VCN Digital Workshops Spearheading Innovation and Scalability
At the Virtual Counselor Network, we’ve always been called to follow new trends, explore innovative services, and push the envelope on uncovering more effective ways to help our partners serve clients. We’ve been known to put our nose to the grindstone and forget to shout to the rooftops when a cool innovative tool goes above and beyond in helping partners succeed in serving clients.
To remedy that, we are dedicating this entire post to the success of our VCN Digital Workshops. Through giving partners the tools to host entire workshops online, they are maximizing attendance and removing barriers for clients to access this valuable—and life changing—information.
We’ll admit we may be biased about the power of these digital tools. That’s why we don’t want you to take our word for it. Instead, see what the counselors from our partner organizations have to say about our digital workshops.
Introducing Two of Our Amazing Workshop Hosts
We connected with two of our skilled presenters to drive home the power of integrating different tools into how you reach your clients. Cher Stingo is a Community Reinvestment and Community Partnerships Relationship Officer from Chase Mortgage Banking. Lori Bartolini-Wartrous is an Education and Community Outreach Coordinator for Credit.org.
They have each hosted several of our VCN Virtual Workshops.
Reaching Audiences Far and Wide
The beauty of a digital workshop revolves around the ability to increase your audience base and reach.
Cher pointed out that, “When you host an in-person workshop, it limits the number of people you can reach. With innovation, you can build, scale, and increase reach. In some cases, you can reach upwards of 200 people.”
That differs drastically from the reach at small, localized event at a library or community center. Lori commented that in her 12 years doing workshops, attendance was hit or miss at community events. Particularly in the LA region, geographic barriers and subsequent traffic challenges, can limit attendance. All those barriers disappear when you go virtual.
Recent workshops have had attendees from all over California as well neighboring states.
For national organizations like Credit.org and Chase Bank, working with audience bases around the states help achieve their overall missions.
Benefitting Organizations Big and Small
While both Credit.Org and Chase Bank service national clientele, the same tools can equip smaller nonprofits to better reach the outskirts of their local demographic. The key is versatility. A smaller regional organization that services all of San Diego County still runs into challenges choosing a location or time that gives patrons all over the county the ability to join the workshop.
With the ability to record and replay a session, the timing of the workshop no longer becomes a barrier. Additionally, an organization can archive the workshop for later use or post it on their website for the general public to access.
At the VCN, we bring in different organizations to partner on either individual workshops or entire series. Topics range from “Banking Basics” to “The Path to Homeownership” to “Improving Your Credit” and more.
Through encouraging VCN partners to collaborate, we give participants a better workshop because we are pulling from the strengths and information bank of both organizations. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for the presenters to learn from each other as well.
Lori commented that, “As a presenter, I always learn something from the other presenters.”
Each participating organization also benefits from the cross promotion with their partnering organization and the VCN. We all market the event through our platforms.
Lori also highlighted that through partnering with the VCN, they are able to easily direct clients to other service providers when their needs go beyond the scope of Credit.org. So often clients don’t realize that there are additional free services they can access to help with all their challenges. Credit.org appreciates the ability to refer clients to the VCN and know they will get access to accompanying services.
Convenience For All Parties Involved
Rather than fighting traffic and making their way to an in-person event after a long day at work, participants can enjoy the VCN workshops from the comfort of their home, from their phone while riding the bus, or anywhere that is convenient for them. As for the presenters, they can host directly from their office. This also skips having to navigate new equipment at each different venue.
The key aspect is that virtual workshops make attending and presenting easier for everyone. It also saves time by shaving off the commute and parking commitments.
Blending Different Service Models
Cher emphasized that digital workshops and in-person events each have their place and time. While digital workshops increase reach, it limits the ability to “get a feeling from the room” or see the level of interest written across participants’ faces.
That’s why at the VCN we like to add these virtual tools to your toolbox. We give you access to innovative ways of serving your clients to complement the things that are already working in your organization. It’s not about changing the model completely, but instead about looking for opportunities to apply innovation or increase your reach.