How can a Virtual Summit about Collaboration be Effective?


We get asked often about why our annual Action Summit is “still” virtual, and we want to share what we’ve learned hosting this flagship convening online since spring 2020.

Although there’s something special about connecting in-person, which we did for many years prior to the pandemic, we’ve learned that coming together online to share what we’re all learning and experiencing is very valuable and effective, with 90% of our 2023 surveyed attendees recommending the experience.

It also allows us to support our community in four key ways.

1. Lots of Learning at a Lower Cost

In our virtual setting, we can share over 35+ sessions plus keynotes that highlight practical and concrete recommendations at a lower ticket price than if we were in-person. And, attendees save precious resources with no costs for flights, hotels, overpriced airport food, and no need to plan for family care or getting someone to watch your pets.

You don’t have to use your budget for travel in order to join, participate, and most importantly, learn and share with others.

2. Lower Cost = Easier to Learn with Your Team

With the lower ticket price as a virtual Summit, we see more backbone teams, partner organizations, and steering committees join than when we gathered in-person. When in-person, teams often had to choose 1 or 2 people to attend.

The Action Summit now has become a shared learning experience for whole teams to learn and reflect on together, and our group registration rates make this even more accessible.

3. Crossing Time Zones and Geographies to Learn Together

The virtual Action Summit has allowed us to gather with attendees from all over the world, from Anchorage to Auckland, Buffalo to Bogota, and Jacksonville to Johannesburg.

In past virtual Summits, we’ve seen attendees join from over 40 countries and nearly every state in the U.S. It’s incredibly humbling to be part of such a wide community of folks coming from so many places, each working on long-term collaboration in their region, and each finding a space at the Summit to learn, reflect, and share.

4. Increased Accessibility for Attendees

Going virtual for several years now has allowed us to deepen our practices around accessibility. At the Summit we now offer:

  • American Sign Language (ASL) for all sessions
  • Zoom auto-captions for all sessions
  • Early access to session materials through the Summit Whova app
  • Recordings of most sessions, and attendees can watch recordings on their own time for up to three months after the Summit. Recordings include both auto-captions and accompanying transcripts. (This means you can watch over 30 sessions in the weeks after the event!)

Going Virtual Has Advanced Our Work and Mission

In-person gatherings are important and valuable, AND we wanted to share why “going virtual” has been such a critical factor for us in supporting our community and mission.

It’s allowed us to gather so many people who otherwise may be left out of an in-person learning experience due to cost, geographic distance, or other accessibility factors.

Our goal is simple—we want to learn together with YOU about how we all can better collaborate to create lasting, equitable change in our communities and the broader world. And we want to do whatever it takes to make that happen, including hopping into one more Zoom room.

We hope you will hop in with us. We look forward to learning virtually with you this April.

With deepest gratitude,

The Collective Impact Forum team

Join Us at the 2024 Action Summit


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