as if the screens and drape were arms embracing them.

To reinvent the stage experience and to compliment the shape of the room, FMAV designed a diamond shaped stage allowing audience members closer access to the presenters while keeping the stage height above 36” in order to give the presenters an air of rock stardom.

Utilizing FMAV’s GeoMod Stage Set solution, we designed a maple leaf referencing our proud Canadian heritage. OneWest Event Design came to the party with mixed seating arrangements. Strategically placed to encourage attendees to interact with each other and connect with content and conversation outside of the onstage presentations.

To add to the sense of audience intimacy, FMAV designed a rigging plot that had truss lines raking down towards the back of the room creating lower ceiling, bringing an intimate mood to the audience area while keeping the main stage theatrical.

To accentuate the rake of the truss, tiered seating was installed at the back of the room, allowing attendees to get a higher vantage point, creating a unique experience.

 

Some small subtle technology choices were made to enable and enhance the attendee’s connection to the presenters. For example a robotic camera was positioned at the back corner of the stage near the presenter’s entry point, it allowed for a reverse angle shot capturing the presenters entering and exit from the stage. The shot choice in essence ‘broke the 4th wall’ showing the audience a part of the backstage experience of which most attendees are very familiar. It both humanized and energized the arrival and departure of each presenter.

The IMAG screens were portrait orientated to allow for a full body shot making the presenter 16’ high, enhancing the gravitas and feeding that ‘rock star’ esthetic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this came together to achieve the event narrative with great effect. Allowing Timewise, FMAV, and OneWest Event Design to contribute in our own ways to create community, foster innovation and show our pride of Western Canada.

If you would like to replicate this success at your event and design amazing experiences for your audience,  connect with us now!

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FMAV’s Year in Review

Taking a look back on a fantastic year of events that made up 2019. Thank you for being part of our journey.

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3 Key Takeaways from Engaging Association Forum 2019

1- There is power within you to make change

Chris Cummings said:  “There is a power within you to make change and it starts with small acts.  By taking those steps you help others take steps towards their improvement and change.” We believe technology is a powerful tool to enable positive change.  But technology alone is not enough we must better understand human behaviour to understand how the technology will change it. Combining those two elements is the most impactful way to create change.

2Choose the high Impact results driven activities

Erin said: “Don’t just add solutions or services increasing complexity.  Choose the high impact results driven activities your associations can offer members. Then be critical about activities that don’t provide value and remove them” The same is true when it comes to AV.  Pick the technologies that reinforce your associations story and value proposition. When FMAV designs solutions, we focus on the transformational change they can create. If a technology does not provide enhance or reinforce the human connection, it should be eliminated in favour of one that does.

3- Get unscripted

Jennifer Spear asked us to “get unscripted, it might be a little scary, but all the uncertainty and ambiguity opens up many new opportunities that might not have been evident otherwise.” FMAV believes events are a never-ending prototype. An opportunity to experiment with innovative design strategies and technologies. Overtime that experimentation evolves your stakeholders experience. Improving and enhancing their connections to other stakeholders and your instructional content. By understanding your event goals and stakeholder objectives we limit the risks associated with being “unscripted.” Together with our clients we design towards our shared goals, knowing that together our process and alignment will enable us to make smart choices.

Creative and Design Zone Prototype Audit:

Through the EventCanvas design process the Engaging Association Forum (EAF) design team identified that Executive and Planner attendees wanted to have the opportunity to experiment with new activation techniques and experience innovative design strategies hands on.  To empower this, FMAV created several experiences for the attendees.

