Sarah Sladek is among the panel of experts in the nonprofit, association, and membership management space invited to provide additional insights and advice in response to Wild Apricot’s 2020 Virtual Events Research Report . Read the full article here.


According to Wild Apricot’s findings, virtual events are still a relatively new concept for 50% of organizations. This information tells me organizations have remained mired in the day-to-day, largely ignoring market shifts and trends.


The University of Phoenix became an online collegiate institution in 1989. The first international web conference took place in 1994. YouTube was founded in 2005. Our society has been transitioning to virtual education, events, and entertainment for more than 30 years, and still there are organizations banking solely on in-person events.


The fact is, each generation has become more visual and virtual and better educated than the generation before. Your audience is getting more information, faster than ever before, and continually educating themselves.


In fact, Generation Z, currently ages 11-24, create and consume more information than any other generation. Raised on YouTube and TikTok and the opportunity to enroll in virtual classes at Harvard, Zs are consistently educated and entertained and they are renowned for creating ways to hold companies and leaders accountable.


The point is this: virtual events are here to stay. Your organization can’t continue to ignore the momentum of the past 30 years. Access to virtual events was, is, and will be what your audience expects. Organizations must get out of the once-a-year-conference-hosting mentality to be intentional about connecting, informing, inspiring, and being relevant and present always. Virtual provides that option.


But that advice isn’t only applicable to organizing events, it’s essential to your organization’s future success.