Six communication lessons spurred by the pandemic

The pandemic was a learn-as-you-go situation. And what association communication teams learned during the COVID-19 crisis are valuable lessons that can help associations stay engaged with members going forward. It’s a strange and new world. You might be moving back to your office or rescheduling a big event, but life (nor your members’ work routine) is far from “back to normal.” Let’s agree that every communicator just experienced a rare lesson about learning-as-you-go communication. Before we knew what [...]


Throwing the net wide leads to a surge in members – and more

One association got a boost in membership, engagement, and retention by listening to members, tailoring resources to directly meet their needs, and being open to new ideas. In late April, the Health Industry Distributors Association announced a 21 percent surge in corporate members, noting that it is exceeding national benchmarks for trade association member renewal rates. The growth is broad-based, with new members from companies of all sizes. How did HIDA do it? An expanded membership model, ramped up engagement, and proactive, [...]


Five meeting features to re-evaluate post-pandemic

Time away from the expo hall might offer an opportunity to try things in a new way. Read on for ways to tweak your offerings in response to COVID-19—or just because it’s time for a rethink. In-person events are slowly coming back—but the time away from them offers an opportunity to rethink some of their common features. And it’s not just health and safety protocols that are getting a fresh look in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic’s [...]


Build a membership forecasting plan that works

Having a strong spreadsheet template—along with valuable data points from within your organization—can help make member forecasting an essential planning tool. It can even help you boost renewals. When it comes to understanding what your membership picture will look like a year or two from now, a little data crunching can go a long way. Beyond being a boon for spreadsheet nerds, a strong member forecasting tool can lead to effective ways to boost renewals and increase interest [...]


Increase budget agility during uncertain times

The pandemic created uncertainty for association finances. Budgets were often wildly off pace from the pandemic reality, and many organizations scrambled to figure out what to do. But scrambling doesn’t have to be a part of the equation if associations communicate finance policies, forecast, and stay flexible. Over the past year, COVID-19 forced us to adapt to unprecedented challenges. However, creating practices that make your association agile and ready to respond can mitigate potential negative impacts to its [...]


Why young professionals should be your association’s next investment

Now is the time for associations to rethink what it means to be a member and create new ways for young professionals to engage. Here are five changes to consider if you’re serious about appealing to the next generation. As any young professional will tell you, we move fast and expect everything instantly. And it sometimes seems that nothing moves slower than associations. While print media, film, and retail have reinvented themselves to be on the next generation’s [...]


Create more value for your virtual sponsors and exhibitors

When everything went virtual last year due to the pandemic, it also shifted sponsorship opportunities at meetings. Although associations have grappled with sometimes lackluster results for sponsors, one expert says there are ways to provide more value in virtual offerings. For the past year, associations have been working to make sponsors feel they are getting value from virtual events, but it’s been a struggle as virtual exhibit halls and some other features haven’t lived up to the exposure [...]


Addressing mental health in the workplace

Tennis player Naomi Osaka’s refusal to participate in press conferences at the French Open to save her mental health touched off an important issue for workers. An expert offers tips for employees and managers when mental health issues arise that require flexibility from the workplace. Last month, No.2-ranked women’s tennis player Naomi Osaka drew much attention when she said she wouldn’t participate in press conferences at the French Open because they were bad for her mental health. After organizers fined her [...]


How to offer your staff the right kind of flexibility

You want to give your employees freedom, but you may not know exactly what that should look like. Learn what workplace flexibility could mean and how to find out what your workforce wants. After a year of our collective remote work experiment, we know that flexibility is key to the future workplace. Even before the pandemic, most workers called flexibility a necessity, and the desire for that control over one’s own work life will only continue to grow. But it’s [...]


How to build a competency-based board

The authors of an updated edition of Race for Relevance argue not just for smaller boards, but boards that also are more alert to the challenges an association will face in the near future. Radically controversial opinions are rare in the association world, so the ones that emerge tend to be memorable. Ten years ago, consultants Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE, kicked off a heated discussion among association leaders when they published their book, Race for Relevance, which argued that [...]