What worked:

  • “Silent Breakout” in the main room.  We received very positive feedback from both attendees and presenters regarding this style of delivery.  Although a little foreign at first everyone embraced the idea in practice and many suggested it was a good way to use one room and keep the entire community connected and intimate. Some commented that they were considering “making their entire event happen on the tradeshow floor using the head set technology”. FMAV can provide strategy, pricing and technology guidance to activate this at your associations event.
  • The engagement walls:  Encouraging people to contribute to the conversations around business and personal challenges was well received.  People liked the technology and analogue tactile nature of the activations.  Many said the topics and activities spurred conversations during lunch and created many great opportunities to learn from their fellow attendees.  Peer group learning is often overlooked or under activated at events.  Planners often focus on the keynote stage presentations and do not allow time for attendees to share learning and experiences with their peers.  The engagement walls did a good job to getting conversations started and encouraged people to share their experiences that might have been missed without the catalyst to share.
  • Shift your thinking games and cards:

Many attendees said the card games were an interesting addition.  Several commented that they would like to utilize them at their internal board meetings to help get the creative thoughts flowing. The favourite was Event Cards by Designing. Events, many attendees liked how it had tangible recommendations and how the cards linked to each other helping the design team to uncover opportunities to create one activation that achieved multiple positive outcomes

  • The EventCanvas Design Space:  The Event Canvas design space allowed people to see the steps that were taken to understand the events stakeholders.  It allowed people to learn more about the methodology and ask questions from practitioners.  Several attendees have used the methodology and were very happy to share their experiences and how it impacted their events.  This has been the most talked about activation post event.  With several associations taking steps to apply it to their next conference.  Contact FMAV to find out more about how you can learn the methodology and how it can be applied to designing your event.

What didn’t:

  • Virtual Reality: Like a lot of VR activations at live events FMAV struggled to get people fully engaged in the solution.  When an events focus is on inter personal interactions VR can often derail that aim.  When a person puts a VR headset on they are full immersed in the virtual environment.  Which is handy if
    you want undivided attention. But, it does remove that individual from the group experience.  This can deter people who are already feeling connected with their peers and fear the distraction will push them out of the loop.  VR works great as a training tool, Tradeshow environments benefit from it especially. But its deployment must be heavily strategized to get the best results.

Several attendees were interested in the way FMAV uses VR to help planners previsualize what their room design will look like.  The concept of allowing the CEO or other presenters feel like they are on the stage before they get to the real-world example is very empowering and helps to build confidence in that presenter.  Several also expressed an interest in learning more about the unique educational delivery methods VR can offer.

Games, Games, Games:

FMAV provided some fun games to encourage people to unlock their thinking.  Some people got into them while others were more interested in the networking activations. This outcome was anticipated but the experiment was worth the effort anyway.  For future events the EAF organizers and FMAV will better understand the style of game to install and how attendees will interact with them.

Games engaged: 

GeoMod Stage Set Designer (people have asked for their stage set to be priced out.  If you forgot to ask or want to design your own ask us for more details)

Fast puzzles. People like to win quick and move on.

Giant Jenga.  Because it is fun!

Games that didn’t engage:

Paper plane Fly Win competition.  Just not this groups cup of tea.  They are looking for tangible activities that teach them something and/or increase their sense of community.  This might have been more embraced if activity time was allocated to it and a final competition was held.

Complex puzzles. They distracted people from interacting with each other.

 

We always encourage event planners to experiment.  We learn from experiment and evolve the experience until we have a well focused set of activities that are targeted towards specific attendee personalities and event outcomes. Trying new things can be risky and stressful, but when new and exciting ideas are a hit it out weighs the misses.  The key is to really dig into who you stakeholders are and what’s important to them.  Then push them a little out of their comfort zone a little and measure the changes until you hit positive improvements in their behaviour.

Games used:

FoxMind Games Disruptus: : An Award-Winning Card Game Designed to Open Every Mind

 

Buy them here

 

Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck : A creative thinking Toolbox

Buy them here

Designing Event Event Cards: Designing.Events is a new research based method to easily design innovative events that matter.

