The Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC) Annual Training Conference was conducted virtually using Whova from September 28 – 30, 2021. This was WICESC’s first time conducting an online event with the assistance of an all in one event management platform.
Using the app’s attendance and networking features, they were able to track attendee session activity in order to distribute training credits, and promote collaboration among industry professionals.
Interview with the Organizers
About Western Intergovernmental Child Support Training Conference
WICSEC is a non-profit intergovernmental organization that links state and federal officials from across the United States. Annual training conferences are held to engage, educate, and collaborate towards their goal of improving child support.
The conference featured many accredited speakers, who could virtually join from their home or offices. WICSEC used Whova, the all-in-one event platform, to ensure their first online training conference ran smoothly.
With Whova’s virtual engagement features and convenient event management tools, the event was so engaging and easy to manage that the organizers plan to use the app again for future in-person events.
Community Board Posts
1. Checking session attendance for training credits
The event organizer, Melissa g. Rael, wanted to be able to verify attendance so attendees could receive continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Because they couldn’t check in attendees like they would in-person, they needed a way to track the session activity of over 1,000 attendees.
2. Gathering speaker information
The WICSEC organizers needed an effective way to manage the multitude of information from 46 speakers. As they are often chasing down speakers at the last minute to finalize materials, then manually entering information into multiple locations, they wanted a more efficient process.
3. Engaging attendees during speaker sessions
With many important child support professionals speaking at the event, Rael and her MgR & Associates team wanted to encourage attendees to actively engage in sessions. To make this possible for a virtual event, they needed a platform that could support conversations before and during sessions.
4. Facilitating attendee networking on a virtual platform.
Rael and WICSEC leadership wanted to ensure this event had ample networking possibilities so members could collaborate on current legislative and pressing issues in child support. Because it was online for the first time, they needed to create networking opportunities that would provide the same value as in-person events.
1. Automatically tracking online attendance
Whova’s attendee activity feature automatically tracks when attendees join virtual sessions. Rael’s team was able to simply click on each session to obtain lists of who attended each session, complete with attendee names and emails. From there, it was easy to track attendance and then email participants their continuing legal education (CLE) credits.
2. Easily gathering information with the speaker center
Whova’s Speaker Center provided Rael with a successful way to assemble information for almost 50 speakers. The center grants speakers the authority to submit and edit their own information. Organizers can also choose to enter or edit speaker information themselves.
Once receiving an invitation link, speakers were able to upload their biography details and session information. Any later changes they made were automatically updated in Whova, without the organizer having to lift a finger.
This feature decreased Rael’s team and WICSEC workshop curator’s workload and increased the accuracy of important topics discussed at the event.
From the Speaker Center, organizers can choose to email all or individual speakers.
Whova’s system also makes it easy to send emails to all or specific speakers. The WICSEC organizers were able to email the list of busy government speakers a reminder of the upcoming event through Whova’s Speaker Center.
Whova automatically turns the information organizers upload on the speaker, agenda and sponsor pages into sleek web pages with multiple templates to choose between. Rael was able to edit these pages to fit her branding colors, then embed them onto the WICSEC website using Whova’s automated HTML codes. The effects were professional and appealing. Any changes made on the page builders were updated on the website pages with no action required.
3. Engaging the audience with the Q&A feature
Rael utilized the Q&A features in a unique way. By opening the Q&A forms before the event began, speakers were able to tailor their sessions to the questions attendees posted.
What’s more, the WICSEC event received more online engagement than at typical in-person events. The virtual Q&A platform removed public speaking fears and motivated attendees to ask questions or even share their own thoughts. The high quality engagement during the WICSEC conference inspired many of the valued speakers to plan on coming back the following year.
4. Efficiently collecting session and event feedback with survey options
At official training conferences like WICSEC, Whova’s survey templates make obtaining valuable feedback a breeze. Existing templates include questions asking participants to rate overall satisfaction in the event, speaker quality, networking options and the app as a whole. The questions can be changed, added to, or deleted.
Organizers can send out surveys at any point during the event, and even select specific sessions to include different feedback forms.
By sending out a custom post-event survey, Rael and WICSEC leadership was able to evaluate any changes needed for future virtual or in person events.
5. Creating networking opportunities with the community board
Much of the event’s success was due to the networking features available on Whova’s Community Board. The positive engagement at this conference was overwhelming, with over 6,000 posts.
Attendees can suggest in person or remote meetup ideas on the community board, or join others.
Attendees can create discussion topics to chat and get to know each-other.
Through discussion topics, they interacted with other attendees about everything from career goals to chats about their favorite breakfasts. Attendees loved the feature, and also posted many ideas on the meet-up category, a virtual space to schedule video calls with other attendees. Attendees at the WICSEC conference met through these video calls to do yoga together and say hello before sessions began.
This year’s event was also open to many more industry professionals than previous years, as they no longer had to travel. With Whova’s meet-ups and 1-1 messaging, they were able to chat and put faces to names that they had been working with for years.