A year and a few months after Fair Trade Campaigns held their first Virtual Conference in 2020, I had a chance to talk with Billy Linstead Goldsmith, Director of Communications and Fair Trade Campaigns at Fair Trade USA about the virtual event experience and residual benefits they’ve experienced.

Converting to a Virtual Event

The decision to convert from a planned face-to-face event to virtual programming with 10 days’ notice in March 2020 was not an easy one. However,

“…attendance grew by more than 60% compared with meeting face-to-face and the feedback received from attendees, speakers and other stakeholders was fantastic. We were thrilled at event’s end knowing we delivered a program that invited people to lean into something positive and constructive when the world felt like anything but. And the message of ‘Stay home, save lives’ felt really important to deliver to our community at every opportunity during the event,” according to Linstead Goldsmith.

Benefits to Fair Trade Campaigns Decision

One of the biggest benefits to meeting virtually was the ability to continuously repurpose content created during the event, Linstead Goldmith said, and that it benefitted their post-conference engagement and content strategy immensely. He went on to say,

“Fair Trade Campaigns is a grass roots, community and campus-based initiative. Couple that with the fact that colleges and universities were literally shutting down and students were packing up and heading home at the exact time the conference was happening, having the content available for future viewing was essential to optimizing the content’s reach.”

Fair Trade Campaigns maximized the opportunity while the whole campus model was shifting by using information shared during workshops and creating companion discussion guides. This allows activists to continue their work and keep people engaged, including retailers, faith groups, and community leaders. Workshop topics and companion discussion guides include:

  • Campaign Fundraising
  • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
  • Anti-Human Trafficking Work

By seizing the opportunity to meet virtually during this very uncertain time, Fair Trade Campaigns was able to capitalize on the moment for the community’s good. Now THAT’S a Lesson in Leadership.

Learn About Fair Trade Campaigns

The MeetGreen team shared their insight on the Fair Trade Campaigns 2020 Virtual Conference experience of Pivoting from a Face-to-Face Event to a Virtual Event in June. There were plenty of lessons learned!

For more about Fair Trade Campaigns and their 2020 Virtual Conference, check out these links: