NASP 2021 Virtual Convention Earns Rave Reviews from a Record-Setting Audience

NASP Case study

NASP chose Digitell, Inc. as their tech partner to support their 2021 Virtual Convention.

THE CLIENT:

The National Association of School Psychologists is a professional association representing more than 25,000 school psychologists, graduate students, and related professionals throughout the United States and an additional 25 countries worldwide.

THE CHALLENGE:

The NASP Annual Convention has long been regarded as their pinnacle event, where 5,000-6,000+ industry professionals gather to enjoy cutting-edge education sessions and rich peer-to-peer exchanges.

As COVID-19 cases surged, NASP recognized that hosting their 2021 convention in Salt Lake City wouldn’t be feasible, so they explored best options to transform this signature event into a 100% virtual experience.

Identifying a capable technology provider was their first important decision. After vetting a lengthy list of vendors, NASP quickly winnowed down to a short list of finalists for more detailed evaluations.

“Digitell’s presentation stood out with respect to customer service. While others were touting all the bells and whistles, they demonstrated knowledge about who our members are and their degree of tech savvy. Another appealing factor – Digitell is not the ‘Johnny Come Lately’ to this space. They’ve been doing this for a long time and that was very reassuring for us.”

 

Kathleen Minke, Executive Director

“Digitell had more experience and they knew what they were doing. They were also adept at working with many different speakers and managing live and pre-recorded content.”

 

Glenn M. Reighart, Director, Meetings & Conventions

“By virtue of moving through this repeatedly, Digitell put a strong framework in place that we
could build on. Their experience and guidance were their biggest strengths.”

 

Earl Fenwick, Jr., Webmaster

The Power of Possibility

This theme for the NASP 2021 Virtual Convention aligned beautifully with a mindset their audience was already embracing, as they explored safe ways to stay engaged with students, teachers, parents and administrators amid a pandemic.

THE OUTCOME

Attendees raved about this first virtual event experience, with many commenting that it had been the best virtual event they’ve ever attended. Key achievements and event elements that contributed to the NASP success story:

Bigger Audience

For 2021, NASP nearly doubled their typical attendance with 9,000+ professionals participating. “We anticipated we’d get maybe 5,000 people, but we ended up with 9,000! It really fell into the ‘If you build it, they will come’ category.”

Strong Revenue Model

NASP resisted the temptation to discount registration fees significantly for this virtual experience and the attendance surge confirmed it was the right decision. “Some of our colleague organizations were giving away virtual events. We chose not to do this because we were providing a credible professional development experience and we shouldn’t undervalue it.”

Seamless User Experience

When Digitell was signed on, there were just 60 days remaining to integrate with vendors already on the scene (for registration, etc.) to ensure a friction-free user experience. Mission accomplished! “Everyone involved was positioned in the right place. Everybody knew their parts and especially how to handle the evening reception, which was amazing.”

Excellent Blend of Live & Pre-recorded Content

Digitell encouraged NASP to tip in favor of live content, as live sessions tend to outperform recorded sessions. With 22 live sessions presented over a four-day span, another 100+ included pre-recorded content, amplified by live Q&A with presenters in the chat box. Several more were delivered in a “simu-live” fashion, where live video feed of speakers would follow the pre-recorded portion. All in all, this proved to be a financially prudent and experience design friendly path for all.

“We had to structure each day to optimize live content which carried credits for attendees and also make sure the agenda was time-zone friendly. Digitell helped us plan our timeline, so people didn’thave to get up too early and yet still earn the credits they needed.”

Extra-mile Support for Presenters

With speakers and moderators playing a huge role in shaping the overall experience, it’s important that they feel comfortable with this new virtual environment. This was a category where Digitell delivered outstanding value.

“For live sessions, there was a Digitell producer assigned. For each presenter, there was a staff member and a convention committee member accompanying them. They all worked together on practice runs with sound checks, lighting, and other production details. Digitell also provided verbiage that we’ve incorporated into our speaker letters.”

Extra-mile Support for Posters

Yet another important category that feeds future membership growth, as poster submissions come largely from students and early career professionals. Preparation + technology helped to amplify their exposure to leaders who might hire them.

“Digitell set up the portal for people to enter their posters and they guided me on what to tell them. For recordings, we all worked together to get these completed and field any edits that people wanted to make. A lot of work – but yes, it worked very well.”

Automated Process for Awarding CE Credits

Participating in sessions where credits are awarded to earn or renew certification is another top attendance trigger. Digitell’s streamlined and automated processes were appreciated.

“What we experienced with some other platforms – there might be 5000 people in a session and all of them want to grab their documentation, but the systems weren’t capable. Digitell has been successfully doing this for years.”

Positive Feedback from Attendees

As noted earlier, many shared that this was the best virtual conference they’ve ever attended. Here’s a video from one who shared their praise directly with Digitell.

“We congratulate NASP on their fantastic virtual event and for the innovative ways they leveraged our Platform and production team to engage their audience.”

Jim Parker CEO of Digitell