8 Ways to Make a Difference Through Your Virtual Summit

summit success values Mar 28, 2023

Let's cover 8 ways you can make a difference through your virtual summit from donating to causes you care about to highlighting new people and so much more.

We're back this week with another episode in our series about virtual summits for high-volume business owners, that is business owners who need a relatively high volume of leads to hit their sales goals. These last few episodes have sort of transformed into a series-within-a-series about how to host a value-aligned, people-focused, difference-making virtual summit, which was an accident, but I'm into it, and I hope you are too.

Our last two episodes have hit a lot on infusing your values into a summit, prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and questioning the way summits are typically done. Today, we're going to round this out by talking about the top opportunities for making a difference through your summit so you can think about what you want to include in your next event (and maybe even weave it into your business as a whole moving forward). I want you to DM me after finishing up this post and let me know which of these things you are going to try.

It's so easy to go into the summit hosting process with pretty selfish goals, and I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with that. Afterall, we're business owners who need to grow our businesses and make money so that we can help people. But what you might notice after your first summit is that your impact is so much wider than you expected, and can be even more so with some extra attention from you.

Bringing together hundreds or thousands of people is a huge opportunity that you can really use to do good, just by building a few things in, without a ton of extra effort.

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8 Ways to Make a Difference

Let's dive in and talk about some of the ways to give back and make a difference through your summit. Pay attention to which ones are your favorites, and which things feel doable so you can make a note to include those things in your next event!

#1: Donate a portion of your profit

The first one, that I would say is probably the most obvious and super easy, is to just donate a portion of your event profit. For us at Summit in a Box, donating a portion of profit each quarter is built into our business, and that includes profit that comes from any summit we host that quarter. But before we did our donations this way, we donated a portion of our summit profits at the end of each event.

This included:

  • Choosing a cause.
  • Adding a quick, short-and-sweet FAQ about it on the all-access pass sales page.
  • Making a donation after the event based on what I felt like, rather than any percentage.
  • Letting attendees know about it.

My goal with letting attendees know was for them to be excited about making a difference rather than making myself look good. Our first summit in 2022 started right as the war in Ukraine was beginning and it was fresh on everyone's minds. A lot of help was needed over there, and I also had two Ukrainian speakers, both with family in Ukraine, and that made it an obvious to donate to causes supporting Ukrainian refugees. We also featured it more openly than normal with a section right on our registration page. This helped attendees know that they were making a difference and they could be excited about that. This is such a great and easy option for giving back through your event. Even if you do nothing else, this is making an impact.

Steps to take to make this happen:

  1. Choose your cause. This could be one you give to regularly. It could be a choice based on what's going on in the world. You could even let attendees help you decide too.
  2. Decide how much you're going to give. Is it going to be a flat fee that you decide ahead of time? Is it going to be a portion of your event profit? Is it going to be a gut feeling and just what you feel like doing at the end of the day?
  3. Add it somewhere so people know. Whether it has its own big section right on the registration page or it's just a small mention in an FAQ on the all-access pass sales page, do whatever feels good to you.
  4. Add a task to your project plan so you don't forget to make that donation at the end! 

#2: Highlight a cause you care about

Going right along with that is highlighting causes you care about through your summit to raise awareness. Highlighting a cause or organization could look like:

  • featuring them as the cause you're giving back to
  • linking to their website whenever you talk about them
  • inviting them to come give a presentation
  • inviting them to give a pre-party session
  • facilitating a Q&A session
  • giving them a free sponsorship spot
  • shouting them out in all your emails
  • involving them in your summit in some other way

Depending on your event, the causes that are important to you, and the causes you want more people to know about, there are many different ways to do this, so get creative!

#3: Give a scholarship to your offer

The next way to make a difference through your summit is by giving a scholarship to one of your courses or paid offers. If you're launching a paid offer at the end of your event, giving away a scholarship, (or several) has the added bonus that it also builds awareness for your offer. I know people have varying thoughts and beliefs around scholarships, specifically the use of the word scholarship and what it alludes to, but it's a great way to create an opportunity for someone to join your program.

