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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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14 Positively Patriotic Ways to Celebrate With Members this July

Posted by Colleen Bottorff

Young and free. Rear view of four young people carrying american flag while running outdoors

Independence Day has us thinking about burgers, sun, and relaxation. What (if anything) do you do to unwind with members? There’s no harm in splicing in some fun with your regularly scheduled meetings and events - especially in the summertime!

Think about how you can incorporate some of these traditional summer activities into your annual calendar:

  1. Backyard BBQ: Does anything say “summer” better than firing up the grill? Find a local park you can invite members to, or see if one of your leaders would be willing to open their home for an afternoon!

  2. Pitch-in: Or, having multiple people contribute to the BBQ is a fun way to let people show off their signature dish! Try making it a contest fun with categories for entrees, cold sides, warm sides, and desserts.

  3. Historical society or museum: Take in some history local to your community by hosting a member outing to a nearby historical society or museum. You never know what you’ll learn that could even be applied to association activities!

  4. Pool party: Have some fun in the sun! Unwind with your members by throwing a pool party. A nearby public beach may be a fun option, too. Tie in some food and beverage to make it a picnic.

  5. Biking or hiking: Does your community have good trails for biking, hiking, or running? This could even be a regularly planned summer bonding activity with members.

  6. Golf outing: Who has the best swing? Best putt? Best golf cart driving skills? Plan a golf outing with your members to find out! Or if there isn’t much interest in golf itself, consider mini-golf or a driving range.

  7. Lawn game tournament: Traditional lawn games are a great way to get active outside, but in a more laid back setting. Have members form teams for a tournament consisting of games of horseshoes, bags, ladder golf, giant Jenga, and more!

  8. Outdoor movies: Who says movies have to be an indoor activity? Plan an outing if your community hosts outdoor movies at a drive-in or amphitheater. Or, get your hands on a projector and a white sheet and you have your own outdoor movie screen!

  9. Ice cream social: Nothing like some delicious ice cream on a hot summer day. Gather with your members and all of your favorite flavors - this could even be something you tie into the end of a meeting or event!

  10. Softball or kickball tournament: If your members are athletically inclined, a softball tournament would make for a fun afternoon! Kickball is a great option for a similar but easier activity. And you could even invite their kids for some family fun!

  11. Namaste, everyone: Yoga is a traditional summer solstice activity, which typically occurs in June - but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it in July! Host a yoga or other fitness class for your members. This could even become a regular activity if it’s popular!

  12. Member “yard” sale or farmers market: If you have a large outdoor space to host this, give members the opportunity to sell what they cleaned up this Spring or any of their own products! This could also be a fundraiser for any cause your association is attached to.

  13. Baseball game outing: Whether it’s the majors, the minors, or a local team, head to the ballpark with your members! Many parks even have areas for large groups to gather and have a picnic while they watch the game.

  14. Head to the patio: An easy summer activity is simply spending time hanging out on a patio for a few drinks. Support a local bar or restaurant and plan a patio outing a few times this summer!

Engagement and planning events for members is tricky for a lot of associations. Sometimes thinking outside the box and taking the time to bond with members is a win! Learn more about leveraging your events to foster engagement with our guide, Using Events to Grow Your Association’s Membership.

Using Events to Grow Your Association's Membership  Tips and tricks to maximize the impact of your events Download this guide

Topics: Small Staff Chatter

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