Skip to main content

How the Diversity Workforce Coalition Grew Their Event Attendance by 526% in 2020

Author: Tatiana Morand
December 17, 2020
🕑 4 min read

This year has been pivotal for many reasons — one of which is that the corporate world is finally realizing the impact and importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

However, many organizations are still learning the ins and outs of implementing DEI best practices, or aren’t sure they’re doing it right.

That’s where the Diversity Workforce Coalition comes in.

“Given the racial climate in our country right now, organizations are looking for D, E, and I resources and we are positioned to be that resource,” said Tina Sharby, President of the DWC’s board of directors and one of its founding members.

The DWC is a membership organization of employers and other community members who aims to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace through education, networking and training of its members and community partners in the New Hampshire region.

Diversity Workforce Coalition homepage

“I was the Diversity Chair on a local Society for Human Resource Management chapter, the Manchester Area HR Association, and struggled to find information about diversity, inclusion and equity local to me in New Hampshire,” said Sharby.

Her difficulty in finding relevant resources led her to help form the DWC in 2012 so that other organizations wouldn’t face the same obstacles.

Their commitment to helping other organizations learn more about DEI has allowed them to grow their number of event attendees from 150 in 2019 to 940 in 2020 — an increase of 526%.

Want to know how they did it, and how your organization can follow in their footsteps?

Read on!

Harnessing the Power of Virtual Events

As with many other membership organizations, the DWC pivoted to primarily offering online programs this year in order to continue providing value to members and non-members alike.

“When COVID emerged, we were able to pivot to providing on-line education programs free of charge to not only our members, but anyone who wanted to participate,” said Sharby.

They offer a variety of virtual events related to DEI that organizations of all types can participate in, such as the one below.

Eight Strategies for Creating a More Inclusive Volunteer Program

Another way they’ve expanded their reach with virtual events is by showcasing their expertise at other organizations’ events.

“Our board members have been invited to participate in panel discussions for various businesses, most recently NH Business Review, leading to higher visibility in the state and new members,” said Sharby.

Building an Inclusive and Diverse Workspace

Takeaway: While offering virtual events that are valuable is important, it’s just the first step in gaining more members. Partnering with other local organizations or businesses is a great way to get more visibility for your organization too!


Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

How WildApricot Has Helped the DWC Grow

Of course, it’s not enough to simply offer great content: you also have to promote it to your prospective audience.

To get more attendees, the Diversity Workforce Coalition focuses on three main promotional tactics: using their WildApricot website, email blasts (also sent via WildApricot), and press releases.

It’s easy to find their events page from their top navigation, so that new visitors and long-time members alike can access everything they have upcoming as well as learn more about past events and watch replays.

dwc events page

Once they’ve attended, it’s also easy for potential members to sign up on their WildApricot site for a membership.

“WildApricot is easy to use, easy for individuals visiting our site to navigate and complete a membership application,” said Sharby. “It is easy to track new members and attendees so we can reach out to invite attendees to become members.”

Takeaway: Having a central home where members can find information about your organization, from the events you offer to all of your membership benefits, Is key to providing a good experience. Making it as easy as possible for new members to join will make it more likely that they’ll do so!

Providing the Right Membership Incentives

Since the DWC’s events are open to both members and non-members, their goal is to provide enough value upfront that non-members will decide to learn more about their organization.

“If individuals have walked away from an event or program with new information, have made new contacts, and/or see the value of membership, they will join,” said Sharby.

To increase their membership’s value, the DWC offers several membership benefits. These include additional DEI training for members, networking opportunities, and additional company branding to show members’ commitment to diversity.

The most important opportunity in terms of branding is their annual award, announced every year at their annual conference.

“We have one annual event that is a day-long event, and includes an award for businesses that promote diversity, inclusion and equity. This has been a very popular event for us,” said Sharby.

Offering an award for participating members is a great way to build interest in joining — especially since the award winner is also shared on the DWC homepage for the year, giving them additional visibility to the community.

eastern bank award winner

Takeaway: Provide a clear path for potential members to follow. If you’re offering free events to entice them, make sure you’re also giving concrete ways that they can benefit from becoming paying members as well.

So, What’s Next For the DWC?

Here’s what Sharby hopes to achieve: “We want to be the trusted leader for organizations seeking to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Some of our goals include ensuring sustainability of our organization, increasing our membership base, developing more community partners, and continuing to offer high quality programs.”

If you’re planning on auditing your own organization’s DEI initiatives, here’s what she recommends: “I typically suggest that organizations first inventory their current diversity, and culture. Then determine where they want to be, the gap is where the work begins.”

And if you’re a membership organization who’s looking for a way to easily manage your event registrations and grow your membership, check out WildApricot for free for 30 days.

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

Get the report now!