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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 to Convince Association Millennials to Stick Around in 2019

Posted by Krissy Conant

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Trying to look into the future to see how you can be the most prepared in 2019? With the average age of the association workforce starting to shift toward the younger generations, it’s crucial that you’re considering what it will take to keep Millennials plugged into your association.

Check out these values that your association should focus on to keep association Millennials around in 2019.

1.  Fostering Trust 

If you only remember one thing, let is be this: Millennials need to feel like they can really trust a company or organization that they are actively participating in to buy into the culture. It stems from an underlying desire to have a personal or professional space to experiment with ideas without the fear of judgement.

Try out:

  • Shifting roundtable discussions from a hierarchical model (leadership-only focused) to a community model (inclusive-focused) to allow everyone the chance to actively participate.
  • Pitching that your Millennial members (and all really!) apply for varying levels of leadership positions, even if they don’t have tons of professional experience.

2.  Redefining Connection via Technology

With technology evolving quicker than ever over the last couple decades, Millennials have been raised to create connections with their peers in more non-conventional methods than any other generation before them. Translation? It’s in your associations best interest to try and leverage technology to more easily engrain your Millennial members into sticking around.

Try out:

  • Live streaming and recording your meetings to include those members who can’t make it.
  • Hosting every other meeting online (think Google hangout) to promote more active participation for those who have more active social schedules.

3.  Even More Flexibility

Gone are the days of the traditional 9-5 for most Millennials who are young professionals. As workplace cultures continue to adapt to more flexible schedules, it’s time for you to reflect on how your association is going to keep up. While you’ll probably never find the perfect time that works for all of your members, trying out some new initiatives will show your Millennials you care about their work-life balance.

Try out:

  • Send out a survey to your members to see what days and/or times would work best to attend meetings and/or events.
  • Changing up the length of your meetings and/or events if you feel like your meetings are not syncing up with your members wants (too short - not enough covered, too long - too many side tangents).


4.  Embody Transparency

You’d be amiss to think your Millennial members will want to remain involved in an organization where they feel out of the loop. The fix (albeit not easy) is to live, eat, and breathe transparency throughout your association. This value will allow ALL of your members to feel like they are a part of your “family” so-to-speak, as you’re asking them to accept your association - faults and all!

Try out:

  • Posting a candid message from your Executive Director (or other leaders) monthly in your newsletter to members (or in your social community).
  • Sending out requests to your members for an open brainstorming session or email submissions if your association’s staff feels stuck on an issue they can’t crack.

Trying to think of other ways you can recruit, engage, and retain young professionals in your association for longer? Take a look at our free guide, Recruiting Young Professionals for Associations and Chambers to see how you can ensure your young members stick around!

Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul  A guide for associations and chambers Download this guide

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

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Noticing that your youngest members aren't renewing?  Check out our guide, Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul! Download Now!

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