Make this the year you improve your association’s event engagement

Don’t wait another year to get members and sponsors more engaged with your association’s events. Here are four ways to start improving event engagement today.  

Your association’s events have incredible potential for driving member engagement and generating non-dues revenue. They also take a lot of effort. That’s why it’s so important to get as much value out of them as possible.  

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With a few tools and best practices, you can optimize your association’s events for better member and sponsor engagement – even if you have a small staff. So, don’t wait another year to make improvements to your events. Get going today with these four approaches:

1. Automate your event wait list.

This is a simple, yet powerful, way to make sure you get the greatest number of people to attend your events. More people means more opportunities to engage with members and potential members as well as more event revenue for your association.

By eliminating manual steps from your event wait list process, you can boost the efficiency of your event management and help to ensure you fill every attendee spot for your events.

TIP: Wait list functionality in YourMembership association management software (AMS) by Community Brands helps you remove manual steps in the wait list process by allowing you to set wait list limits, let potential attendees add themselves to the wait list once the limit is reached, and automatically invite the next person on your wait list when a space opens.

2. Create “wow” moments to engage your attendees.

Your events must be vibrant to attract and engage members and potential members. They need to capture attendees’ attention from start to finish.

Here are some easy ways to add engaging moments to your events that delight attendees:

  • Schedule lively meal-time activities or sessions that provide a fun break from more intense learning sessions.
  • Offer live networking events that connect attendees and get them talking.
  • Provide live entertainment; this can be anything from a band to a cooking class/demonstration. 
  • Set up sessions that focus on interviews with industry experts or panel discussions with thought leaders, and set aside time for Q&A with the audience. You can even provide a room where attendees can have access to presenters for Q&A.
  • Use a mobile event app to keep attendees engaged through surveys, polls, and audience response systems that assist with learning, awareness, and overall participation.  

TIP: YourMembership AMS is built for small to mid-size associations like yours and includes robust event management functionality to help you easily create, host, and manage your organization’s events. Using the mobile event app from YourMembership, you can also keep attendees informed and engaged throughout your event.

3. Get event sponsors more engaged.

You likely already offer sponsorship opportunities for your association’s events. You can take those sponsorships to the next level by giving sponsors more opportunities to engage with your events. Doing so helps to demonstrate value to your event sponsors and exhibitors to make sure they return year after year.

Here are some ideas for getting sponsors more engaged with your association’s events:

  • Get them involved with sessions. Many of your sponsors and exhibitors work in your industry and have insights and experience to share. Beyond asking them to sponsor a session, ask them to participate in session development. For example, they might serve on a thought leadership panel, or they might co-develop and present a session.
  • Give sponsors the opportunity to provide videos or ads that you can play on screens between sessions. This allows sponsors to give attendees additional information or entertainment throughout the event. 
  • Ask them to share data and resources. Your sponsors and exhibitors might have timely industry data and other resources. Ask them if they have recent research data, papers, articles, or other resources that could be share with attendees. 
  • Invite them to provide giveaways. Offer drawings for prizes throughout the event and ask sponsors to donate items for the giveaways. Be sure to recognize each sponsor as you announce each winner. Another option is to create and promote scavenger hunts that encourage attendees to visit sponsors’ booths to ultimately win prizes. These approaches have the added benefit of incorporating a fun element to your event that engages attendees.  
  • Ask for their input. One of the best ways to provide value to your sponsors and exhibitors is to ask them what they want. Survey some of your top sponsors from previous events and ask what would make their sponsorship of your next event extra valuable. Also, be sure to send a post-event survey to get their feedback while it’s fresh in their minds.

TIP: YourMembership AMS has survey functionality built in, making it easy to build and send targeted surveys and get feedback.

4. Use your online community to engage members before, during, and after the event. 

You might not think about your online member community when you think about your association’s events. But it can be a highly effective tool for engaging members before, during, and after each event.

Here are some tips:

  • Drive interest in the event. Promote your event by posting announcements about it in your online community.
  • Start discussions before the event. Create a discussion group about the event for registered attendees, and then invite them to use the group to talk about the event and connect with each other ahead of time.
  • Offer content previews. Post previews of upcoming event content, such as an outline of a session or short videos from session speakers that offer previews of topics that will be covered. Then, invite members to comment on and discuss their thoughts about the topics.
  • Encourage discussions during the event. Set up discussion groups in your online community that align with topics from your event sessions. After each session or event, point attendees to the corresponding online community group to discuss ideas from the session. Kick off discussions by posting questions that get people talking.
  • Keep the conversations going. Keep tabs on event-related discussions to find members who are most engaged and experienced on specific subjects, and then invite them to comment and offer insights when those discussion topics come up again in your online community. This is a great way to continue to boost member engagement beyond the event. 

TIP: YourMembership includes functionality to help you develop a vibrant online member community. By using the “Quick Announcement” area in the online community, you can easily promote your events. You can also set up discussion groups in your online community so members with similar interests can share ideas and information with each other. 


Learn more. 

Having the right technology and approaches in place will help you to improve your association and ensure it continues to grow and thrive. Learn more about how YourMembership AMS can help your small association to grow, boost member engagement, and work more efficiently: Explore YourMembership. 



By Kyela Bishop, YourMembership Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands

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