What Success Looks Like for Association Diversity

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A recent conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion put a spotlight on the hard work associations are doing. The next step should address how leadership mirrors those ambitions.

Last week, leaders from 11 associations convened over Zoom to talk about the work that they’re doing on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). It’s a conversation that’s been stoked, of course, by the protests following the murder of George Floyd. And though most of the participants’ organizations have been doing this work for years, one theme that emerged from the 90-minute conversation, facilitated by Vista Cova’s Lowell Aplebaum, FASAE, CAE, is that there’s still more work to be done.

More to the point, it’s not the kind of work that an association leader can do alone. Richard Yep, FASAE, CAE, CEO of the American Counseling Association, noted that checking his ego at the door is essential to the DEI work his staff has undertaken.

“I think most of us realize that our job isn’t to have everybody take on our vision, but for us to cultivate what their vision is and how we mold that into something that makes sense for our members and for our staffs,” he said. “I have lots of ideas, but it really isn’t about me, it’s about those that I work with.”

Until we change leadership, this will not matter.

Those staff-wide commitments to diversity, and a willingness to consider new ideas, has borne fruit among the meeting’s participants. Organizations like the Illinois CPA Society, Society for Neuroscience, and International Association of Fire Chiefs have scholarship and mentoring programs for emerging professionals in their fields. (As does ASAE, which also participated in the event.) The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Association Forum have created online resources for both staff and members alike to strengthen their sense of cultural awareness.

But one statement made during the event seemed to both tie together the efforts that were shared while also delivering a challenge to every association pursuing DEI in earnest. Rob Henry, vice president of education at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, shared CASE’s experience with a leadership pipeline program focused on supporting future senior-level professionals, which he prefaced by saying this: “Until we change leadership, this will not matter. I believe people are committed to diversity, but they are more committed to their cultures. And what we have to do is bring in more diverse leaders who will change the culture.”

If there is indeed still work to be done, especially in nonprofitdom, it’s there. One study suggests that representation of people of color on nonprofit boards and the CEO office is in the single digits; another shows that 27 percent of nonprofit boards are entirely white. According to a 2019 report from Nonprofit HR [PDF], nearly half of all nonprofits (42 percent) say their staffs are not reflective of the communities they serve.

As I wrote last week, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity for organizations to rethink those dismal numbers as part of the larger strategic conversations that they’re under pressure to have now. The fact that nearly a dozen associations convened in an atmosphere of urgency to address DEI issues marks a meaningful shift in the industry: It moves the subject away from the periphery of the association world and closer to the center.

But keeping it there—especially when it comes to critical improvements like creating more diverse boards—requires a lot of patience and intentionality. That the current moment may spark more direct and open conversations among staffs and members about where their efforts have fallen short is a good thing. The next and more meaningful step is to take what’s learned and build leadership pipelines that reflect the diversity that every organization is striving toward.

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Five Benefits of Virtual Conferences

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As associations quickly transition their conferences online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that they also recognize some of the benefits that come with making the pivot to virtual.

As many associations work fast to pivot their in-person conferences to virtual ones, staff involved in getting it done may feel stressed and concerned about executing it well. For example, how do they get presenters to be engaging on video? How do they create opportunities for virtual attendees to network and collaborate? How do they get sponsor and exhibitors on board?

While those are all important questions to address, it is also important that associations realize the benefits that could come with offering virtual conferences. Here are five of them:

It may appeal to a broader audience. A virtual conference doesn’t require attendees to travel, which means they don’t have to pay for a flight or a hotel room or spend time away from their families. Because of the lower price point and ability to join from anywhere, you may be able to entice people who have never attended in person to join your virtual event. For example, your international attendance could go up, or more parents with young children may register.

Repurposed content could be a new revenue stream. Virtual conference platforms allow content to be easily recorded, which means it can be repurposed at a later date. While attendees could be given access to the archive as part of their registration fee, consider repackaging it and selling it to those who missed the virtual event. This could help your association create a new revenue stream.

It could offer new opportunities for interaction. A lot of people attend events for the networking opportunities and hallway conversations that take place. While those may be difficult to replicate in a virtual environment, consider other ways you can help participants interact—perhaps in ways that would not typically be available at a face-to-face event. For example, you might give attendees access to a live chat with a keynoter or small breakout-room Q&As with your board chair or CEO.

