Sign of the Times: Using Virtual Conferences to Spread the Word about ACH Payments


Michael W. Kahn

Michael W. Kahn


Willie Nelson couldn’t wait to get on the road again. Nor can Nacha’s Industry Verticals team. They’re used to visiting conferences far and wide to share the benefits of ACH payments for everything from charitable giving to recurring subscription payments and more. 

As the pandemic has forced in-person conferences online, the team remains hard at work, only remotely. Nacha and the ACH Network have sponsored and exhibited at virtual events with anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 attendees. 

“I think that the virtual conference is a great idea, and we have the technology that allows us to participate effectively and get the attention that we want,” said Brad Smith, Nacha Senior Director, Industry Engagement and Advocacy. He noted that the team has had virtual booths and other types of presence at several online shows.

“I was part of a discussion at the Subscription Show talking about how recurring subscription payments can be made more easily,” said Smith. At the same show he also recorded a video focusing on the benefits of using ACH for recurring payments.

The team has reached dozens of charitable organizations to provide information on establishing recurring donations using ACH.

“At one of the virtual conferences that we sponsored, hundreds of people expressed interest in acquiring more information about ACH for donations and recurring payments. People virtually drop business cards in the booths, which we then follow up on,” said Smith.

Still, virtual isn’t the same as in-person.

“Virtual conferences and exhibit halls are new for all of us. I think there’s a learning curve for conference organizers and for exhibitors to get the maximum benefit for attendees. Exhibit halls at conferences are a great resource for networking; getting people to investigate virtual exhibit halls is a bit more challenging,” said Smith. 

“We are very appreciative of what various conference organizers have tried to do to maximize engagement and provide value to the sponsors and attendees,” said Smith, adding that the Industry Verticals team needs to rethink ways to better engage people in the virtual booths. Nevertheless, he promised that the team will continue to work hard to raise awareness of the benefits of ACH payments.