 

Buy them here

Four Options for Top Easy-to-use Fundraising Apps

If you are in the not-for-profit or fundraising business, collecting donations is a key objective for your events. Although traditional auctions and donation collection still exists, the rise of mobile bidding apps have made it easier than ever to reach your fundraising goals. Some non-profits have reported a 30% increase in their fundraising revenue after implementing mobile bidding technology at their special events.

At events, bidding tables can become crowded, not to mention those donors who are adamant on going home with the item in question-and are willing do whatever it takes. With a mobile bidding app, donors no longer have to wait in lines or battle each other at the table. Instead, it allows donors to complete the bidding process within a couple minutes on their own device, leaving more time to enjoy the event, and less time combating lines or competitors.

There are many of easy-to-use fundraising apps already out there to help you reach your event fundraising goals and engage your audience to donate. Here are 4 options that our clients would recommend.

32 auctions

32 auction is an easy online silent auction website. You can choose a custom link for your organization or cause, personalize it by applying your branding, displaying a goal meter, highlighting sponsors, and more. Enter 1 to 1000 items with descriptions and images.

FEATURES:

  • Free Basic Features option.
  • Organizers and attendees can receive instant notifications: Keep participants engaged in the items they’re interested in by notifying them of recommendations and availability. They can also choose to pay for their items online and also track and manage their auction even while on the go at the event or after they leave.
  • Auctions are private: You have the ability to determine who bids based on who you share your auction URL with.

Auctionfrogs

Auction Frogs is an event auction management solution that provides a custom event website where you can sell event tickets, manage tables and sponsorships, assign bid numbers, promote silent and live auction items in an electronic catalog, print bid sheets and item detail sheets, assign bid numbers, enter winning bids and purchases from the evening’s event, auction off supplemental items, invoice guests, email receipts, and more.
Auction Frogs has a team of people that will manage tasks and complete jobs traditionally assigned to volunteers.

FEATURES

  1. Customized event website
  2. Social Media integration
  3. Fund a Need donation collection
  4. Donate an Item page option
  5. Customized email messaging
  6. Bid Wars. and Auto Bidding option
  7. Advertising space for sponsors
  8. Online payment processing options
  9. Comprehensive reporting
  10. Dedicated account support

GiveSmart

GiveSmart by Community Brands provides solutions such as event management, mobile giving, live and silent auctions, customizable event sites, text-to-give, cloud-based campaign management, integrated ticketing, seating management, and more.

FEATURES

  1. Mobile Friendly Customizable Event Site:  Rich text, video, and enhanced image placement are all available within the platform.
  2. Mobile bidding: Allow donors to support your organization from anywhere. Mobile bidding is the fastest growing trend in fundraising.
  3. Text-to-Give: Accept donations via text year-round and well after your event concludes. With a dedicated keyword per campaign, you can track the success and awareness.
  4. You receive a dedicated Event Coordinator: They help to navigate and advise on everything from selecting the right items to starting prices to event timelines, to even releasing the funds after the event concludes.
  5. Collect and Analyze data: GiveSmart’s post event reports generates information and data to understand who is bidding on what and how you can improve that experience for future events.

Givergy

Givergy is a fundraising technology company who offers a range of cutting-edge platforms to help charities raise more at events and online.

FEATURES

  1. Interactive Silent Auction Technology
  2. Interactive Pledging Technology
  3. Online Auction Websites
  4. Lot Items Provision
  5. Fundraising Technology
  6. Event Ticketing
  7. Event Registration
  8. Charity Auctions
  9. Auction Items: They offer an extensive range of exclusive auction items is you are looking to top up your inventory or are looking for easy items. Whether to supplement your own, or to create the perfect mix for your target audience, our auction item experts are here to help.
  10. Fundraising Consultants, and Online Fundraising

Mobile Fundraising apps are a great way to capture audience members who cannot make it to the event, allowing supporters to connect with your cause and bid items through the app. You can reach a larger audience than ever before. Most of the apps offer varying levels of insights and analytics, this data can help planners and organizations make better informed decisions about future guest lists, bidding items and event planning, to make your next event even more successful.

