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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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Small-Staff Engagement Hack: Members Helping Members

Posted by Callie Walker

Members Helping Members

As you may know, a few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to attend the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition. All of the breakout sessions were great, but one in particular really stood out: “Limited Resources, Big Opportunities: Small-Staff Success Story,” presented by Eloiza Altoro, Principal Consultant at Mind Redesign Consulting, and Stefanie Reeves, Executive Director of the Maryland Psychological Association (MPA).

It’s no secret that we love small staffs, so any tips, tricks, hacks, and secrets that we come across that would make the lives of small-staff association professionals easier, well, we feel like we HAVE to share.

Here’s one hack in particular we think you’ll love:

The Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) wanted to increase networking opportunities for MPA members in each county of Maryland. Sounds great, right? But with a very small budget and only four staff members, how could they realistically make that happen?

They turned to their members. They asked members across each county to volunteer their homes and offices to host these events. (So that took care of venue fees.) Then, they had those same members conduct mini continuing education sessions for free. (Note: They did vet these members to ensure they were qualified to speak on the various topics.) The only expense for these events: catering. They asked members to go to their local grocery store and pick up food and drinks for the event, offering to reimburse the member up to $50. So the total cost of these events: $50!

But here’s what’s really great: Once they started hosting these events, they found that a significant amount of non-members would attend. (The member that was hosting would often invite their non-member friends, colleagues, etc.) So, the MPA decided to start positioning these events as a way for non-members to “test out” membership. And if a non-member attended one of these events and wanted to then join the association, they’d receive a discounted membership rate.

The outcome of hosting these events: more value for members, increased engagement, AND increased membership growth. (All for $50!)

Now that’s a hack we can get on board with! Thanks for sharing, Eloiza and Stefanie!

Want more tips for engaging your association’s membership, especially if you’re a small-staff association? Check out our free guide below, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations!

Membership Engagement  A comprehensive guide to engaging your organization's membership Download this guide

Topics: event planning, ASAE, member engagement, Association Views

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