8 Member retention and recruitment ideas for association events
How will you design events to recruit new members and wthhold the ones you’ve got? Try getting creative, like these associations have…
At Ex Ordo , events will be the lens by which we view the planet. And we hear from our association customers on a regular basis about how exactly crucial their events are to member retention and recruitment.
Your association events keep members at the expanding frontier of knowledge in your field. But they’re a lot more than that. Live experiences are how your members stay linked to you and to other people who share their struggles and their triumphs. When members discuss successfully networking at events, what they mean is things like “I came across my people”. Because of this, your meetings certainly are a great way to show, in the flesh, the worthiness it is possible to deliver to your member base – also to potential members too.
Meeting planners understand that trends in conference attendance and membership growth are closely tied. When you can crack the code of attracting delegates and delivering an excellent experience in their mind, it’s likely you've got a successful membership growth strategy on your own hands.
To make sure your association events certainly are a fertile space for membership recruitment and retention, prepare to obtain creative like these o rganisations have.
1. Membership recruitment: This association helps young authors submit their work with review
Association event | the International Pharmaceutical Federation world congress
Consciously or not, we curate who attends a meeting . So if you’re hoping to recruit early-career members during your meetings, think carefully about how exactly you’re getting them there. For young researchers and practitioners, funding is normally the largest barrier to attending association events. They often times have to have their work accepted for presentation before they are able to access employer funding for fees and travel. But accepting the task of inexperienced authors doesn’t need to mean cutting your standards of abstract management .
To greatly help first-time authors adequately represent their work, the planet congress of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) gives them extra support before they submit a proposal. Carola van der Hoeff, FIP’s chief operating officer & congress director, says: “You can expect a mentoring system. Our leadership go through the abstracts [before they’re submitted] and we bring the authors in direct connection with them. They get feedback on structure, language and content before it would go to review.”
Recruitment idea: Develop a programme where teenagers in your field can access targeted submission advice from established members. This can enhance their confidence and help recruit more of these to your events, to begin with. But it may also neatly demonstrate the network of support your association offers to younger members that are beginning their careers.
2. Member retention: This society ensures people know they’re not by yourself
Association event | the Linguistic Society of America annual meeting
Way too many meeting planners assume their members can make career-defining connections in the hallways between conference sessions. But also for people that don’t have plenty of social capital, it’s an easy task to feel just like an outsider. And when you don’t foster a feeling of belonging at your events, member retention is really a tough sell.
To be sure vulnerable attendees get some good one-on-one attention, the Linguistic Society of America facilitates Pop-Up Mentoring at meetings. The sessions are available to anyone, however the focus is on under-represented groups like folks of colour, women, and the LGBTQI community. The offer delegates a one-time session having an established mentor not personally committed to their career. “It’s really empowering for a number of these folks to realise they’re not by yourself, that there is plenty of solidarity in the field,” says Melissa Baese-Berk, a co-employee professor of linguistics at the University of Oregon. “They’re feeling heard and observed in a way that’s unique of they might have observed before at a gathering such as this.”
Retention idea: Create some dedicated, small-group sessions for vulnerable member groups attending your association events. These could possibly be mentoring sessions, presentation skills workshops, or publication clinics. Getting usage of this sort of focused support could end up being the difference between someone feeling linked to your organisation, and deciding never to renew their membership next year.
3. Recruitment: This association turns existing members into ambassadors
Association event | the Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association annual conference
It’s hard to beat the energy of a word-of-mouth recommendation. Every time a meeting planner raves about our conference software to a pal, our sales guys Peter and Dermot know they’ve already half-won the battle. And it’s why member referrals are perhaps one of the most effective association recruitment strategies around.
So that it is practical that referrals certainly are a vital area of the membership recruitment technique for the Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association (CIVSA). To greatly help their members promote the association’s annual meeting, CIVSA gives them a flyer to distribute and material to talk about on social media. Also it doesn’t hurt they encourage their ambassadors to obtain a little competitive. Anyone who recruits a fresh member gets entered right into a prize draw.
Membership recruitment idea: Don’t shy from asking members to market your association events. Your engaged members are your biggest fans, so develop a campaign to allow them to help recruit new members via your events. Throw within an incentive like reduced fees or the opportunity to win a year’s free membership and they’ll do your projects for you personally.
4. Retention: This society exposes members to elements of the puzzle they wouldn’t otherwise see
Association event | the European Respiratory Society international congress
How will you make your member events more valuable to your community than anything they are able to achieve online ? A proven way is to provide them with usage of focused interactions they can’t find elsewhere.
To be sure delegates get exclusive benefits, the international European Respiratory Society congress places a large focus on patient interactions. As the meeting is primarily for doctors, the organising team invites patients with lung conditions to are likely involved in discussions at the function. Patients present and be a part of patient-forum sessions with doctors and researchers. “It’s quite crucial that people coping with lung conditions get the chance to influence research and policy, ” says European Lung Foundation (ELF) Chair Isabel Saraiva. “Equally, researchers and healthcare professionals think it is very useful to listen to from people who have personal connection with the diseases they're researching or treating.”
