Create an elevated annual conference that promotes deeper personal connections and learning experiences that spark collective action within the nonprofit journalism community.
The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) exists to strengthen and support more than 400 independent news organizations in a new kind of news network: nonprofit, nonpartisan, and dedicated to public service.. They host an annual conference called INN Days, which brings together a community of news leaders, funders and researchers to engage and learn from one another. After pivoting their onsite event to a DIY Zoom conference in 2021, they wanted to make sure that their profound content and community had a place to thrive. Feeling burnt out from coordinating it all on their own in the previous year and hoping to refine the online experience, they turned to Relatu.
An empowering 3-day national conference with edifying presentations, seamless technology, and inclusive opportunities to connect, collaborate, and exchange ideas.
In the workshop phase, INN brought their first-rate content to the table with a list of 50+ session topics and 100+ potential speakers. They also shared a list of actionable goals for improving the event from the previous year. Their primary intention was to make it more inclusive and engaging, hoping to feature more diverse speakers and cultivate stronger connections amongst attendees. The Relatu Team spent the first few weeks of collaboration transforming those parameters into a streamlined multi-day conference that integrated live mainstage sessions, hands-on workshops, and robust networking opportunities. Stress-free yet full of impact, every element of the programming strategically aimed to accomplish INN’s three main goals: Engage, Learn, and Amplify.
Networking + Huddles
As a people-first organization that continually strives to strengthen their community, INN prioritized engagement as their primary objective. Speed networking brought attendees together in 1:1 conversations to quickly exchange contact information and build relationships between newsrooms. Huddles were a new design that invited attendees into group conversations reflecting on themed topics – such as internships, social media, and Spanish publications. These huddles ended each day of the conference with lively discussions that gave every viewer a voice.
The mainstage featured a plethora of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and moderated Q&A sessions, providing opportunities for participants to learn from leading experts in nonprofit journalism and express a diverse range of perspectives on the industry. Speakers shared case studies, spoke on best practices, and answered intriguing inquiries that invited viewers to guide the conversation. Interactive workshops also allowed attendees to connect with speakers in a more intimate setting. These workshops focused on the practical aspects of how specific content might apply directly to their own organizations. In total, Relatu successfully produced 30 live sessions across the mainstage, breakouts, and huddles – making INN Days one of the most robust events we’ve ever organized.
Expo Hall Resources
The final goal was to amplify. As a network of nonprofit newsrooms around the country, INN promotes partnership and collaborative efforts that amplify each members’ voice. With this goal in mind, we invited attendees to connect with one another and access all the invaluable resources provided by INN. Additionally, we helped facilitate the launch of the Who’s Your Source campaign by featuring such resources in the expo hall. And finally, to further increase value for attendees while also boosting ROI, Relatu provided a white-glove sponsor experience – bringing them live, filming their messages, and building customized expo booths for each one.
Tech Support + Training
Throughout the event, Relatu provided round-the-clock live support to attendees, speakers, and INN staff members. We even used a remote intercom to readily answer questions from showrunners and assist with troubleshooting (in addition to giving verbal cues like “five minutes to enter the stage” or “10 minutes until this next session”). In the two weeks prior, the Relatu team coordinated and trained 65 individuals through a series of rehearsals to practice running through the script, hitting cues, and using the technology. This ultimately helped every speaker and INN staff member feel prepared and at ease on event day, so they could focus on fully participating.
The result was a powerful online conference, where participants could genuinely connect with and learn from one another. It’s no surprise that the event received high praise from attendees, speakers, and sponsors alike!