Meet World Wide Fund for Nature, a global environmental organization that used Hopin to build awareness around deforestation in the European Union

Meet World Wide Fund for Nature, a global environmental organization that used Hopin to build awareness around deforestation in the European Union
PLANNING A NEW KIND OF EVENT

Greener events with a wider reach on Hopin

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is a 60-year-old non-governmental organization dedicated to sustainability and conservation. 

As part of its #Together4Forests campaign, WWF’s European Policy Office decided to plan a half-day public event centered around a push for a strong EU law on deforestation. In addition, it also organized a two-day project workshop exploring how to combat illegal timber within the EU.

In 2021, the organization shifted to virtual events. This shift was due to global travel restrictions, but also offered a number of unintended benefits to WWF like improving the global reach of its events while reducing carbon footprint from travel.

Being new to the world of large virtual events, it was vital for WWF that its events still inspire attendees to engage with the issues at hand, encourage discussion around proposed solutions, and offer a platform for sharing project results.

"We really wanted the attendees to feel very much involved, like they were actually part of this conference. We wanted them to forget that this was happening in a virtual space and feel like they were really there, and that is why we chose Hopin over other platforms." –Angelika Pullen, Communications Director, WWF European Policy Office

After an extensive research process, WWF decided to trust Hopin for its first foray into virtual. Hopin’s user-friendly interface, networking functionality, and robust session features were key selling points for the nonprofit. These features were vital to ensuring attendees could easily navigate the events, and engage on multiple levels. Hopin’s integration with Interprefy supported real-time language interpretation for both events, removing any language barriers for WWF’s pan-European audience. 

WWF used Hopin’s registration and ticketing features to share event agendas, encourage attendance, and coordinate with speakers. The organization also customized the platform with its own logos, and created individual banners for each session to ensure attendees had an on-brand experience.

Two environmental experts in a forest researching the impact of deforestation
Two environmental experts in a forest researching the impact of deforestation

"Being able to do this virtually really drew a much greater number of people. For example, we had participants from the US [...] and this way we could have speakers really share their experience from the US market where they're much more advanced when it comes to some of the technologies used to combat illegal logging."

IT’S SHOWTIME

Lively debate on key environmental issues

As part of the public event experience, WWF hosted debates on deforestation, with decision makers from the European Commission, the European Parliament and industry coming together to present their views.

The second, ‘invitation only’ event featured representatives from WWF, other NGOs, Interpol, national governments, customs agencies, and police agencies discussing the illegal timber trade in the EU. The virtual format allowed WWF to bring in speakers from the U.S. who shared their experience using technology to combat illegal logging.

WWF used Hopin’s chat functionality to keep participants engaged during talks. They also stimulated further conversation on debate issues via Q&As. Participants collaborated during panel discussions and breakout groups, using Hopin’s integration with digital whiteboarding platform, Miro.

WWF partners showcased their work via virtual booths in the expo area. Each booth featured the partner’s branding as well as content like pre-recorded videos and downloadable resources.

Participants found both events easy to navigate. And WWF was able to drive the interaction they hoped for, producing lively discussions around key issues and opening up direct communication between attendees and speakers.

"Our feedback from both the attendees and also the speakers was overwhelmingly positive. Everybody really enjoyed the interactivity, especially during the bigger sessions where we had panel discussions, some of which were very lively and active."
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The Hopin features that made WWF’s events a success

WWF used the following Hopin features to help make their events successful:

  • Registration: WWF used registration pages to communicate key information to attendees such as speakers, agendas, and project partners. This helped support registration efforts by giving users a single, easy-to-navigate page with all the details they needed. 
  • Customizability: The organization added its iconic branding to both events to ensure attendees felt at home.
  • Event Sessions: WWF used breakout sessions to encourage discussion around key issues and facilitate participant collaboration. 
  • Audience engagement: Participants could quiz speakers using Hopin’s Q&A, chat, and polling features.
  • Expo area: WWF’s project partners set up branded booths in Hopin’s expo area to connect with attendees and share downloadable publications and reports.
  • Integrations: Interprefy provided attendees with real-time translation in five different languages, so a pan-European audience could fully engage in the talks and discussions. Whiteboarding platform, Miro, also brought a visual element to collaborative breakout sessions.

"The experience on event day was really very easy. The platform is very easy to navigate [...] We had rehearsals with all the speakers prior to the event and so on event day everybody knew what they were doing and what to expect, and that really made it very, very user friendly."

HOW IT TURNED OUT

A new hybrid approach for global collaboration on environmental issues

WWF’s public event was a key part of the organization’s deforestation campaign, #Together4Forests, and served to further its political advocacy by gathering key stakeholders and generating public interest in the fight against deforestation. The private event allowed for knowledge sharing among those interested in the fight against illegal timber trade.

After overwhelmingly positive event feedback from stakeholders, speakers, and attendees, WWF is exploring the role that virtual and hybrid events can play in future strategy and campaign efforts. Before going virtual, the organization found it challenging to bring a distributed audience together in person to work together on environmental issues. With virtual events, WWF can engage a diverse, widespread audience while minimizing their environmental impact by reducing carbon emissions from air travel.

The organization plans to continue holding physical events in the future with an additional hybrid element, and are exploring more virtual-only experiences to reach a wider, global audience. 

"What I was most impressed by is that we not only managed to sign up 200 participants to our public event, which for this type of niche event is a lot, but also that 199 of them actually showed up and stayed until the very end of it. And I think that is a massive achievement."

99.5%

Attendance rate

200

Attendees

"Overall, we were very happy with the way that the events ran. The public event on deforestation really was a key milestone in our deforestation campaign [...] All the stakeholders and speakers were very happy to have participated. And we had only positive feedback also from the attendees for our private event."

Lots of virtual audience buzz

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