When we do this, I don't necessarily base it on need. I’m hesitant to read someone's words and judge whether they need a scholarship more than someone else does and make judgments about anyone's life. In the client summit we just ran, they did do it based on a type of need. But it's also really difficult to judge whether that person is more in need, or more deserving, than anyone else. Regardless of how you do it, it’s a really great way to make a difference.

#4: Highlight people who aren’t always seen

The next way you can make a difference through your summit is to highlight people who aren't always in the spotlight, the people who aren't seen on every single summit registration page out there, or who are on every podcast out there.

Speaker selection is, of course, what comes to mind for me first. So many summits are just a rotation of the same speakers over and over and over. And I'm guilty of it too. Those are the people who are easy to find. They want to speak, and you know they do good work.

I'm not saying every single speaker has to be someone nobody has heard of, but be open to people without huge platforms who have incredible value to offer. It's a great opportunity for your attendees to learn from someone new, and it's a really wonderful way to start to amplify a new voice and help lift them up in business

One way you could do this by adding panels or other special sessions to your event that features some of the less well-known names out there. Overall, look for ways you can highlight people who aren't already always highlighted.

#5: Lead with your values

The next thing I want you to consider is leading with and teaching your values through your summit. Lead with your values in the way you do things, the decisions you make, and then teach your values to other people so you can spread them and they can start to live by those values as well.

For example, something I've done in my three most recent events is incorporate a series that I call "Let's Do Better". I don't remember exactly when it was, but there was a point where I became much clearer on my values, and because of that, I started to really notice things that could be done better so the name of the series came from me thinking, “Let's see how we can all do a little bit better, not perfect, just better.”

Even if these sessions don't necessarily tie in with your topic, it's still a powerful thing to include. It's definitely putting you and your values out there, but it will call in the right people and send a message about things you care about. You're also helping other people learn the things you've learned and help them do better.

#6: Focus on your people

The next way that you can make a difference through your virtual summit is to truly focus on your people. I'm always preaching the importance of focusing on how other people benefit through your summit before you focus on yourself, because it all comes back to benefit you in the end.

Focus on your audience and what they need through this event, give them a transformation, get them started on a transformational path, or show them something new that's possible for them.

For example, in the client summit we just ran, we couldn't necessarily give people all the tools they needed to change their lives in the way our clients’ programs do, but it was incredibly powerful to see thousands of attendees start to have hope and see a path thay could go down related to the topic. Even though the actual transformation hadn't happened yet, I have no doubt that it changed and even saved the lives of some of the attendees.

#7: Teach your speakers a new way

Next up, is teaching your speakers a new way of running a business, marketing, or running an event. This is not something I'd have ever thought of myself, but depending on your niche and the experience of your speakers with online marketing, you might have the opportunity to change your speakers' lives by showing them what's possible in their business through your event.

Example #1: A Life-Changing 6-Figure Card-Making Summit

As an example, when Brandi decided to host a summit, she noticed that people in her niche, including herself, really weren't monetizing what they did very effectively, if at all. What they did was basically give a ton away for free on YouTube, and then settled for tiny affiliate commissions and YouTube payouts. They didn't see what was possible for them, but through Brandi’s summit, she showed them what was possible and got them started with monetizing their businesses much more effectively.

Since her summit, not only has she start a separate business teaching them how to monetize, but summits have absolutely exploded in her crafting niche, almost to the point of it being an issue with everyone doing the same thing.

More importantly, these people are charging for the work they do and making a living off of what they were doing for free for so long. And it has been so incredible to see that as a possibility with a summit.

Example #2: Our Client Summit

Another example of this comes from our client summit. They're in another B2C niche, and some of the speakers were very, very effective and advanced marketers, but a lot of them had huge social media platforms and huge numbers of pageviews on their blogs but didn't monetize at all. We're talking 200,000 plus followers on Instagram with no offers or email list. They were getting a ton of traffic to their website or their blog, but there was no real monetizing.

