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Case Study
American Public Power Association

2014 APPA National Conference & Public Power Expo

The American Public Power Association (APPA) launched its first event app in 2012. The association’s staff received positive feedback from attendees and decided to expand their mobile strategy for future conferences by partnering with CrowdCompass. Since then, APPA has been able to improve its onsite event experience for staff and attendees. With each event, APPA continues to save time, cut printing costs, and add value to its events.

APPA is the service organization for more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities in the U.S. These utilities serve more than 47 million Americans.


hours of work saved per conference


minutes it took for customer service to respond


of attendees are using APPA’s multi-event app

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The Issue

APPA hadn’t planned on offering a mobile event app until one of its members requested to develop one free of charge. The association was hesitant at first because APPA’s membership base is older. They wondered if anyone would even use the app, but the association ultimately decided to give it a chance. Soon, APPA’s staff realized they had very little control over the process of building and launching the app. While this was stressful for APPA, the app was well received by its attendees. Because of this positive feedback, APPA decided to take charge and switch to an established app service provider that would give the staff more autonomy during the development process.

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Why CrowdCompass

APPA looked at seven mobile app companies before a colleague recommended CrowdCompass as an event app provider. With CrowdCompass, APPA staff members could:

  • Be in control of the app but have readily available professional support
  • Update content within the app on their own time and at their own pace
  • Customize the look of each conference app with do-it-yourself options
  • Grow into new functions with each event
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Saving Time and Money

APPA’s biggest event is its National Conference. Before CrowdCompass, the association used to hand out two programs. APPA eliminated the second program in 2013 since a lot of that information could be found in the app. In 2014, APPA plans on eliminating its printed attendee lists.

“When you have 1,500 attendees, printing those 50-page lists for each attendee can add up to a lot of paper,” said LeAnne Nienhuis, manager of education and customer service programs at APPA.

In addition to accessing the attendance lists within the app, attendees can use the app to share contact information and interact with each other before, during, and after the event.

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Appreciated by the Staff

Event staff found the app valuable because they could make changes and updates when necessary. Last-minute changes that came through after the program went to print weren’t a problem because everything was correct in the app, and more attendees were relying on the app for their information. Another great feature was the ability to gather and tabulate attendees’ votes for a video contest that was held during the event reception. Event staff would normally have to spend at least 2.5 hours passing out paper and calculating all the votes. This was no longer necessary because of the app.

“People don't need to pick up a registration packet anymore. We’re heading in the direction of no paper at all. The app is all I use at the conference; I don’t even bother with the printed program.”

– LeAnne Nienhuis, APPA
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Loved by the Event Planner

Having a multi-event app means attendees don’t have to download a new app every time APPA has an event; instead, they download the app once and then select their event within the app. For LeAnne, the multi-event app format makes it very easy for her to go back and forth between all of APPA’s events. Since the app is already available, she doesn’t have to go through the App Store approval process and wait two weeks each time she publishes a new event. This gives her more time to develop the event on her own schedule.

LeAnne also loved the app because she knew how valuable it had become for her event attendees and sponsors. Sponsors were so happy, in fact, that they covered the cost of the app.

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