The platform will gather lots of data. Data collection is typically much easier when you host a virtual conference. Virtual platforms let you know exactly who your audience is and what they do. You can gather demographic data, attendance numbers, number of views, types of engagement, and more to get an idea who is tuning in, to what, and for how long. You an also track this type of data for your exhibitors to see how people are spending their time in the virtual tradeshow environment.

The virtual conference could serve as a testing ground. While virtual and hybrid meetings have been increasing in popularity over the past few years, COVID-19 left many associations that perhaps weren’t full sold on them with no choice but to actually host them. While it may have happened faster than you wanted, and you may feel like you didn’t have enough time to create the perfect event, celebrate it as a milestone and consider it an opportunity to test new things. Watch how your attendees, sponsors, and speakers interact with the virtual tools, and ask them what they enjoyed and didn’t like about the experience. Their answers can inform other virtual products, programs, or services your association creates in the future.

What other benefits do you think virtual meetings offer your association? Please share in the comments.

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Why Understanding Member Fiscal Health Is Key to Success

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Running an association like a business, not a nonprofit, requires a good understanding of the financial viability of all your partners. That means asking some smart questions about how your members are faring in the current climate.

As the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has unfolded in recent months, most associations have hunkered down and gone into preservation mode, assessed what they had in reserves, and then decided how to best move forward. Gary Oster, founder and strategic growth strategist at Topline Growth Partners, recommends one more key item: a comprehensive scan to assess the fiscal health of an association’s top members, sponsors, and strategic partners.

Business Intelligence

Association CEOs and senior leaders, Oster said, need to recognize they are nonprofits, but they are still running a business. He said a lot of leaders forget that they need enough money coming in to cover expenses so they can do the work their members want them to do.

Oster estimates that because of the current economic downturn, 90 percent of associations have eliminated a portion of their value proposition for their members. And they probably lost 20 to 30 percent of their revenue at the same time—largely, Oster speculates, because they didn’t understand their members’ fiscal health.

An astute organization needs to evaluate every member, strategic partner, and sponsor that makes a significant investment in the organization, because it’s imperative to know about member and partner revenue, profits, and details about whether they are looking to merge or acquire. “It’s business intelligence, and it doesn’t take a long time to do,” Oster said.

To delve deeper and find out what you know about your key members and top sponsors, he said, ask good questions: What do you know about your sponsors or your financial strategic partners? Do you really know what’s motivating them to be connected to your members and your organization? Do you know how fiscally healthy they are? Will members be fully engaged or limited in their participation? Will their staff attend conferences? Or, because they are on the edge of bankruptcy, will they cancel all forms of engagement?

Hope Is Not a Strategy

Some executives, Oster said, have the worst strategy of all: hope. “Hope is not a strategy,” he said. “Hope is a wish.” He cautioned that it is not enough to hope that membership dues will come in, or hope that people will come to tradeshows, or hope that foundation supporters will continue to donate.

“Actively manage your business at the top line so you can assure your future success and create a workplace where your organization thrives and your members become incredibly happy with the value that’s being created,” he said.

Association leaders who want their organizations to succeed must conduct thorough due diligence so they have a clear view of the financial landscape of all of their members and partners. “These insights could open the door to unseen opportunities—or unknown risks,” Oster said, “potentially inoculating the association from an unhealthy situation as they reframe and redirect their future success.”

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A Data-Driven Strategy for Resilience During the Pandemic

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Inside the American Optometric Association’s member-first crisis plan.

The economy is beginning to re-open, but as business leaders know, we are far from escaping the devastating health and financial effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Some organizations closed up shop during the first uncertain months of the crisis, while others, like the American Optometric Association, lept into action. Adam Reider, Manager of Technical Training & Support at the AOA, explains how they implemented a plan that put members’ resiliency above all else.

Sharing Critical Information

“When COVID-19 started sweeping across the United States, we knew instantly that the doctors we advocate for would take a hard impact,” explains Reider. “Overnight, they went from seeing their patients regularly to ‘emergency-only’ scenarios.” The AOA knew that the first thing their members would need is information on navigating this new normal of health care: everything from getting set up for telemedicine visits to applying to Paycheck Protection Program Loans.”

