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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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Keeping Past Association Leaders Engaged

Posted by Sarah Hill

Your former association leaders and board members are some of the best, and most informed, advocates for your association. But too often, when they reach the end of their service or decide to step down from their leadership position for whatever reason, they become less engaged. Here are some ways to keep your most seasoned association volunteers, former leaders, and helpers engaged even after their leadership term is complete.


Tweak programming

Mid and late-career professionals often have different interests than younger and emerging professionals.  Is your programming diverse enough to reach members all the way to retirement age? Consider some of your current leaders and what their plans are for the future. Have they mentioned any specific career moves or retirement plans? Consider those when laying out your events calendar! 

Match mentors with mentees

Outgoing association leaders are spectacular mentors, and just the kind of professionals emerging leaders hope to meet. Why not put the two together? Offer senior association members and former leaders the opportunity to form a mentor/mentee relationship with some younger or less experienced members. This mutually beneficial relationship keeps both sets of professionals engaged!

Invite them to share their knowledge and “guest contribute”

Do you have a blog? Does your association regularly host lunch and learns or education panels? Former association leaders or retired members could be amazing contributors to these association events! Why not get together with some of these members and brainstorm an event or forum where they could share their wisdom and knowledge, both about leadership within the association and beyond?

Start a SIG

Do you have enough former leaders to form a special interest group within your association? Perhaps now the time to start one! Test the waters and host a small group meeting- just something informal where you can openly brainstorm and discuss the possibilities. Consider some action items and specific issues that the SIG would address. It’s possible that you may not have enough people or enough interest at present, but if you do it could be a huge asset to your more seasoned members! 

Offer reduced pricing for dues and events if possible

If your former leaders’ plans after your association involve retirement, budget will likely become an issue and dues for a professional association after they’re retired may seem like an unnecessary expense. If you can offer reduced dues and event fees, go for it! To make that relationship more symbiotic, why not suggest some volunteer opportunities as well?

Member engagement is a challenge, no matter the age or experience level of your members. For more information (and a few tips and tricks) on member engagement, click below today and download our free guide to member engagement!

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

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