The client that we worked with is an incredible online marketer, and she decided to use her summit as an opportunity to teach these people. Part of that teaching was yes, so these people could market the summit more effectively and use these big platforms to benefit our client, but also because she saw the opportunity they were missing and wanted to help educate them and change their lives and businesses.

To help those speakers, we hosted a live marketing training for them that covered how to market the summit on their platforms, how to grow their email list through the event, and how to set up a simple funnel to make money. We talked them through a good welcome sequence and everything they needed to leverage this event they were speaking at and carry it even further. We were able to help these speakers get started with building an email list and monetizing the huge platforms they had built, and I know for sure two of the speakers are changing their hobby platforms into businesses now. That is so cool to see as an opportunity.

If you're in a business-to-business space, you might feel like you have less of a chance to do something like this, but if you're not reaching out to all the most well-known experts, you do still have an opportunity. Not everyone in the B2B space understands how to take full advantage of speaking opportunities, and I would say very few people, even if they know how to do it, actually do it.

You have the opportunity to show those people what's possible and guide them through taking full advantage of speaking at your summit.

In our Summit in a Box and Launch with a Summit Accelerator programs, one of the templates I give our clients and students is a Speaker Sales and Opt-In Guide. Basically, it’s a template you can customize and give your speakers that walks them through how to get the most out of the summit and talks about the strategy of getting the most opt-ins and sales and affiliate income as possible. You can do something like that too!

Give your speakers what they need to make the most of your event whether it's a PDF, a quick Loom video, a live training, or welcoming them to ask you any questions they have. You can make a difference for these speakers.

#8: Show others how summits can be done right

The final thing we'll talk about here is how you can make a difference through your summit by showing people how summits can be done. There are a lot of terrible summits out there, and I mean that in a few different ways:

  • summits with nasty strategies
  • hosts that do not value their speakers, mistreat them, and put way too much pressure on them
  • an unorganized experience that involves a lot more pitching than giving

Through your summit though, you have the chance to show what summits can look like, from both a speaker standpoint and an attendee standpoint.

For example:

  • If you firmly believe that speakers should be paid, pay your speakers.
  • If you firmly believe that no promotion should ever be required from your speakers, don't require any and show them that you can still host a great event.
  • If you think speakers should be given a super fun experience rather than constantly being pressured, make it fun.

You have so many opportunities to show people that it's possible to do things differently, and that is exciting!

If you're ready to host a high-converting virtual summit to replace your slow-growth marketing strategies and use it to lead into your biggest course launch yet, I've got an exclusive training just for you. This training is for those who are interested in working with me in our Launch with a Summit Accelerator where we help our clients host life and business-changing virtual summits that lead to successful course launches. In the free private training. I'll show you exactly how it works along with all kinds of examples. Apply for an invite to the Launch with a Summit Accelerator today!

Think About Ways You Can Give Back Through Your Event

I hope you found this episode helpful and inspirational, and that it got you thinking about ways you can give back through your event. There are so many different ways you can do this, including ideas that we haven't covered here. Get creative and think about ways to give back that feel exciting to you! 

Let’s recap the different ways you can make a difference through your summit.

  1. Donate a portion of your profit.
  2. Highlight causes you care about.
  3. Give scholarships to your offer.
  4. Highlight new people.
  5. Lead with and teach your values.
  6. Focus on your audience.
  7. Teach your speakers a new way of running their business.
  8. Show how summits can be done.

That's not an exhaustive list but these are the things that come to mind for me.

What To Do Next

Let me know if you thought of something else that you can do or have already done to make a difference through your event.

Think about how you can incorporate one or more of these strategies into your next event and let's keep moving forward with changing the way summits are done, because they can be amazing in so many ways when they're hosted by people who care.



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Let's cover 8 ways you can make a difference through your virtual summit from donating to causes you care about to highlighting new people and so much more.Let's cover 8 ways you can make a difference through your virtual summit from donating to causes you care about to highlighting new people and so much more.

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