Utilizing Personify360 as their Association Management Software solution, the AOA decided to host instructional webinars for their members and non-members and offer them to anyone seeking information, regardless of their membership status. “This pandemic is impacting every healthcare professional in the world,” explains Reider. “So we did not feel it was appropriate for us to throw up a giant firewall. We want to be able to look back after this crisis is over and know that we truly stood for this profession.”

Waving Membership Fees

Reider says that the AOA recognized the economic hit doctors would take from not being able to see patients, and so decided to waive members’ fees for two months. And believe it or not, it was hardly as easy as it sounds.

“Our finance team and our IT staff met on a daily basis to figure out how we could do it and track it. With technology in place and collaboration from the team, we found a way to roll this out smoothly for all of our 54 affiliates—plus extending it to new members. Any doctor that joins this year is eligible for that two-month waiver.”

Planning For The Future

Having all of their information in one system allowed the AOA to be proactive and effective, says Reider. “Technology is our digital truth,” he says, “it unites all of our affiliates and allows them to work together.” That connectedness has allowed the AOA to do great things in the here and now—and to plan for tomorrow. “As doctors sign up for our webinars, we are collecting that information and cross-checking it with our member database. It is extremely helpful in planning what we do next: What topics should we cover for future webinars? How do we market them? Which are more engaging for members and for non-members?”

Having a system in place that allows for quick pivots in times of crisis not only helps the members, but the people behind-the-scenes at associations, says Reider. “It’s been very rewarding—the horizon has been very bleak these past couple of months, and it gives you a sense of pride knowing that the work you’re doing is helping the entire profession move forward in this landscape.”

Personify—We know this challenging time has created new and unique challenges in engaging with members, managing financials and driving your organization forward. Personify is committed to helping you adapt and emerge from COVID-19 or any crisis, more connected and resilient than ever. Our trusted solutions help you manage during and through these times with digital connections, virtual programming, a single source of truth for your data, and peace of mind for your members.

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Will Hyperlocal Conferences Become More Popular Post-Pandemic?

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If you’re finding that attendees aren’t willing to travel to your large annual event, it could be time to consider a hyperlocal conference strategy. Some thoughts from an association that’s already implemented one.

Even as reopening begins and restrictions on public gatherings are relaxed, the reality is that it could still prove difficult to convince people who would typically have no problem getting on an airplane and staying in a hotel to attend a large conference to do so in the months ahead.

So, besides going ahead with your large in-person annual meeting or going completely virtual, is there another option to consider?

Enter hyperlocal conferences. These are smaller-scale events that take place in different locations nationwide (or even around the globe) throughout the year.

It’s a strategy the Society of Women Engineers has actually used for a few years now. Back in 2016, SWE piloted two WE Local programs around that idea that “attendees could meet locally and learn socially,” said Executive Director and CEO Karen Horting.

According to SWE, the goal of WE Local events is to “bring the excitement and energy of our annual conference—on a smaller scale—to members’ backyards.” While its annual meeting typically attracts 16,000 participants, attendance at WE Local ranges from 250 to 1,000. Each hyperlocal conference includes professional development and a job fair, but there is also a strong focus on networking since participants include both students and professionals.

“Since women currently make up only 13 percent of the engineering workforce and even less when it comes to faculty, for students to be able to connect with professionals in their local area and even find a role model or mentor while onsite is huge,” said Horting.

WE Local also appeals to attendees because they can often drive to the meeting location, and it requires a short time commitment since they are typically two-day events. “That means less time away from their jobs, or school, or family,” said Horting.

While SWE had to cancel the remainder of its 2020 WE Local events due to COVID-19, this week it announced five 2021 dates: Three will take place in the U.S., one in England, and one in India.

Although it’s still too early to tell how attendance numbers will look for the 2021 events, Horting does think it’s possible for the WE Local events to grow in popularity given the current pandemic. “I wouldn’t rule it out,” she said. “More people may want to stay closer to home and limit who they are around, so a meeting like this could be more appealing.”

If that does happen and SWE thinks adding more hyperlocal conferences is the way to go, Horting is confident staff and volunteers can make it happen. “We wouldn’t need to re-create the wheel,” she said. “We’ve intentionally made it somewhat plug and play. We know what works and what our attendees expect at this point, so we’d be able to expand it to other cities as needed.”

For other associations considering a similar strategy, Horting has this advice: “Pilot things first to get some buy-in from local members, volunteers, and partners. Start with only one or two locations so that you can see what works and what doesn’t. Then tweak and roll out on a larger scale.”

