Visitors can build a custom experience at the first virtual Exposure event

Exposure is going virtual for the first time.

It's a different format, but attendees can still expect a high-energy event with live performances, discussions, and virtual booths showcasing over 100 Memphis-area organizations. 

"It has much of the magic of Memphis from the comfort of your home," said Nora Murray, New Memphis' community engagement manager and Exposure coordinator.

The free event is hosted by New Memphis alongside title sponsor Independent Bank and has been open to the public since 2016.

Exposure 2020 will be streamed through the Hopin online platform on September 1 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Find more information and register here. September 1 is also 901 Day, which is an annual celebration of all things Memphis.

Exposure was held at the FedEx Forum in 2019. Visitors moved from table to table meeting representatives from Mid-South companies, clubs, and organizations divided into categories like community, service and volunteering, social, health, fitness, education, and arts & culture.

Guests could sample products, collect free swag, play games, win prizes, and watch demonstrations.

People who pre-register to this year's event will receive a sway bag filled with discounts and freebies. They can also play a virtual game through the event. One randomly selected player will win $500 for themselves and the local nonprofit of their choice.

"It will be similar to a bucket list or scavenger hunt where we’ll ask attendees to learn a little more about their city while exploring the various opportunities," said Murray.

There's an optional survey for guests to share what they hope to get out Exposure 2020 and their interest areas. New Memphis will then send a customized list of organizations that match their interests. 

"One of our Embark alumni recently said that for every challenge Memphis has, there are at least 20 organizations working to solve that problem. I believe that wholeheartedly," said Murray.

"No matter what each attendee is passionate about, they can expect to find at least one like-minded organization or individual to connect with to heighten their experience in Memphis."

New Memphis will kick off their 901 Day celebration with video tours of favorite Memphis assets and locales. The videos will run throughout the day on their Facebook page and Instagram. Murray said she's particularly excited about this new addition to the expo. 

"We can’t typically pack up a museum or a park and bring it with us to the Forum," she said. 

Visitors can visit booths on Hopin by watching recorded videos. Many organizations will also be available live. There are options to watch all of the videos or pick. The customized list comes in handy here.

Murray said it was a big challenge to move the event to a virtual format, but she thinks New Memphis and the participating organizations have stepped up to the task. 

"It was truly a challenge to reimagine such an interactive event. When attendees walk through the door, they're immediately overwhelmed by all of the amazing organizations, artistic beat, the Memphis flavor, and the overall pulse of the city," she said. "We hear this time and time again."

New Memphis developed the customized experience from insights learned in previous years. 

"What we’ve learned from attendees in the past is that they experience the event in different ways," said Murray.

Murray said they may not be able to capture the same "wow factor" as the in-person expo—she sited the massive cruise ship facade built at the entrance of United Way's volunteer lounge at last year's event. But New Memphis is hoping to inspire the same level of connection and information sharing, especially as organizations and businesses across the city face shortages in financing and boots on the ground alongside increased needs. 

Murray also said that there are some advantages to an online event. 

"Memphis is a metro area and our hope is that we can expand the excitement around Memphis a little further geographically and into households that may struggle with transportation but who still want to connect and engage with their city," she said. 
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Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017.