01.22.21 | Associations

Education+: Virtual Conference Increases Networking & Engagement

When International Practice Management Association (IPMA) was forced to make the decision to switch their largest in-person conference and expo to an online format, it was crucial for the event to deliver an engaging experience for attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors – as though they were at an in-person event. Education was a top priority, making sure attendees were offered current and relevant education on cutting-edge topics, peppered with unique networking opportunities. Here’s what we did:


Our staff and conference committee got to work planning an event that would deliver a ROI to attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors, while staying within the budget.

Engaged sponsors & exhibitors during planning

We reached out to exhibitors and sponsors to determine their objectives, an assurance that we were focused on their goals.   By incorporating their suggestions based on earlier virtual conference experiences, collaborative partnerships were created. We also leveraged the online experience to expand benefits and identified unique ways for attendees to engage with exhibitors and sponsors.

Expanded education

Going virtual gave us the opportunity to attract speakers from any location, which improved our overall quality of education. Our team worked closely with the conference committee to create relevant, informative education for attendees. The end result was an agenda inclusive of sessions grounded in relevant themes for 2020, staying timely and better preparing members for the future.

Created a networking event, and not just online education

Before formalizing the networking agenda, countless networking ideas were tested on a group of members to develop a seamless virtual networking experience. During the conference, fun and interactive daily networking events facilitated better connections in a virtual environment and to help prevent “Zoom fatigue.” Plus, exhibitors were able to plan their own events, fostering better connections to meet their and meeting their business objectives.


  • 100% retention of sponsors & exhibitors
  • 27% increase in exhibitor engagement through hosted networking events
  • 4.8 conference satisfaction rating from attendees (out of 5)

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