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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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How Technology Can Save Your Association from Looking Ridiculous

Posted by Sarah Hill

The last time I visited my Mom we were looking forward to eating at a favorite restaurant in the area. After a long day of shopping it was getting late, and we wondered how much longer the restaurant would be open. I reached for my smart phone, and she went for the Yellow Pages to find the number to call.

My Mom is not a Luddite (she even blogs!) but it struck me how easy it is to overlook the ease of technology if what you’ve been doing for 30 years still works. Despite two laptops within her reach and her savvy daughter with a smart phone in the same room she still went for the phone book, which I can’t admit to looking at in the last 15 years except to move it from the front porch to the recycling bin.

How Technology Can Save your Association from Looking Ridiculous

Here at MemberClicks we run into this situation fairly often, especially dealing with our beloved small staff associations. When there are only a few full time staffers for an association or maybe only one -or a handful of volunteers- there’s a very strong sense of just “get through” events and membership drives. Why upset the apple cart with new technology that’s going to have a learning curve and a possibly lengthy implementation?

Besides. The current system works.

You can’t argue that. For most of our clients, their previous situations with spreadsheets, file folders, and rolodexes does work and you can’t argue with results. But imagine this very common scenario:

You host a successful speaker panel and networking event. A young professional whom you haven’t previously met encounters one of your established members, but not one you know very well, but by name only. The young professional reaches out to you asking about membership (yay!) and also explaining the interaction he had with this member, relaying that some opportunities for synergy presented themselves but they never got around to exchanging cards or contact information. Would you please get him in touch with the member?

To an up-and-comer, the time it’s going to take you to look up that contact information and get back to the new member is going to seem pointless when all it takes for him to look up contact information is a quick tap of the phone or a few clicks on a website. This is not to say that your system is ridiculous, but this young member knows a better way.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before considering any kind of new technology that you aren’t sure if you even need:


1)   What will this technology take the place of?

2)   How is this technology easier or more convenient than the present system?

3)   How much time will it actually free up?

4)   How will I be able to better use that time?

5)   How many people have told me that it’s time to change?


That last question seems silly, but it’s important. As your association grows and changes, your membership will too. One or two suggestions toward a new system may be outlaying opinions, but when you hear it from several people that it may be time to invest in technology they may be on to something. After all, your association must reflect your membership, and the same people who are encouraging you to pick up a more streamlined system may very well be taking the reigns one day when you are able to get some well-deserved rest for a change!


The technology near and dear to our hearts, of course, is Association Management Software or AMS technology. Not sure what that’s all about? Let us help. Download our free guide to “What is an AMS, anyway?” and let us answer some of those questions!

What is an AMS, exactly? Download our free guide and find out!

Topics: association management, association leadership, small staff association, Small Staff Chatter, association software

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