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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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3 Association Lessons from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Posted by Callie Walker

How the Grinch Stole Christmas.jpg

One of my favorite things to do during the month of December? Binge (and binge and binge) Christmas movies! “Christmas Vacation,” “Elf,” “The Holiday,” “Home Alone” - all classics that I enjoy year after year.

But this year, as I was watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (another classic), I realized, there are actually a lot of lessons association professionals can take away from that movie. Here are three, in particular:

1. Creativity can take you places!

When the Grinch starts scheming to take people’s presents (and food and decorations), he lands on a reindeer and a sleigh as his means of transportation. The only problem? He doesn’t actually HAVE a reindeer.

But what he does have? Max! His sweet (and let’s be honest, poor), dog. He plops some antlers on Max and voila - a reindeer to guide his sleigh!

The takeaway here? Never underestimate the power of creativity. You may have limited resources, particularly if you work for a small-staff association, but big initiatives ARE possible - you just have to get a little crafty!


2. No one likes “a Grinch”

The whole town of Whoville (with the exception of Cindy Lou Who) hated the Grinch - and honestly, for good reason. He was grumpy, manipulative, and overall, pretty mean-spirited. Not exactly the qualities of a person people WANT to be around.

That’s an important reminder as you interact with coworkers - and prospects, and members, and board members, etc. - on a day-to-day basis. Your attitude impacts other people. If you’re kind and positive, people will want to be around you. But if not, not only will people give you less of their time and energy, but they’ll ultimately hit the road (one that leads to a more pleasant work environment).

The Grinch.jpeg

3. Community trumps EVERYTHING

The Grinch had a goal to ruin Christmas, and you have to give it to him, he definitely tried. All that work in one night? You can’t call him a slacker.

But as you know, he didn’t succeed, and that’s because at the end of the day, Whoville cared more about the people around than the gifts under the tree. Let that sink in.

That’s a powerful reminder for your association, which represents an entire industry - and community - of people. As you plan for 2018, yes, what benefits you offer matter, but remember, that sense of community and the feeling of belonging are really what seal the deal. Don’t let that feeling get lost!


Speaking of 2018 planning, if you’re trying to bump up recruitment, engagement, non-dues revenue, and all that good stuff, check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below! (We WANT to see you succeed!)

Happy Holidays, friends!

The Ultimate Guide to Membership Management  Everything you need to know about managing your membership online, from  acquisition to engagement to retention. Download this guide

Topics: association management, association leadership, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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