By Katie Zupancic Wymer
Laissez les bon temps rouler! As we return from the 2019 P2P Forum Conference in New Orleans and head back to our offices across the United States, we are left feeling energized by so much “good” in one space. “Do Good” was our theme for this year’s conference, and it was inspiring to see that good come to life throughout our time in the Big Easy. Breakout sessions with fellow peer-to-peer fundraising industry leaders fueled insightful conversations about what it truly means to create engaging events, content, and connections with our constituents. We saw colleagues and professional acquaintances from all sorts of nonprofits pose in front of our “Do Good” banner, a visual representation of the collaboration within our industry.
Our “good” feeling culminated in the 2019 Run for Good, a 3-mile running/walking tour around the French Quarter, sponsored by the Event 360 team. As we explored together, we made lasting relationships with fellow conference attendees, learned interesting factoids about the city of New Orleans, and may have even enjoyed a beignet if we were lucky enough to be among the walkers. Together, our impact amplified “good” for a local organization. For each of our 47 runners and walkers, Event 360 donated $20 to Hogs for the Cause, a local New Orleans nonprofit supporting families impacted by pediatric brain cancer. As we crossed the “finish line” together back at the Hilton, we were proud to know that our impact would extend far beyond the P2P Forum Conference with our $1,000 donation.
We asked several of our teammates who attended the conference: What moment at the P2P Forum Conference best demonstrated the good happening in our industry?
Cody Carroll, Digital Marketing Coordinator
It’s no secret that we are living in an age of digital transformation. You can see the way it’s changing how we date, parent, shop, and fundraise. Our lives will be forever changed by digital technology. However, after attending the conference, it remains clear to me that while the technology has changed, the drive to do good, give back and make personal connections hasn’t changed. Our industry is evolving, but because of passionate professionals in the peer-to-peer fundraising industry, events have continued to stay bold and relevant. It was empowering to see how many diverse peer-to-peer fundraising organizations were represented at the conference. My role as a digital marketer is important because developing brand awareness is key to helping organizations stand out against for-profit competitors. When we take advantage of new digital marketing technologies, we can help “do good” for our clients and for the peer-to-peer industry, in general.
Kat Thomas, Event Production Manager
The idea that “walks are dying” came up several times during sessions. In a world where everything from products on a shelf to shows on Netflix are fighting for relevancy and attention, we as ambassadors of experiences are no different. Discussion after discussion showed one component emerging as key: building relationships. Focusing on building a relationship rather than keeping it transactional can give walks the leverage to turn the dial. The phrase “walks are dying” can be reversed if we focus on building strong relationships with our participants. And then our ability to “do good” at walks is exponentially increased. The proof is in the pudding: seven of the top ten events of the year are walks.
Kaleigh Glaza, Senior Digital and Social Media Specialist
Finding new ways to reach first-time participants and donors is key for our industry. It allows for causes to reach new people and gain the continued support and funding they need. At the conference, we explored one of the most interesting new ways to make these connections, through streaming services like Twitch video. More and more nonprofits are partnering with streaming influencers to spread the word and raise quite a bit of money for their causes. In a world where influencers are being used more and more, these streaming personalities give real-time updates, a personal touch, and a fundraising link to a captive audience that has already been following along with them. Whether these streamers are gamers, chefs, bloggers, or anyone else with a platform and a following, they are a great new way to reach people online and to create an engaging environment of “doing good.”
Erin De Baets, Programs & Participant Support Manager
Before heading into the conference, I could not have predicted that one of the most intriguing sessions I would attend would involve designing a wallet. The exercise had participants pair up and go through a series of progressively in-depth steps to get to know exactly what the other person most wanted and needed in this everyday item. We asked each other questions, sketched out evolving versions as we dug deeper, and even developed a Facebook ad that would promote the product to our partners. For the purposes of the hour-long session, we needed to work on something that was universal to everyone, but the idea of applying “design thinking” to our work in the peer-to-peer space was the big takeaway. If we can learn to deconstruct the ways we currently do things and drill down to what the problem areas are, brainstorm as many solutions as possible, and—here’s the part that is often the scariest step—TRY (and be prepared to fail at) some of these ideas, we have the potential to unearth innovative progress in our P2P work to maximize our “do good” impact. The concept of applying this kind of thinking to businesses or organizations is not new but taking part in an exercise that walked us through the steps left me feeling inspired to bring the concept back to my team.
Moving into our busiest time of the year for event execution, our team is thrilled to take learnings from conversations, presentations, and breakout sessions at the P2P Conference Forum and bring that “good” to life for an estimated 100,000 participants across the country in 2019. If your team needs support, we’d love to help.
Katie Zupancic Wymer (LinkedIn, Twitter) is the Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Event 360. She manages digital marketing strategy, social media strategy, and sponsorship for MuckFest®, the FUN mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. She also manages digital marketing for other fundraising events including Bike MS. Katie enjoys exploring the Bold North of Minnesota with her tiny dogs, Annie and Charlie, and taking part in her newest hobby, curling.