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  • Writer's pictureChris Strub

Case Study: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Conference 2017

This June, I was invited to help host the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Conference at the Sheraton Marina Hotel in San Diego.

The BBBSA national team did an extraordinary amount of work preparing a detailed plan of action for our Facebook Live coverage, and coordinated an official partnership with Facebook Live that brought a tremendously professional spirit to the whole project. They worked with their advertising agency to build a full-size step-and-repeat, and acquired flood lighting, boom microphones, director's chairs and computer equipment that made everything we accomplished on site possible. (Pictured above, in pink, is Nicole Burdick of BBBS of the Black Hills in Rapid City, S.D., and Sara McDowell, of BBBS of South Central West Virginia.)

When I arrived in San Diego on Sunday morning in advance of the Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday conference, I was incredibly impressed by the presentation of the 'stage' they'd set up. What we accomplished in San Diego would, in no way, have been possible without the hard work by many members of the BBBS national team.

We also worked together to plan a schedule throughout the week that included a mix of staff and board members, award winners and celebrity guests, including NBC's Kate Snow, actor Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle"), NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green, Beachbody celebrity Joel Freeman and keynote speaker Vu Le, among others. On Monday and Wednesday, I co-hosted with Sara McDowell, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia, while on Tuesday I handled the hosting responsibilities solo.

Throughout each day, we invited notable staff members from around the country to join us for a few minutes on the Facebook Live stage. Participants were hand-picked based on successes in their local markets; for example, the teams from Miami and Los Angeles were recognized for their 'Bigs in Blue' program, which pairs young people in need of mentors with members of the local law enforcement community. Below is Armen Babajanian from Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas.

In three days on "set," I contributed to 25 live interviews from the set with dozens of BBBS VIPs. I also attended the official launch of the 'Bigs in Blue' program at Petco Park in San Diego, and was brought out onto the field as BBBS CEO Pam Iorio threw out the first pitch on behalf of BBBS nationwide. I used the DJI Osmo Mobile to film an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Pam's warm-up pitches and pre-game discussions with Padres staff. Our most viewed video of the week was with Donnevin and Alex from BBBS of Northeast Indiana; see it here

Additionally, I presented a 75-minute session on how individual affiliates nationwide can use live-streaming to further their mission; the beginning portion of that session was also live-streamed on the BBBSA Facebook page (unfortunately, the connection dropped several minutes in, but here's the video). I also had a Snapchat geofilter on the final day of the conference, which NBC's Kate Snow used in a selfie with me on her own account.

BBBSA staff also faciliated the production and live-streaming of the conference's general sessions, including the keynote speakers like Darrell Green (pictured above), although I was not involved with the streaming of these sessions.

After the dust settled, the Facebook Live videos from the FB Live stage and the baseball game gathered nearly 46,000 organic views. Add in several thousand views for the general sessions and the Big Brothers Big Sisters conference live videos earned over 52,000 views on Facebook.

All things considered, this conference, in my opinion, set a new standard for the way that national nonprofits must use live-streaming to share their message through social media. Working with CEO Pam Iorio, above, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America team was a joy, as their preparation and hard work paid off. I was grateful to be part of the team, and look forward to hopefully working with them at their 2018 conference in St. Louis.

If you represent an organization looking for additional attention for your conference, contact me via email, chrisstrub (at), and check out my homepage at for more information about other events I’ve worked at, my press kit, my book and more.

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