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Sparking Change: 3 Ways to Turn an Event into a Movement

Advancements in technology have opened up new pathways for humans to connect. With this capability, the power of a single event to act as a catalyst for larger, sustained movements is more significant than ever. Whether it’s a conference, seminar, or workshop, the challenge for social impact organizations lies in transforming one-time engagements into lasting impacts that continue to resonate and inspire collective action.

Imagine walking into a room where every corner is alive with possibility—visual boards with meeting themes, engaging signage, a playlist that matches the meeting's personality and interactive spaces buzzing with collaboration.

I remember the first time I saw a room of people light up as they entered a meeting space.

It was like watching a spark catch fire!

This article is for all of the change-makers out there. Keep reading to discover 3 ways you can create a spark to build momentum and turn a single event into a movement:

Photo of Belinda Jackson and a grantee meeting prticipant discussing a topic using their hands and facial expressions to emphasize information. They are standing in front of some visual charts with question prompts written on them.
Watkins Christian Foundation | Regional Grantee Meeting | Macon, GA

1. Prioritize Connection and Experience

While the logistical aspects of event planning are crucial, prioritizing connection and experiential learning can significantly enhance the impact of your event. Designing spaces and schedules that promote informal interactions and deep discussions can lead to more meaningful engagement and a stronger commitment to collective goals.

Create Interactive Opportunities: Engage participants by incorporating interactive elements such as 'interactive walls' where they can dialogue, and express their thoughts, commitments, or ideas for action in real-time. Posting open-ended questions and poll responses on charts or screens gives participants a voice but also visually reaffirms the collective commitment of the group to the cause.


Image of Kimberly Renee's ARC speaker series presentation titled Death to Frankenstein: an Exploration of the State of DEI. Using images and pictures to capture main ideas of her speak. Flashlight featuring DEI highlights. Heart and brain illustrations to focs on the heart work of caring for others. DEIB execution now and what it should be.
HHMI’s ARC speaker series is hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science Leadership and Culture (CASLC) | Graphic Recording by Belinda Jackson, Associate, Crowley & Co

2. Host a Series

An event shouldn't be an end in itself but a beginning. Create a series of events that build on the initial momentum, each designed with a clear, actionable goal that aligns with your overarching mission.

Mission-Aligned Speaker Series: Howard Hughes Medical Institute launched the ARC speaker series to enhance participants’ knowledge, skills, and insight into science, leadership, and culture. After each session, participants can join discussion groups and visit the curated website to access the recordings and visual notes of presentations.

Panel Discussions for Multiple Perspectives: Incorporate panel discussions in a series to keep the content dynamic and inclusive. Panels bring together diverse voices and offer a richer, more comprehensive understanding of complex issues. This format not only educates but also highlights the multifaceted nature of challenges, making the movement's goals seem more attainable and relevant.


Photo of graphic recording on butcher paper hanging on a dark wall with spotlighting at a venue. Chart title is Suburban Housing and Educational Equity
Graphic Recording Chart | JHU Center for Safe and Healthy Schools Conference, Washington, DC

3. Design an Immersive Experience

To truly cut through the noise and make your event memorable, integrate immersive learning experiences that resonate emotionally and intellectually with participants.

Visual Thinking: Effectively using visual storytelling by featuring interactive visual charts (graphic recordings) created in real-time can transform abstract concepts into something concrete and relatable.

A chart with the title Six Word Story. There are hexagon shapes of different colors with handwritten notes connected and taped on the paper.
Six Word Story | NCC, Washington, DC

Intentional Displays: Thoughtfully displaying charts throughout a multi-day event or revisiting charts from past annual meetings helps to reinforce and amplify the impact of the spoken and written word.

Participants love sharing images digitally- which can be done on multiple devices. After a convening has ended, visual assets can help keep the vibe of the conversation alive!

By prioritizing connection, cultivating an immersive experience, and designing a series of events, you can create a dynamic movement poised to make a lasting impact.

At Picture it Possible: visual strategy + facilitation, we help event hosts and CEOS transform gatherings into visually engaging platforms for dialogue, education, and transformation. 

Click here to check out our new live scribing page featuring services for social impact organizations.



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