Local Events Bring Members Back

What events are your members attending in 2009? Or maybe the more enlightening question is where are your members attending?

The Healthcare Association of Michigan noticed in 2007 that 521 individuals attended about 22 regional events. That number jumped to 965 individuals attending a slightly increased number of regional events. That’s an 85% increase.

To HCAM’s event planner Aaron D. Wolowiec, MSA, that’s a trend he expects to grow in 2009. He shared that they think their “active involvement in regional programming is vital for a strong, effective association. Most notably, it promotes engagement and engagement promotes retention.”

Based on what we’re hearing from associations all over, participation in events is expected to decline in 2009 – but does it have to? And is it really? Can we perhaps just shift the participation to more local events?

Of course that means having exciting local events to offer members. The Chapter Leaders Playground webinar this past year looked at that topic. Cynthia D’Amour hosted the conversation in which I shared a few of my chapters’ successful events and we got additional ideas from participants.

Here are a few:

  • Speed Networking – set-up rounds of 8 or 10 and, using a timed approach, have each person introduce themselves and share one idea or story. After a set period, switch tables so members meet a new group.
  • Speed Mentoring – it’s a take on the speed networking that give young and aspiring professionals an opportunity to get sage advice. Set up tables of five including one mentor. Each of the four mentees, asks one question in turn. After 25 minutes, the mentees swap tables.
  • Speed Recaps – helps you extend the learning from workshops held either at another event or say in the morning. So, for example, if you have a full day program with a series of concurrent workshops in the morning, have a speed recap session in the afternoon. Ask the speakers to sit at roundtables and share their five take-aways from their session. After 15 minutes, attendees switch tables. Try this for a stand-alone event to recap past events.
  • Teleseminars / Webinar Tie-in – this is a partnering event where the local group becomes a hot site for a national teleseminar or webinar (e.g. use a member conference room, local university classroom, local theater) after which a facilitator leads a post-session conversation.

Help build this list by adding your ideas … and watch for more ideas in the next couple of posts.