The annual conference for each association is a time for reconnecting with peers, industry-specific education, meeting new partners and more. It is a time for the association to address members and give them updates on the state of the association. Conference is typically the largest gathering for the association of the year, it fosters connections both member to member and member to association. It is often a first impression for non-members and individuals who may be new to the industry. How can associations capture this connection and engagement and foster it throughout the year? It’s possible. Here’s how:
The annual conference may bring together the most people, but it doesn’t have to be the only time members are getting together. To put it in more certain terms – it shouldn’t be. Hosting local events are a great way to continue member engagement whether an association stretches across the globe or operates within state limits.
These gatherings can look differently based on the association’s needs and time availability. Coordinate a speaker to present on an industry hot topic or have volunteers lead the charge in organizing a networking event.
Regular Association News Communication
Part of attending the annual conference is learning about the state of the association and new initiatives and benefits on the horizon. This is an easy communication task to continue digitally throughout the year. Keeping members engaged with updates can help keep interest high. Plan regular updates to go out on the state of the association. This can be monthly, quarterly, or somewhere in between. News on what the association is working on will foster connection without physically being together.
Do you have time set aside to talk with or email individual members? A personal outreach from a staff or board member can make members feel valued. Use the tools available to target members who are not engaged. Has he or she registered for a local event? Has he or she opened recent emails? If not, a direct email or phone call can help re-engage members and find out if there is anything the association can do to provide new benefits.
Annual Sponsorship Opportunities
The annual conference provides great visibility for companies looking to get in front of association members. What happens after the conference? Local events can be sponsored. Webinars can be sponsored. Emails can be sponsored. Give members opportunities to shine if visibility is a key factor in their association engagement. It gives the association more non-dues revenue opportunities and gives members the chance to get in front of their key audience.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. These four things can be quickly implemented and built from your existing annual conference resources. Membership is a year-long commitment. The four points listed above can help foster relationships with members long after the annual conference ends.
Interested in more content like this? View 3 Tips to Make a Lifelong Member and more on the RGI Blog.