ONA21 Sponsor FAQ

How will ONA help me succeed as an exhibitor at ONA21?

ONA has worked to create an online space to help all of our partners more easily connect with the community and promote their important work.

  • The right tools: After surveying dozens platforms for interactive exhibitor experiences, we selected Grip, an AI-enabled professional networking tool that helps exhibitors and attendees meet and connect one-on-one through text or video chat. During the event, attendees can connect directly with groups they are interested in learning more about. ONA will promote our partners leading up to the conference to pique their interest.
  • Preparation: Using a tool like Grip means that rather than trying to attract every person who walks by, you can search and communicate directly with exactly the type of attendees you are trying to reach. We will help you understand how to use Grip to make quality connections by sharing best practices and guides, holding office hours and interactive training sessions prior to the conference. A little prep goes a long way.

One of the reasons I go to the annual ONA conference is to meet with or discover companies and products. Will that be possible in a virtual conference?

You bet! ONA21 is using Grip, an AI-enabled professional networking platform that helps attendees meet and connect with exhibitors and fellow attendees one-on-one through text or video chat. We used Grip at our virtual ONA20 conference with great success:

  • 50% of registered attendees (non-sponsor) actively used Grip to make one-to-one connections to exhibitors and other partners.
  • 65% of those activated chatted in the platform and/or scheduled an in-platform video meetings (Grip’s benchmark for virtual events is 40%)
  • 44% of meetings requested through Grip were accepted (compared to 10-20% for similar-sized virtual conferences using Grip)
  • 56.8% said they found 2 or more connections to new tools and technology, 74.4% said 1 or more
  • 80% of those surveyed said they planned to continue communicating with new connections, 47% of respondents said they’ll follow up with 1-3 connections after ONA20, and 23% said they’d connect with 4-6 individuals after the conference.

Each attendee has an individual profile that can be updated with a picture, bio and interests. Each exhibiting company or organization has its own page linking to offerings and representatives to contact for more information. Attendees and exhibitors can see who else is at the conference by searching by title or interest area, job type and more. Grip’s AI will recommend other attendees and companies/organizations you might want to connect with based on shared interests or connections.

Can I see what the Grip platform looks like? 

Absolutely! Email midway@journalists.org to schedule a virtual walkthrough of Grip.

I have sponsored ONA conferences in the past because I rely on the event to develop professional connections throughout the digital news industry. Will that be possible in a virtual conference?

Yes. Decision-makers across digital journalism are participating in this year’s event. There are a variety of ways to connect sponsors, supporters and Midway participants with ONA21 attendees. These include group and one-to-one interactions through Grip, as well as larger networking events throughout the four-day program.

How can I sponsor ONA21?

We have many opportunities to support ONA21. Please email jessica@journalists.org to discuss opportunities.

What are the benefits of sponsoring ONA21?

Sponsoring ONA21 means that you are supporting journalism and our organization in a time when the global news industry is facing considerable challenges. Our mission — to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism — has never been more important.

ONA is uniquely positioned to deliver a phenomenal experience in a virtual environment. We’re proud to stand at the cross-section of news and tech and to help shepherd partnerships and new opportunities. We use years of feedback and data to help guide us and expand our reach each year – connecting you to forward-thinking professionals across digital news and journalism technology.

Will there be a version of the Start-Up Alley?

We are continuing to support companies founded less than two years ago by creating opportunities specific to their needs and budget.

Will there be Midway Programming?

Yes — ONA21 will feature both curated programming selected through a competitive application process as well as scheduled demo videos from our sponsors to drive more attendees over to Grip each day of the conference.

Have more questions?

Read ONA’s Sponsorship, Donor and Gift Policy for guidance on how ONA solicits and accepts sponsorships, donations and gifts.

Please contact Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz at jessica@journalists.org for more information.