5 Design Ideas to Make Your Next Convention Smart & Beautiful

Planning a convention or conference is, well, a lot. Your team’s to-do list is likely a mile (or two) long with registration, travel and room logistics, packing and transporting supplies, communicating with vendors and arranging facilitators – we’re getting dizzy just thinking about it! And there’s still the matter of creating and marketing an experience. Suffice it to say, no one person can do it all. That’s exactly why we’re here to help.

Read on to find out how we’ve helped a few of our Sorority and Fraternity partners elevate their conferences to an event that sparked connections and left attendees wowed. (Heads up: These ideas aren’t limited to Greek life! If you have a convention or conference coming up in any industry, these can work for you!)


Flip, Scan, Give

Fraternities and Sororities know that Convention is a great time to catch up with old friends and build relationships with new ones. And for Foundations, Convention also means meeting with constituents and fostering the next generation of donors. But directing people to a giving site mid-conversation can be a clunky experience.

Alpha Phi Foundation foresaw this in time for their Leading With Heart campaign celebration and sought a solution to make the in-person giving experience smoother and more personal. Mini business cards were created with a QR code leading to their giving site on one side and scanning directions on the other. The intention was to make it easy for new donors to get onto the site without interrupting the flow of conversation, but they also served as a nice reminder to make a gift when the new donor returned home and unpacked her bags.

Bonus: These small cards were sized so staff members and campaign volunteers could slide them into the back of their lanyard name tags. When they found themselves in conversation with someone who would like to give to the campaign, they could easily flip their lanyard, have the new donor scan with their phone’s camera and voila!


Life is Like a Box of…Goodies!

Big moments call for big enthusiasm. For the launch of Alpha Chi Omega Foundation’s Common Bond, Uncommon Influence capital campaign at their summer convention, getting that enthusiasm early on was critical to establishing buy-in from attendees.

Customized influencer boxes filled with goodies and social shareables were crafted and shared pre-launch with selected donors to build excitement for the launch. Influencers were provided a small set of instructions on how to best utilize the box, including posting photos with the goodies on their social media, sending handwritten postcards to sisters across the country and using the campaign’s hashtag.

The donors felt the appreciation for their early investment in the campaign and were able to successfully build hype.


Display All Day

Display booths can be tricky to build out and let’s be real, expensive, especially when they are event-specific. The one-time use is hard to justify, but on the other hand, using your traditional brand may be out of place for the context of the booth. This is exactly the predicament Delta Tau Delta Foundation overcame when they realized they needed a booth for their campaign launch Forging the Future, but needed to warrant the price with an evergreen design.

The R&R team designed a display booth to complement their overarching Foundation and Forging the Future brands. The largest pieces of the booth are perennial to their brand, so they only need to be replaced if they rebrand, while the smallest components, such as the header and podium, were designed to be campaign-specific. The solution – once the campaign ends, these smaller pieces would be inexpensive to re-order with the Foundation’s brand on them.

DTDF Convention Brand Placemaking Design


Make it Comfy

This one calls for a little extra planning on the front end, but we promise your conference attendees will love you for it.

In preparation for Alpha Phi Fraternity’s 2022 Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, Alpha Phi Foundation wanted a special way to thank their donors. What better way than a relaxing and luxurious space to go unwind? From charging stations to campaign reading materials, the Alpha Phi Foundation’s Hospitality Suite was equipped with everything a weary conference-goer might need to refresh and recharge to her heart’s content. This quiet retreat away from the Arizona heat also made for an ideal private space for staff members and volunteers to have meaningful conversations with donors.


Give Thanks (A Lot of It!)

So, we’ve already established you can’t do it all. It takes a village, or in the case of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a volunteer. When Rhyme & Reason connected with Kappa Kappa Gamma on how to thank their volunteers for Volunteer Appreciation Month way back in April, we helped them build a content strategy that would meet volunteers where they’re at. This included unique touchpoints and goodies that expressed gratitude without adding to their task list and optional virtual get-togethers for those who had free time to participate.

These expressions of gratitude ultimately culminated in volunteers arriving at Convention in July more enthusiastic and eager to participate. A well-considered pre-event strategy accounts for all the ways your members are being communicated to and identifies how they want to be communicated with, even months before your conference. And it is never too soon to create a culture of gratitude for their attendance.

Kappa Kappa Gamma Volunteer Appreciation social post