If you are interested in any of the fundraising apps reach out to them directly. For Audio Visual needs or to learn more about event technology connect with us now!

You work for an association, and you plan their events. Most of your time is spent putting content together, organizing your next event, managing registration numbers, and reaching out to sponsors to confirm their participation. You have 3 main clients, your association members- also known as your attendees, your director, and your sponsors. Your job as a planner is to meet the needs of all 3 shareholders.

Your event budgets are pretty lean, and expectations are rising every day, putting pressure on you to execute amazing experiences that impress your stakeholders.

What does the association landscape look like today?

In a recent survey executed by Engaging Associations Forum, they found:

  • 47% of surveyed associations reported member size of 1000+.
  • 56% said less than 40% of their members attended events regularly.

 

What are the key problems associations are facing?

  1. Member retention.
  2. Member growth.
  3. Event Attendance.
  4. Delivering value to sponsors.
  5. Trying to stay innovative with the same budget year over year.

What do your clients want?

  • To enhance the stakeholder experience we need to deep dive into what each stakeholder truly wants.
  • Members: In the 2017 Decision to attend study, ASAE found education and networking to be top drivers for membership.
  • Attendees: Want to have a great experience where they can come together, learn about new ideas and trends in their profession.
  • Association Director: Strong membership and attendance numbers, and wants to be the most successful association supporting their region.
  • Sponsors: Value for their dollars. They are investing in your event to build awareness, generate business leads, and ultimately close opportunities.

Of course, these are general goals and objectives and can/will in-fact vary from association to event. However, knowing what the definition of value and success means to each of your stakeholders can help you incorporate features and tools that support the best delivery possible. It’s a good practice that in your planning process you ask your attendees, and your sponsors what they are looking to get out of their participation, and what value means to them. This can be done through attendee registration, pre-event surveys, or simply through calling or emailing your sponsors.

For Gold or high level sponsors this can set you apart from other organization competing for sponsorship dollars. It shows your sponsor that you are actually willing to ask the question, listen and at the least -understand why they are investing with you.

What can you do to support the sustainability of your association events?

Keep track of your membership levels. Similar to the Sun’s UV ratings, you want to know when your membership and attendee levels are safe and when they are dangerous so you can prepare and protect yourself. Based on the size of your association, understand critical registration percentage. This is the minimum amount of people that must register for you to break even, and how much of an impact it is to your event if you don’t get those numbers.

Help your members convince their boss. Costs to attend an event can vary, and in some instances, can be very expensive. Often times, registration costs are covered by your member’s organization and is up to their manager to approve it. One of the best ways you can support your attendance levels and your delegates is to have a business case already built for them. Click here to learn how.

Use membership feedback. It’s great that you are sending out surveys, you are ahead of most, but use that feedback to shape your event. Discuss the feedback notes in your reoccurring meetings.

Consider resources for those not able to attend. If your attendees are not able to attend in person, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are not interested in your event, there may be circumstances that prevent them from physically being there such as calendar conflicts, location travel barriers, or even perhaps that they are only interested in 1-3 of your sessions vs. the entire event. Webcasting your event allows those remote viewers to participate in their own location, and through their own device. You can also record the sessions and make it available via paid-portal on your website after the event.

Market your event. This is where fear of missing out can work to your advantage. Showcase the great things your event and membership has to offer and market that on your website, and through social media. Post pictures of past events; it works great to help members visualize the environment they can expect. Share images of networking, breaks, sessions, and even connections, this will help create a brand around your event that will get people talking, and likely register.

How can you use AV to enhance the stakeholder experience?

AV can be used to create an environment that engages and immerses your stakeholders.

Every experience your member has before they attend your event increases their demands and expectations. The last best experience a person has becomes their new expectation. While budgets vary, there are still great technology solutions you can utilize that deliver value to all your stakeholders and fit within your budget.

