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Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Rumor has it, in some association circles, trade show attendance is struggling. This could spell trouble for how vendor members find value in belonging to your organization. While some industries may be feeling the pain more than others, it is never a bad time to think about the ways you are engaging your vendor/supplier members. Read on for a handful of ideas on engaging your vendor-side members in effective and successful ways.

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Answering Your Members' Holiday Wishes

Posted by Sarah Hill

Have you ever REALLY listened to “Santa Baby?” If you haven’t, take a listen. The amount of stuff she asks for is absurd. Now granted in the spirit of catchy holiday music the song is supposed to have a Betty Boop-esque satirical charm, but it makes me think of the articles that come out every year detailing an approximate cost of the 12 Days of Christmas in modern times.

And that, of course, led me to be concerned about the budgets of my Small Staff Association leader readers. All of your members have a “Santa Baby” list, just jam packed with hugely expensive desires of your association that are just funny in their grandness.

But wait! There’s good news!

While those are your members’ wildest dreams, they are not your members’ EXPECTATIONS.

But as a bonus holiday surprise, you can work on some of those big wishes for 2014.

Your Members' Santa Baby List

Santa Baby wish: More hours in the day 

The real problem: Like you, your members just run out of time for all of the important things in their life including your association, their jobs, and their families.

How you can help: Making your events constructive, well timed, and convenient.


Santa Baby wish: More money

The real problem: Well that one is pretty simply stated. And again, you may have this problem too. 

How you can help: Offer discounts when possible. Make your events affordable but more importantly WORTH IT. Definitely prove value of your association membership and events every chance you get.


Santa Baby wish: Better job, or more job satisfaction

The real problem: It might come back to money, but more likely it has to do with recognition and praise. Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they work, wants to look forward to their job.

How you can help: Besides the obvious professional development, you can go the extra mile with recognition. When someone takes on a volunteer role or is just a good member, make sure it’s known!


Santa baby wish: Better health

The real problem: Health is always on everyone’s mind these days, especially with the Affordable Care Act taking off in 2014.

How you can help: Have you considered holding a workshop or having a speaker come in to explain the ACA and how it will impact your members? If you want to avoid that topic completely (which is understandable, it’s very politically loaded) then focus on wellness! How about a fitness challenge or nutritional advice?


Really, these aren’t huge wishes from your members, but they may seem insurmountable if you try to take them all on. Even though you may not be able to wave your magic association wand and fix everything, even asking can go a long way. Ask your members what they really want for the holidays! You may be surprised at how much you can help with.

Is membership sanity on your Santa Baby list? How about shopping for an AMS?

Download our guide to Picking An AMS

Topics: association management, association leadership, small staff association, membership management

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