Because the COVID-19 pandemic limited the ability to host in-person events, nonprofits that rely on such events for bringing in donations and connecting with donors found themselves between a rock and a hard place.

“When the pandemic hit, and we looked at two galas — the traditional, in-person, chicken dinner gala, and your $200-plus per plate [gala] — and we looked at those two events and we thought, ‘Well, what are we going to do? How are we going to pivot, how do we stay relevant?’” Maxine Tatlonghari, director of development at American Lung Association, said.

The answer to that was to host the association’s first Champions Unite event.

“It was an idea that came from one of our executive’s sons — he’s young; he’s in his 20s, 30s  — [and] he thought it would be so cool if there was an off-field, off-court talent show using pro athletes to do a talent show and raise money,” Tatlonghari said.

Now in its third year, the event is a “well-oiled machine,” according to Tatlonghari. 

In this episode of The NonProfit Voice Tech Series, Tatlonghari and Nick Lynch, co-founder and CEO of, join Mark Becker, editorial advisory board member for NonProfit PRO, to discuss the benefits of measuring influencers’ impact on virtual events.

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