Solutions that allow you to add additional package options for sponsors. Engagement technology so you can collect attendee feedback in real-time at the event, and perhaps even use that feedback to better later sessions or improve experiences on day 2. Technology also helps you track and measure attendee interaction so the Association Director can see success in numbers.

If you face any of the challenges outlined in this article or would like to discuss how to create a better experience for your members connect with us now!

Webinars are a great way to host, engage and deliver content to remote audiences. Whether you run internal webinars, client webinars, or both, here are some best practices that will make your delivery process more audience-friendly and productive.

Have a Strategy

At the very beginning of the webinar process, outline the key purpose of hosting this webinar and what you and your team hope to achieve by delivering it. Then cater a powerful topic headline and supporting points that enhance what you are trying to achieve. Aligning on a strategy pre-presentation will help guide your content and delivery to funnel back a more influential delivery.

Additionally, have a post-event follow up strategy or action plan is a great way to maximize your objective. If the objective was to generate leads, create a post-webinar engagement strategy on how and when you are going to follow up with your attendees. If your objective was more educational, Build reminders to support the retention and application of the information delivered.

Prepare

Set up in advance. It is good practice to begin setting up your webinar at least 30 minutes before you go live. Based on the profile of your webinar you may even want to consider setting up hours in advance, doing so ensures you begin on time. Be sure to turn off device notification sounds, mute laptop speakers, and close any open programs that are not applicable to your webinar.

Account for technical difficulties. Technology has come a long way, but technical difficulties still frequently occur. Testing your equipment and software before you begin broadcasting avoids keeping your audience waiting, and that you are courteous of their time. If you will be recording the webinar for future playback, test the recording function to ensure the content is in-fact being recorded. Testing the connection, sound quality, and platform functionality with coworkers before going live, can help you become more comfortable, and efficient when you are ready to begin. Make sure your laptop is connected to a charger to avoid pop-up disruption or an unexpected ending.

Choose an appropriate location. A quiet, enclosed boardroom works ideal for a clean, focused webinar delivery. If you are delivering from a large room, however, be sure to have the appropriate technical equipment, such as a dedicated microphone, a focused camera with live feed capabilities, and noise cancelling capabilities to account for background noises. Avoid public places where possible, as it becomes difficult to control surrounding elements. If you are presenting from a room, it’s a good idea to let your group know and put a do not disturb sign up to mitigate disruptions.

Rehearse your content. Know what you are going to say and be confident on your topic. That begins with practicing and rehearsing your webinar before delivery. Have a dialogue guideline that directs the impression and lessons you want the viewer to absorb, but try to avoid reading word for word. If you did not build the slide deck yourself, acquaint yourself with the lead pages, graphics, and existing content so you may expand effectively on what is being shown. Having a printed version of the presentation is a great back up option. Presenting hands-free allows you to be more comfortable and engaging.

Prepare for questions. It’s always a great practice to have some time for question and answer at the end of your webinar, this allows your audience to interact and clarify any aspects presented. Based on the number of viewers you may want to have a few of your own questions prepared. Ask a co-worker to chime in and to submit the questions to build and elicit dialogue. Think of questions that create dialogue around your webinar objective.

Choose the Right Platform

GoToWebinar
Allows you to cast your webinar to 1000 attendees per presentation, and is ideal for larger audiences. It has the ability to interact with your audience through polls and group discussions. You are also able to host multiple presenters at the same time which is great for topic interviews, collaboration, and scenarios with multiple presenters.

Cisco Webex
Webex is a simple platform that reaches large audiences up to 3000. The viewer must install the program onto their device to begin participation. Webex is ideal if you are just looking to stream a single presenter, without audience collaboration.

Preparing and delivering a webinar involves a lot of work. If you are able to create habits based on the guidelines in this article, you will be set for success in the next online conference you produce.

For more information on using Webcasting, Live Streaming, or Video Conferencing at your next event, click here: