Eventbrite hosted the RECONVENE summit in May 2021, bringing together thousands of event producers. We’re sharing key takeaways from popular sessions — on topics like safely returning to in-person events, data insights, and best practices for fostering connection — on our blog and our RECONVENE Recaps hub.

Food Tank, a non-profit organization, has a big goal: to build “a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters.”

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t deter co-founder Danielle Nierenberg, who quickly pivoted to hosting virtual events that proved very successful. During Eventbrite’s RECONVENE summit, Nierenberg discussed how the organization galvanized its community and grew its audience during the pandemic. “Food connects us all,” she says. Here are five takeaways for event creators.

Watch Danielle Nierenberg’s full talk here:

Build connections between people who usually wouldn’t be in the same room

During the pandemic, Food Tank hosted more than 250 virtual dialogues on issues relating to food sustainability. The events included panels, livecasts, and summits featuring big names in the food industry, such as celebrity chefs.

“The thing that was missing, with food organizations across the spectrum, was that they weren’t bringing as many voices together as they could,” Nierenberg says. So Food Tank has aimed to change that. At one virtual event, for example, a food justice advocate might be speaking alongside a corporate executive. Those kinds of unlikely alliances and conversations are key to making change, she says, because people often have more in common than they think they do.

It’s vital to create a safe space for your community to be honest and blunt, Nierenberg adds. All attendees need to know that they can speak freely (and that doing so is necessary to create change).

Connect with and partner with academic organizations

This is a smart idea because academic organizations “add gravitas” and bring a built-in community, Nierenberg says. They offer an ecosystem of experts that you can draw on for different ideas. Plus, they often have space you can take advantage of, as well as students you can engage with. “We really want youth to be a part of these conversations,” she says.

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Connect with your community

More than 350,000 people around the globe read Food Tank’s newsletter and engage with the organization. Nierenberg says she gets “constant feedback and criticism” about what the group should be covering, what voices aren’t being heard, and how they can engage with those people. “That community of really excited and passionate folks is what drives us,” she says.

She adds that Food Tank always makes sure there are ways for people to contribute to events with comments, questions, and concerns. She’s found it is vital, for example, to make time for audience questions. “It’s just so important to keep them engaged and part of the conversation so they feel they have a real voice,” she says.

Utilize Eventbrite to foster community engagement and connection

Without Eventbrite, Nierenberg says, Food Tank wouldn’t be able to do as much as it does. She likes using the platform to communicate with attendees before and after events, which helps build community. 

In August, Food Tank is hosting a musical production called WeCameToDance as part of the 2021 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Eventbrite will play a key role in making sure word about the show gets out to as many people beyond Fringe as possible, Nierenberg says.

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