Five Unusual Virtual Event Sponsor Benefits That Just Might Save Your Conference

Associations are scrambling to reinvent conferences for the virtual world with a rightful focus on member needs. But these meetings often rely on financing from sponsors that need more than logo placements or a virtual exhibit hall to justify their continued support. A look at some new sponsor benefits to consider. “The sponsors are furious. They feel we’re disorganized and still in search of a plan—and they’re right.” Only eight weeks before their annual conference, this engineering association’s [...]


COVID Silver Linings: Living Life

Life effectively ground to a halt eight months ago and we all retreated to our homes, experiencing the same crisis separately. Challenge often brings unexpected gifts that reveal hope amid adversity. Association pros share a few of their silver linings. When the pandemic sent us all home last March, time seemed to stop and then open up again in a completely new way. Mornings were no longer all about rushing to the shower, gulping down coffee, making lunch, [...]


The Rise of the Hybrid Meeting

Hybrid conferences, mixing in-person and virtual elements, may be the new normal for 2021 and beyond. They present plenty of logistical challenges, but also new opportunities for creativity and engagement. Association meeting planners have spent much of 2020 on shifting sands. In early March, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still more threat than reality in the United States, some associations were able to keep their in-person meetings intact. But by summer, most had shifted their conferences to virtual [...]


How to Lead Your Team Through Election Stress

Politics likely has your teams more keyed up than usual this year. Ignoring it is futile, and potentially counterproductive. But it can be managed. Tomorrow is Election Day—please vote if you haven’t already!—and there’s a good chance that politics has changed your office culture, whether you know it or not. Last week, my colleague Ernie Smith pointed to research from the American Psychological Association showing that more than two-thirds of Americans are likely to say that the upcoming presidential election is [...]


Five Kinds of Organizational Bias That Could Be Ruining Your Remote Meetings

Leaders should keep a close eye on the subtle ways that they—or their employees—might be introducing biases to the way they approach remote calls. Lots of different behaviors manifest themselves in subtle ways in the workplace. And that’s true when the workplace is virtual as well. It can affect leadership or worker interactions, and it can leave workers feeling slighted or missing the bigger picture. And the best way to avoid those issues is to know that they’re [...]


13 Associations That Make Halloween Happen

October 31 might look different this year, but 58 percent of Americans say they plan to celebrate in some way, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s just one of our 13 associations that make Halloween what it is. Without associations, Halloween might not be the reliable holiday it is: You know you’ll always be able to find pumpkins, Halloween makeup, and oodles of candy corn. To that end, here are 13 associations that allow you to unmask [...]


Fall Cleaning: Is It Time to Tidy Up Your Data?

Are you investing enough in data hygiene? In the final installment of our three-part data series, learn how regular data housekeeping can strengthen one of your organization’s most important resources. It’s not often that the term “fall cleaning” gets thrown around, but this year isn’t like most others—and if the pandemic has forced you to put big projects on hold, you might have time to focus on more day-to-day things. One example: data hygiene. Wes Trochlil, founder of [...]


Two Strategies for Combating COVID-19 Financial Challenges

Association leaders are navigating a challenging financial climate precipitated by the pandemic by making use of investments and seeking out new revenue streams. As association leaders navigate COVID-19 and its effects on all aspects of revenue, they are making important decisions to ensure the long-term financial health and viability of their associations. Here is a look at some strategies and best practices they can deploy. Use Reserves for Revenue Gaps Associations that rely heavily on the revenue from [...]


How Three Rules Support One Association’s Culture

Three years ago, the education association MISBO established guidelines for how staff would treat each other. They’ve served the organization well through the pandemic. Damian Kavanagh, CAE, is the head of a small-staff association—7.5 full-time employees—and like most small-staff leaders, he recognizes that group cohesion is particularly critical. As the CEO of MISBO, an association of independent-school leaders, he convened his staff three years ago to answer “two pretty simple questions: What are the characteristics of people you [...]


How to Make the Most of Your Member Needs Assessment

Before immediately jumping to a survey to assess member needs, take the time to get to know their preferences so you can create a responsive tool to find out what they actually want. Here are five tips to guide you. Whenever association professionals start thinking about conducting a member needs assessment, they tend to leap immediately to a survey. Surveys usually include the usual prompts: “Rate our programs on importance and performance,” “On a scale of 1 to [...]