How could you see hyperlocal conferences benefiting your association in the current environment? Please share in the comments.

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Daily Buzz: Create a Volunteer Newsletter

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How adding another newsletter can make your communications more efficient. Also: The right way to tell members you’ve raised prices.

Does your organization communicate frequently with volunteers? It might be time to start a newsletter dedicated to that audience. Without one, you might be inundating volunteers with a flurry of emails.

“Adding another thing to your communication schedule may not seem all that enticing at first, but a volunteer newsletter can actually streamline your communication,” says Wild Apricot’s Tatiana Morand. “Sending a newsletter can actually reduce email by corralling all the necessary information into one place.”

Publishing an effective volunteer newsletter means taking a few things into consideration. First, keep it short and don’t overload readers with too much content. If you have long pieces of content to share, include a couple of paragraphs in your newsletter and link to the rest of the story on your website, Morand suggests.

When it comes to what content to include, ask your volunteers if you’re not sure.

“As time goes on, you can also check in with your audience by looking at your email analytics,” Morand says. “What kind of links do they click on? Which emails never get opened? That’s all data about what your volunteers want in the newsletter, too.”

Don’t forget to show appreciation for your volunteers in your newsletter. Morand says to showcase their contributions, thank them publicly, and celebrate their service.

Telling Your Members About Price Hikes

How to Explain a Price Increase to Your Members – https://t.co/DFYEVXagyu #assnchat

— MemberClicks (@MemberClicks) June 17, 2020

Though it’s sometimes necessary, talking to members about price increases is not easy. But to avoid upsetting them or pushing them away, be transparent in your communications. On top of that, let them know far in advance so they have time to prepare.

“NEVER hide—or gloss over—the fact that prices are increasing,” says MemberClicks’ Callie Walker. “This will allow them to think things over (evaluate cost versus value) and budget accordingly, depending on the significance of the price increase.”

Other Links of Note

Need to meet on the go? Google announced that its video collaboration tool, Meet, will be available through the Gmail mobile app. ZDNet has the story.

To better market your virtual events, think about who your audience is, says a recent post from Campaign Monitor.

Want to educate members? Organizations can do this with content curation, suggests a recent post from Association Success.

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Four Strategies to Bolster Your Association’s Resilience Right Now

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From the top down, resilience is key to surviving the crises of 2020. Here are just a few ways to firm up your foundation for better days.

If you’ve spent the last couple of months battening down the hatches, don’t feel bad. It’s going around.  The secret to surviving this tough time is your ability to hang on, adapt well, and re-emerge on the other side.

In a word, you need resilience. It’s a quality that you should encourage at all levels of your organization. Here are a few ways to nurture a resilient spirit at your association:

Make sure the organization’s vision is solid. While a good technology backbone is important, it won’t be effective without vision, LumApps founder and CEO Sébastien Ricard writes for CMSWire. An organization’s vision should be broad and flexible, he says. “For instance, a company can have the core value of ‘Put the customers first’ or ‘Embrace and champion change.’ Overarching philosophical mantras like these don’t stand in the way of major organizational change. In fact, they make the process easier. Leaders need to emphasize these goals and make it clear that these objectives are what drive every other consideration.”

Develop organizational intelligence. In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, authors George Yip and Nelson Phillips say leaders need organizational intelligence (OQ) to drive the performance they want. OQ has multiple components, they say, but “one key OQ competency is sending messages that reinforce the strategy. The simpler and clearer, the better; organizational members at all levels suffer from information overload, so leaders need to be selective about what messages to send.”

Communicate regularly with staff. In an article for Forbes, Northwestern University’s Erald Minga, a human capital management and workforce strategy leader for the school, says regular messaging with your team will strengthen resilience by ensuring everyone is in the loop. “Regularly scheduled weekly all-staff presentations with updates on current events and creation of a strategic plan will help connect employees toward a shared mission and instill trust toward leadership,” Minga says. “The information should be clear, concise, and shared in a kind manner. HR can help close information gaps through pulse surveys and check-ins and provide additional support to leadership by creating follow-up training.”