Member retention idea: To improve your retention rates, identify an organization your members would reap the benefits of talking to, then make certain they’re in the area. Start facilitating the type of conversations that cross-pollinate your members’ work as well as your event could turn into a can’t-miss chance of them.
5. Membership Recruitment: This association comes with an entirely different undertake registration fees…
Association event | the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association conference
There are many membership strategies like event registration and membership packages that may give your recruitment rates a welcome shot in the arm. But because these often attract people that join and then access cheaper tickets, they are able to harm your member retention rates. So consider going for a fresh method of recruiting new members via your association events.
To generate buzz around selling tickets, the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA) increases conference fees by way of a euro a day. Following the association lost €14K at a conference, the events team made a decision to get rid of the rulebook. Tickets continue sale a year beforehand for €100 each day. Every day, the purchase price increases by €1. Per year following the disaster event, the association event had recruited triple the delegates and doubled turnover. (A rise that could impress even probably the most hard-to-please board members.)
Recruitment idea: Early-bird and time-limited discounts are two common methods for getting your community off the fence about registering. But consider trialling a completely novel registration pricing model that attaches a definite value to registering early and drives demand for the association events.
6. Retention: This organisation gives members some non-traditional benefits
Association event | the International Ornithologists’ Union congress
The advantages of attending traditional academic and association meetings are well-documented. But to improve your member retention rates via your association events, consider adding some non-traditional advantages to the mix too.
To serve members a splash of entertainment, the organisers of the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU) quadrennial congress planned a full-on festival. As the traditional congress delivered pure scientific content to IOU members, these were also invited to be a part of a festival of bird art, movement and public engagement. “Having events as an art exhibition alongside the [traditional conference] expo engaged them in different ways and gave them a mental break,” says Shawn Cheng at MCI Canada. Plenty of IOU members already are involved with raising public awareness about birds, so obtaining the public onboard within the festival was a large hit for them. “The scientists felt just like the event passed the data that they’re so passionate going to the general public. It empowered them a little more.”
Member retention idea: Your annual meeting will be the biggest & most tangible member benefit you offer. Even though yours should deliver leading edge research and top-notch keynote speakers , adding a dash of creativity with some lighter events might help make new friends and create moments your members will undoubtedly be discussing for weeks after. Which might up your likelihood of retaining them when renewals roll around.
7. Recruitment: This society listens to young researchers’ struggles
Association event | the International Society for Microbial Ecology symposium
If your membership recruitment strategy isn’t squarely centered on understanding the requirements of another generation, it’s doomed to fail. So put some solid work into understanding your audience.
Or you can just come out and have them…which is what the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) does. ISME holds its symposium almost every other year and attracts a delegate base that’s around 50% postdoc and mid-PhD level. To get this done, the association works hard to focus on the requirements of younger members , an activity which begins by making good usage of ISME’s junior ambassadors . “We ask our young ambassadors to meet up prior to the conference starts and we inquire further ‘What are your struggles in science? What do you want ISME to do much better?’”, says Sarash de Wilde, ISME’s executive director. These issues are then presented at ISME’s board meeting at the symposium. It’s ways to get input directly from young researchers and tell them their struggles are heard.
Membership recruitment idea: Start a dialogue with another generation about their hopes, fears and needs, then set this info to work. Utilize it to see your association’s strategy also to plan some targeted sessions – like workshops or training – for the events to be sure you’re catering squarely with their needs.
8. Member retention: This association’s events reflect the city
Association event | the Political Studies Association annual conference
Your members certainly are a diverse bunch . If a event programming doesn’t reflect that diversity, you may be subtly communicating to members your association doesn’t either…
To provide programming that reflects its entire member base, the Political Studies Association annual conference thinks carefully about who’s invited to take the stage. The organising team don’t accept proposals for all-male panels, plus they ask members to encourage submissions from speakers of colour of their academic departments. To widen usage of members with caring responsibilities, the conference offers subsidised childcare to members attending. And the organisers promote the usage of young members as panel chairs and discussants where possible.
Retention idea: Your event data represents an abundance of information for member retention and recruitment. If your membership team is hard at the job identifying members’ demographic makeup , make certain you’re reflecting this in who reaches speak at your meetings. Create inclusive guidelines, then back them up with practical onsite support.
Events are your not-so-secret weapon for recruitment and retention
Your member base is counting on events for moonshot moments where anything might happen. When you can deliver that – whether it’s by helping them find their tribe or by getting their hearts’ pounding with creative programming – you’ll demonstrate the initial value your association represents. From then on, member retention and recruitment should get yourself a good deal easier.
Academic and association events are our bread and butter at Ex Ordo . We help run a huge selection of them each year and we realize that, as part of your, communities are seeking meaningful events that impact their work and their careers.
Dee moved back from London to greatly help Ex Ordo tell their story. Although she finds it tough to get turmeric lattes along with other hipster nonsense in Galway, she enjoys authoring the weird and wonderful world of research conferences.