VIRTUAL INC CLIENT SPOTLIGHT
Q&A with Professional Services Client, National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE)
What was it like transitioning from NHCGNE’s traditional in-person Annual Leadership Conference event to an online event for the first time?
NHCGNE: We have a very tight knit group, so the idea of having to do our Annual Leadership Conference event online was very hard for us to envision. at first. Missing out on hallway chats, reminiscing, and seeing longtime friends, colleagues, and students face-to-face was disappointing. However, the collaborative nature our planning committee including Virtual staff really came together to make to make helped make our event successful.
With our event moving to an online format, not only did we have 3x the number of poster presenters, we were also able to weave in some of our members’ favorite activities, and add a few more new ones including:
- Our very popular networking lunch which included topics from Sensory Impairment and Workforce Competencies to Complexity of Caregiving/African American Families and Research during a Pandemic.
- Fun and unique Happy Hour.
- Awards ceremony with a special video tribute to the newest class of Distinguished Educator Recipients that included a voice over which had never been done before.
- Innovative presentations that showcased the latest industry research.
NHCGNE had been struggling financially and not having the Annual Leadership Conference would cause significant financial hardship. Virtual worked with us to create realistic financial goals allowing our board to understand what our organization needed to achieve to make money.
The result of all of this? NHCGNE held the largest event since becoming a 501(c)3, was able to hit revenue targets, and for the first-time ever have a revenue positive event.
What did NHCGNE do differently for its online event?
NHCGNE: NHCGNE had to rethink its marketing strategy. Traditionally, we had a much smaller call to action. With our online event, we ramped up and refreshed our marketing. Since attendees didn’t have to travel, we expanded our reach and targeted international attendees that typically would not normally join us in-person. Marketing a virtual conference forced us to think outside the box with our tactics. Our team at Virtual also conducted pre-event surveys to ensure our meeting times were optimal for attendees and solicited feedback on content topics. We focused on the opportunities online events provide –
- Ability to watch missed sessions because they were recorded.
- View on-demand sessions and any time.
- Obtain additional CNEs because they could attend more sessions.
- Participate in an international conference at a fraction of the cost.
- Engage with top-notch faculty of speakers – a virtual “who’s who” in gerontological nursing research.
Will you continue to utilize online events? If Yes, how?
NHCGNE: Yes! I do believe that NHCGNE will utilize online events in the future. We are currently planning an online conference for October 26 – 28th 2021 because NHCGNE recognizes that so many institutions have limited travel budgets to support in-person conferences as well as we can reach a broader audience of attendees. Plans are also underway for an in-person event for members who attend the Gerontological Society of America conference in November 2021. Our organization will also use what we have learned during the 2020 Leadership Conference to host other successful online events in the future.
What benefits did you see with having an online event?
NHCGNE: With online events, we have had greater opportunities for international participation with our members and more attendees who do not typically have travel funds to support participation. Our 2020 online Leadership Conference was able to reach more direct care nurses, led to a greater dissemination of evidence-based practice and research findings, and generated a positive financial outcome. Additionally, NHCGNE was able to utilize the session recordings as a benefit to its members and showcase and in various marketing and promotional pieces to highlight aspects of our organization.
The National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) is a specialty organization dedicated to optimal health and quality of life for older adults. NHCGNE builds upon the legacy of The John A. Hartford Foundation, which represents the gold standard of excellence in gerontology. We are a collaboration of national and international nursing schools and institutions that have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to the field of gerontological nursing. Our members are more likely to achieve success because of the strong collaborative relationships that they build through access to over 300 gerontological nursing leaders, and because of the potential for rapid development of their programs through access to cutting-edge best practices in faculty and curriculum development.
For more information about NHCGNE, visit www.nhcgne.org, or call +1 703-885-3500Back to Knowledge Hub