Build your own resilience as a leader, too. A focus on positive emotion can help ensure that even if you feel the extremes of these tough times, you can find your equilibrium as a leader—and your team needs that. “Positive emotion broadens our cognitive repertoire. Positive emotion increases almost every factor of human performance and makes us more receptive to new ideas and feedback,” Scott Taylor, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Babson College, told Babson Thought & Action recently. “Positive emotion renews us in terms of immune system functioning as well as the ability to persist in an endeavor that we’re involved in.”

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A New Member Onboarding Success Story

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One association switched from a cumbersome, one-size-fits-all new member onboarding process to a more personalized digital one and got excellent results with better member engagement and retention.

Many of us have learned in the few past months that connections matter—perhaps now more than ever. The National Association of Episcopal Schools saw the quantifiable results of making good and lasting connections when it launched a highly successful automated new member onboarding campaign with the resources—Mailchimp and MatrixMaxx—and small staff it already had in place.

First Months Are Make-or-Break

Staff from NAES spoke about their success in a recent joint webinar with the Matrix Group, which helped them launch their digital campaign. Participants emphasized that the first few months of membership are “make or break” and that the way you welcome and onboard your members sets the tone for the rest of their member experience.

“Never assume a new member knows how to navigate your association and services. It’s not enough to just send a welcome letter and hope for the best,” said Matrix CEO Joanna Pineda.

Make It Tailored, Relevant, and Succinct

NAES replaced its paper mailing with a digital one last year, which was good timing given the tumultuous events that have overtaken the country in 2020, according to Jonathan Cooper, the association’s communications manager. Instead of inundating new members with a packet of publications, NAES now gives them the option to choose the publications they want for free from its online store.

Cooper said this tactic accomplishes a few things: It introduces new members to the online store, it allows NAES to make sure members are getting the publications they actually want and need, and it is manageable for new members because it doesn’t overwhelm them. The open rate for NAES’s personalized email about the new member special gift was 88 percent. Pretty impressive.

Messaging that is bite-sized, frequent, and highly relevant is essential, Pineda said. And not all emails have to be about action. She and Cooper recommended sending emails that are welcoming, informative, and engaging.

“People want the sense that the information they are receiving has been curated especially for them,” she said. “That’s really meaningful to new members. It makes them feel cared for and loved.”

Digital Can Be Personal

One of the reasons NAES stuck with paper mailings for so long, Cooper said, was because it gave the perception of being highly personalized, but he found that “people will respond to the right amount of personalization in the digital campaign and interact with it like it’s a personal letter.”

For example, new members receive a personal email from the NAES executive director, and last fall the open rate for that email was 89 percent. Cooper also realized it was more effective to spread out digital communications to new and prospective members over the course of a few months and not just rely on a one-and-done paper welcome packet.

In addition to executing effective automation, the human touch comes through in the writing. “You have to write in a way that feels both welcoming and warm,” Cooper said, “but also convey a sense of wisdom and experience that will inspire members as well as inform.”

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Daily Buzz: Practice Crisis Management Calmly

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With the right leadership approach, there’s no reason to panic during a challenging time. Also: Streamline your IT and business practices with process mining.

When faced with an organizational crisis, leaders need a game plan to address the issue quickly and competently.

“No matter how smoothly things run most of the time, the occasional problem is inevitable, and when one pops up, your team will turn to you for guidance,” says the Forbes Young Entrepreneur Council.

Find your path to recovery by reflecting on your organization’s mission statement and core values. This can give you a clear course of action.

“A clear mission statement and a strong set of principles serve as the lighthouse a company needs in a storm,” says council member Jacob Tanur of Click Play Films.

Take care of your staff first during a difficult situation so they are prepared to stand together and find solutions.

“Since people are the most important assets of any organization, caring for them in the good times will protect the company during the tough times,” says council member Alaa Alghadban of Sana Group.

And if you’re faced with a number of problems, tackle one at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. Trying to handle too much at once could easily lead to a loss of focus and bad mistakes.

“You’ll also have the mental satisfaction of knowing that one problem on your list has been cleared, which will give you the energy and motivation to handle what’s next,” says council member Syed Balkhi of WPBeginner.

Use Process Mining to Boost Efficiency

All you need to know about #ProcessMining – Using #automation to gather #data to evaluate the reliability, efficiency and productivity of a company’s business processes https://t.co/Jxjnd6TjtL#dataanalysis #datamining #RPA #processminingtools

— CIO.com (@CIOonline) June 15, 2020

Need to improve your organization’s IT or business practices? Use process mining, a strategy that begins by evaluating established processes to find repetitive tasks that can be automated using various technologies.

