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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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So Your Association Has a Budget Surplus

Posted by Sarah Hill


It’s tax time, and while many people will be shelling out cash to the government many will be getting back refunds, too. Many folks will be saving that cash for a rainy day, some will make investments, and some will just buy things they always wanted or maybe don’t even need.

So that got us to thinking: how should an association handle a little surplus? The big three options are spend, invest, or save. Here are some suggestions:


  • Buy supplies that you need for the association. Some common ones are nametags, office supplies, paper plates and cups, etc.
  • Buy snacks or pick me ups for the troops. Having a snack to grab when you’re hungry at the office can go a long way in boosting morale.
  • Make improvements on the office. Are your chairs just the worst? Could your office benefit from some plants or maybe a better phone system? Might be the time to start shopping!


  • Splurge on a nice or unique event venue. Money is usually the thing that prevents associations from trying new or nicer venues, so seize the opportunity!
  • Sponsor community outreach. A donation or sponsored activity day can go a long way in establishing your association as an important member of your community.
  • Provide a scholarship for a member. Are there expensive certifications or classes that you know your members could benefit from? Take that extra money and send a member for free or reduced rates!
  • Invest in an AMS. Not to toot our own horns, but an AMS can be a huge relief for both you and your members when it comes to engagement and organization.


  • Put it towards an emergency fund. It never hurts to have some money in the bank just in case disaster strikes.

Ultimately, if you’re really stuck and don’t know what to do with any extra cash, get a few others involved in the conversation. But not too many people! The more opinions on this issue the quicker everyone will get confused. A few trusted, sound voices in this case can bring light to the real needs of the association and your members.

Did that AMS thing sound good to you? Maybe it’s time to start looking. Click below today to download our free guide to shopping for an Association Management System!


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

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