Christian Union is a non-profit leadership development organization that works with undergraduates on top university campuses including Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, and Yale as well as young professionals and alumni of these schools. Over 1550 undergraduates participate in Christian Union’s campus programming and events annually.
With a vision for developing leaders who will transform culture, Christian Union staff mentor, teach, and coach undergraduates to integrate faith into their work and the direction of their lives.
Christian Union re-branded their key undergraduate conference in 2016 with a new name - Nexus: The Christian Union Conference on Faith and Action. With nearly 500 attendees, Elizabeth was looking for ways to save money by eliminating the traditional printed conference booklet, as well as update and improve communication with staff and students.
Elizabeth discovered Attendify when she attended The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Conference in 2014:
The Attendify app gave Christian Union the opportunity to provide robust information – including detailed bios on over 50 speakers, panelists, and moderators – without having to be concerned that the added content would translate to extra printing costs.
In 2014, Christian Union spent $5,606 in design and printing of their conference booklet. “Moving to a conference app in 2016 was an obvious way to save money and actually deliver more to attendees.”
“Students didn’t miss the paper booklet for a minute. We had no complaints
or confusion about the schedule or locations of breakouts. For millennials, checking their phone was already second nature, and all the content they needed was right there.”
The value of the flexibility of the app became obvious as the conference neared. “One of our key panelists dropped out just two days before Nexus started, and we replaced him with another speaker,” Elizabeth explained, “If we had used the paper booklet, the information on that session would have been out of date and incorrect.”
As a non-profit, Christian Union was interested initially in saving money, but it quickly became clear that the app had other benefits as well. “The push notification feature was a big bonus for us. One we didn’t foresee.” With a 92% adoption rate of the app, they realized they could communicate with nearly everyone at the conference in real-time – whether they were actually on site, or out grabbing lunch – so all attendees could be on the same page.
But the biggest boon the app provided was when they hit a snafu with the opening plenary session. “Just minutes before doors were supposed to open my production team cameto me in a panic,” Elizabeth recalled. “There was a major computer projection glitch and they needed extra time to get back online. We had to delay the start our first session.”
Several colleagues commented on how app helped keep things running smoothly. Said Christian Union VP Lorri Bentch, “We needed to switch room assignments for a couple of breakouts in the middle of the conference. We just updated the schedule on the fly and never missed a beat. We looked professional and attendees went to the correct room. It was great.”
The Christian Union team was really happy with how the app enhanced the conference experience in 2016, but Elizabeth noted:
Christian Union will use tools like push notifications and instant polling to keep communication open and free flowing, while being able to track the experiences of attendees in order to continue to create great conference experiences.