American Dairy Association Indiana has been conducting Virtual Farm Trips with the help of Shift•ology’s Virtual Farm Trips program for the past few years. When restrictions were announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, like most organizations, ADAI was faced with challenges and decisions to be made regarding the elimination of scheduled large in-person conferences, meetings and other gatherings.
Having a strong working relationship with Shift•ology and familiarity with our technical and virtual meeting expertise, ADAI reached out to explore the possibility of turning an annual two-day, in-person conference for health professionals into a series of seven interactive webinars, including a Virtual Farm Trip, featuring a variety of dairy and health industry related presenters.
ADAI Food Service and Retail Manager, Michelle Plummer, said, “Using the well-trained and prepared staff at Shift-ology allowed our speakers, viewers and staff to be comfortable and assured we could work through any issues. Being able to put our speakers at ease made all the difference in each presentation.”
Shift•ology worked with ADAI to provide a branded webinar series solution customized to the organization’s exact needs, including:
“Because we conducted the event virtually, we were able to have a broader scope of speakers at a more affordable cost point. Being able to reach people virtually allowed our communication dollars go further with the added benefit of metrics to support our use of funds,” said Plummer.
There were a total of 1,392 registrants for this webinar series. If conducted in-person, this event would normally be limited to 150 registrants, to help curb expenses. Conducting these webinars virtually has significantly increased the reach of the event and improved access for participants across the globe. There have been attendees from all over the country and across the planet.
Hanna Kelley, ADAI Director of Health and Wellness, said, “With a virtual event, our dollar could stretch further. We reached more people for the same 7-9 hours of time and our virtual programs went GLOBAL. In-person events just don’t get that reach.” Kelley added, “Going virtual gave our attendees the flexibility to view content on their own terms. The ability to listen live from any location and the added bonus of having recordings available to view on-demand, works very well.”
Evaluation results from this series have shown that 98.2% of participants have found these webinars useful or very useful. 99.5% of respondents say they would recommend a future ADAI webinar to a friend or colleague and 98.7% said they would like ADAI to offer webinars on a regular basis.
“Diving into a new way of providing information, without knowing if it will be successful, is a risk,” said Kelley. “It’s been reassuring to have a team of experienced professionals there to provide guidance and support in a timely and efficient manner as we navigate ‘the new norm.’”
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