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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 Ways to Reward Your Members

Posted by Callie Walker


It’s easy to say you reward your members. You provide them with educational programs, networking opportunities, room for development and growth, etc.

But those are technically benefits of your association, and rewards are, by definition, typically something extra.

Rewards are important because they provide your members with a sense of satisfaction and achievement for deeds well done. So how can you reward your members without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas:

1. Provide them with recognition

Everyone loves to be acknowledged. Just think back to when you were in school. Did you ever win an award or get named “the best?” It felt good, didn’t it? Well truth be told, that rush of excitement when being acknowledged never really goes away - even for adults.   

If you have a member that’s gone above and beyond, reward them! A token such as a trophy or certificate can be a nice touch, but sometimes the best reward is just plain public acknowledgement. Try recognizing your members at meetings and events. Actions like this show you care, you value your members, and best of all, even as a busy association professional, you still recognize what’s going on.

2. Award them with industry-related prizes

Just the word “prize” makes our ears perk up. Is there a gadget in your industry that everybody wants to have? (Hello Apple watch.) Or perhaps a tradeshow that everyone wants to go to? If so, consider leveraging those as prizes for your hard-working members.

Now you don’t have to do this often because we realize, awards are expensive. But even if you do it just once or twice a year, it shows that 1) you value your members and 2) you’re in tune with their wants and needs.

3. Offer free association benefits

If you don’t currently have room in your budget to purchase/give out prizes, consider offering free association benefits instead. For example, if you have an upcoming conference, perhaps you can give one or two hard-working members free admission. This probably won’t set you back too much, and it could really delight your members. Plus, that’s guaranteed attendance at your next event!

At the end of the day, rewarding your members is all about making them happy. And you want them to be happy so they’ll stay with your organization.

For more tips on making your members happy and getting them to renew, check out our free guide, Best Practices for Membership Renewals, below!

Best Practices for Membership Renewals  How to increase the likelihood that your members will renew Download this guide

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

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