“By automating repetitive or mundane tasks, organizations can increase efficiency and productivity—and free up workers to spend more time on creative or complex projects,” says CIO’s Sarah K. White.

Other Links of Note

We should embrace remote work even after the COVID-19 crisis, argues Roobal Gupta on the Crewscale blog. She offers nine benefits to working remotely.

Are you a recent grad? McKinsey & Company has put together a guide to navigating the world of work.

Do you know what work-related expenses you must reimburse remote employees for? Blue Avocado identifies a few things to consider when reimbursing employees.

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Support Your Virtual Events With a Robust Content Strategy

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The distractions of home can make it easy to ignore a virtual event. Give your annual meeting added punch by supporting it with innovative content.

By Eric Goodstadt

There’s a certain level of commitment to attending a live event.

When someone pays money to register for an annual meeting or tradeshow, they’ve already committed to showing up and taking part in your event. And they’re generally looking forward to discovering a new or familiar place as they interact with their colleagues and peers.

But these are different times, thanks largely to the complexities of COVID-19. What was once live is now virtual. This changes the equation, not only for event organizers and sponsors, but also attendees.

In a webinar study that has some important takeaways for digital events, GoToWebinar finds that virtual marketing events have an attendance rate of just 44 percent. With everything virtual there is to choose from, and everyone working at or near a comfortable couch, how do you make your virtual event stand out as one that must be attended?

Drive Virtual Attendance with Content

Here are a few ways it could help your next event:

It can provide an additional funnel. Content can help get people in the door at a time when traditional buzz may be harder to build, which is why it needs to take on a more significant role now. For example, rather than simply sharing ramp-up content on social media a week ahead of the event, consider planning for a more robust build-out months in advance—maybe driven by a vlog, a series of behind-the-scenes newsletters to members, or perhaps even interactive quizzes.

It’s a good way to add context. Often at annual meetings, attendees tend to stumble into breakout sessions based on the title or just to see if they might find a gem—perhaps with the help of a printed conference guide or app. In a virtual context, this sort of self-discovery is a lot tougher to do. Fortunately, content can save the day. A well-considered pre-event strategy can build excitement around your speakers (keynoters and breakout speakers alike) and illustrate your event’s breadth. That can help differentiate your offering from just another glossy webinar.

It can add fresh value to your event. Virtual events pose a clear challenge, since attendees may not give them the same weight as your in-person events. But that’s only the half of it: Sponsors and exhibitors may feel shortchanged without a convention hall to highlight their wares. This is where content can save the day, not only by supplementing the digital event itself—by curating hours of coverage into thoughtful articles and video coverage—but by giving those sponsors and exhibitors effective alternatives to the convention hall. If designed right, a strong content program can offer both attendees and sponsors something very impactful: a leave-behind component (maybe an in-depth curated resource or a piece of swag), that lives on well past the event itself.

Make Room for Print, Too

Considering everything else about most events is already digital, it’s important to think about nondigital content strategies, too. While print content has been less popular than digital content in recent years, ironically, it may be just what the doctor ordered in the current climate—adding much-needed texture to your virtual meeting. There are many directions printed content for a virtual meeting can go.

For example, researchers have found that, in a learning environment, people tend to remember more when they write things down with a paper and pen. This is a clear opportunity to create dedicated notebooks for attendees that you can send to their homes, complete with additional educational resources.

But even before the meeting begins, there are plenty of ways to reach your attendees through print, which offers the personal touch we so desperately crave right now. You can send printed letters or handwritten postcards (perhaps penned by the keynote speaker); create a conference magazine or newsletter; or even offer a “special gift” to attendees pre-event—something political fundraisers are doing a lot these days. It’s a small way to close the gap between a live event and a virtual one.

Physical events give your association the important opportunity to showcase its weight and scale. Virtual events can do the same. They will just require a bit more planning and ingenuity, beyond simply livestreaming presentations, to make it happen. With a carefully crafted content strategy melding both the digital and tangible worlds, you could see success rivaling the good old days of destination meetings.

Eric Goodstadt, president of Manifest, has more than two decades of experience in the agency world, serving clients in diverse sectors—including associations, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies.

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