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How to Design for a Virtual Conference

As we all continue to shift and adapt to new challenges, there are great opportunities to find success in new types of media. With planned giving efforts shifting more towards digital marketing, finding creative ways to use existing tools becomes important. The recent move to virtual meetings, presentations and webcasts has spiked interest in how to successfully deliver quality and informative planned giving experiences.

Putting together a virtual event focused on planned giving can be a great way to connect with potential donors and those interested in philanthropic giving.

Generating Interest

The first step to a successful virtual conference is generating interest for the event itself. Promotional efforts can include a website, enewsletters, digital ads and word-of-mouth. The main goal should be utilizing all the tools available to create a cohesive message.

When promoting your conference, try to create a direct headline that can be used to quickly communicate what can be gained from participating. From this headline, build the design to reinforce that message. The aesthetic, colors, language and layouts can all be unique to the content. For example, a conference about new ways to give may utilize colors and imagery from a sunny sky representing a new day.

For a virtual event, the topics of discussion take on a more significant role since that may likely be the only way in which an attendee interacts with the conference. The loss of travel, personal interactions and networking can be replaced with communicating the strengths of the topics and presenters, as well as ease of access to the event.

Planned giving presents a unique opportunity to focus your message on the goals of philanthropy. From this you can build interest with content that speaks directly to potential attendees. Throughout the design work, try and create a message that directly highlights the benefits of your event.

Designing Your Content to be Flexible

With the amount of marketing tools available, it is important to create designs that allow for flexible communication of your planned giving content. Adjusting designs to work best in various formats is key to delivering a cohesive message. Website messaging may need to be condensed and partitioned for mobile viewing or as a series of enewsletters and ads.

This can be accomplished by selecting a color palette that works well in many different ways, limiting the amount of contrasting textures and design elements, creating a logo that displays well in many different sizes and limiting font choices to a few complimentary styles.

These design choices can be carried through to the conference webcasts by matching PowerPoint presentations, backdrops and downloadable files.

There is a wealth of knowledge and information that planned giving covers and often the ways in which people give will change. Being able to adjust content quickly is made significantly easier when your underlying designs are created to be flexible. Moving to virtual means being ready to embrace that constant change. Flexible designs will give your team the ability to adjust when new challenges are presented.

Provide a Clear Path to the Information

Organizing your topics and content can make all the difference when attracting attendees and delivering an enjoyable experience. Often, you may find the need to communicate everything about your planned giving campaign. However, by breaking the content into smaller topics you allow potential attendees the opportunity to tailor their online experience to their philanthropic needs.

With planned giving, it often works best to focus on one giving topic at a time. You can break your information into categories such as ways to give, the benefits of giving, how to plan for the future and your organizations unique campaigns. Creating individual events for each will give you multiple touchpoints to connect with potential donors.

You can organize your topics into individual website pages. From there visitors have the ability to focus their attention and increase the likelihood of finding something of interest. You can also create pages that organize instructions for how to attend your virtual event. Be sure to make the dates and times as clear as possible so visitors can schedule appropriately. This can be done with a schedule page organized into a convenient table. This is where the flexibility of your designs can help. Use borders, spacing and your color palette to create a visual distinction between topics.

With enewsletters, you can create a series of emails that touch on different giving topics related to your gift planning events. These can be focused on presenters, subjects, schedule and special event information. Each email will include some basic information about the format and how to attend.

Digital and print ads should be condensed to communicate the most important information. This will generally include headlines, format and where to learn more. From there you can point to a webpage with expanded information.

Allowing different marketing tools to work together will reinforce a cohesive planned giving message. Designing for a virtual conference presents an opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Achieving this is possible by embracing new virtual formats and flexible solutions.

Michael Arroyo

By Michael Arroyo
Interactive Design Manager, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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