Thought Leadership

Looking Back and Springing Forward: Nonprofit Events in 2023

A well attended event with panelists speaking on stage.

Happy Daylight Saving Season! As everyone who works in or around nonprofits knows, with the arrival of spring comes extra daylight, warmer weather, and a season positively packed with events. Whether you’re gearing up for a gala, summit, or community event, it’s likely that the gathering you’re preparing for is going to look a bit different this year. 

It’s been three years now since the pandemic first disrupted the way we bring our communities together. While this massive change impacted every aspect of our lives, it made nonprofit professionals reckon with all of the events on our annual calendars—pushing us to decide which events were critical to our missions and forcing us to reimagine them in ways that would keep our communities engaged, energized, and safe. 

After years of reimagining with a focus on virtual events, every organization we work with at Town Hall is evolving once again. Most spent 2022 experimenting in order to find the right format for their audiences as we moved beyond the most restrictive stages of the pandemic. The last few years left many of our communities more eager to gather together in person than ever before, but they also expanded the reach of many of our events in ways we might never have imagined before we were pushed fully remote. After a period defined by isolation, we now find ourselves with the remarkable challenge of an abundance of opportunities for connection. Local communities are even more eager for in-person connection and there are newly-connected national (and even global) audiences that we don’t want to forget just because they can’t always join us in a room. 

As an agency that has been fueled by testing and learning since its inception, this challenge presents an exciting opportunity to reinvent community gatherings and the way that we market them yet again. One of the events that we had the privilege to work on in 2022 that epitomized this evolution was ADL’s Never Is Now summit. 2022 marked the first time the world’s largest annual summit on antisemitism and hate went hybrid and the first time that thousands of attendees gathered together in person for the event since 2019. 

We had worked with ADL to rebrand and market their fully-virtual tentpole events in 2021 (2021 case study), and together we drove the highest attendance rate in the Never Is Now’s history, with over 11,000 participants worldwide. Even with that experience, and with event marketing in Town Hall’s DNA, our team learned so much about our new event realities as we worked on the marketing, virtual event production, website development, and hero video production for this crucial summit in 2022. By developing a deep understanding of our audiences and the summit’s value proposition for those who would join us in person and online, we were able to bring thousands together in New York City while thousands more joined us virtually from around the world. We encourage you to learn more about our approach and see some examples of our work in this Never Is Now 2022 case study.  

Looking back on our work and learning from our experience is vital for our growth and improvement but, to bring us full circle, it’s also the season of Springing Forward and we’re looking ahead to all of the events and evolutions that are on the horizon. If you’re working through how to revise your approach again, or wondering how ticket-buying windows are shifting, or looking for ways to turn the challenge of having so many audiences to speak to into an opportunity, we would love to talk to you! Whether we can support you in the marketing or production of your next event (in-person, virtual, or hybrid), aid in the creation of event videos or websites, or provide a strategic sounding board as you build a road map for future events, we hope to hear from you this spring.  Contact us here.

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