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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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The Small-Staff Guide to Volunteer Management

Posted by Callie Walker


As an association professional, you know that volunteers can be difficult to come by. They can be hard to find, and sometimes, even harder to keep.

We understand the struggle. So to help you out, we’ve put together a few quick tips for volunteer recruitment, onboarding, and retention. Check it out!

Recruitment tips…

  • Be specific - You will always be more successful in recruiting volunteers if you tell people exactly what they’ll be doing. Rather than saying “just give us your free time,” be specific about the job at hand.
  • Describe the desired outcome - Volunteers want to know that they’re contributing to a greater cause. Inspire potential volunteers by letting them know how their role will help with your organization’s overall goal or mission.
  • Provide a variety of opportunities - Not all volunteer opportunities will appeal to everyone. To garner more interest, make sure you’re providing a variety of options.

Onboarding tips…

  • Send them a warm welcome email - This is an onboarding MUST. A personalized email will make your new volunteers feel comfortable, and more importantly, appreciated.
  • Provide them with an orientation packet - It’s important to get your new volunteers up to speed as soon as possible. Provide them with an orientation packet highlighting your organization’s mission and values, key staff members and leadership volunteers, and policies, rules, and procedures.
  • Introduce them to other active members - The more friends a member has in your organization, the more likely they are to stay. That said, be sure to introduce your volunteers to other active members.

Retention tips…

  • Keep the conversation going - Even if your volunteers haven’t volunteered in a while, be sure to keep the conversation going. You can easily do this by creating a volunteers-only social community. Post updates, new volunteer opportunities, and even a few thank you messages every so often.
  • Host a volunteers-only appreciation event - This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but even something as simple as a happy hour or catered dinner can showcase your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Send them a simple, handwritten thank you card - We can’t stress this point enough. Even if you post thank you messages in your organization’s online social community, be sure to send out a few handwritten thank you cards as well.  

Want more tips for managing your organization’s volunteers? Check out our complete Guide to Volunteer Management below!

The Ultimate Guide to Volunteer Management  Everything you need to recruit, onboard, and retain volunteers Download this guide

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

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