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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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Instating a Multi-Year Dues Option: Why and How

Posted by Colleen Bottorff

Concept of spending money - scissors cut money on wooden background

If your organization is struggling to bring in new members, it may be time to look at reworking a few fundamentals. Take your dues options: What kind of flexibility is there for members and potential members?

Sometimes, ya gotta get creative! Many organizations are finding success in a multi-year dues option, where members can receive a discount when paying for three to five years at once. Here’s our take on why you should consider instating a multi-year dues option, and how:


When offering any kind of discount, you must always consider the overall impact to your bottom line. To much of a deal, and you’re losing revenue; too little, and no one will bite. But if your organization can reasonably stand to lose a certain amount of money per member per year in the spirit of retaining them longer (or getting them to join in the first place), the benefits pretty drastically outweigh the costs.

First of all, for every member you can get to commit to multiple years of membership at once, that’s one less member you need to focus retention efforts on. Instead, you can spend your time engaging them over that three to five year period, and let the retention handle itself!

Second of all, it’s convenient for the member! (Which is something you always want to strive for.) They get to save, they don’t have to worry about renewing for a while, and they can focus on getting the most out of the long-term commitment they’ve made to your organization.


Discuss the option with your leadership team to make sure everyone is on board. (Especially whoever is in charge of finances!) Then, the rest is simple: Start telling people! Add the option to your join form, talk about it in your marketing, and equip your membership manager (or team) with any resources they may need.

Be sure to spread the word to members who are up for renewal, too. Here’s an example email you might send to them:

Hello [First Name]!

Your membership is up for renewal in [month], and I wanted to make sure you knew
about an exciting new dues option. As of [offer instatement month], we’ve started
offering a multi-year discount!

Renew your membership for the next [# of years in offer] years (instead of just one)
and you’ll save $[yearly savings amount] each year! That’s a total of $[total savings amount] overall!

To take advantage of this offer, simply [action they need to take - contact a
membership representative, choose the option on their renewal form, etc.]. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at [organization phone number].


[Your Name]

One other thing: Paying for multiple year’s worth of dues all at once, even at a discount, may be difficult for some. Consider pairing this offer with a payment plan where members can commit to paying smaller monthly installments over the first year!

You know who loves to save money while making logical decisions for their careers? Young professionals. This offer could be the push they need to join, engage, and (ultimately) become your next generation of leaders! For more on getting young professionals to make a long-term commit to your organization, check out our guide Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul.

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

Topics: 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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