Organize Events to Attract New Members and Boost Attendance

Updated: May. 19, 2015  

In just about every way you can think about it, they form the core of what your organization is all about -- public events.

Organizations are social groups; without socializing, your group is essentially just a newsletter and an idea.

Events are a core element of membership-based organizations. Mastering the art of throwing an event will go a long way towards attracting new members to your organization while having existing members excited to attend events.

Analyze Your Past Events

Before you start filling up your organization’s calendar, take some time to do some research about successful events. Here are some questions to help you evaluate what makes a popular event.

  • What events have you held in the past that worked and attracted the most attendance?

  • What were the events with high attendance, high revenue, positive feedback, and high amounts of chatter and excitement?

  • What was it about that event that seemed to work so well?

Coming Up With Event Ideas

Get members excited about attending events by having a theme to your meeting. Wouldn’t you agree attending an outing, casino night or holiday party is more enticing than calling your event “January Meeting?”

To come up with theme ideas, you can start brainstorming with topics around:

  • What are the hot topics in your industry right now?

  • Workshop/Seminar – What skills would your membership like to gain?

  • What type of hobbies or other interests does your membership have, and how can you incorporate that into events? (ex: golf, wine, or attending a sporting event)

  • Ask members for their input on topics or themes they are interested in. (Try conducting a membership survey to gather their ideas.)

Planning Your Meetings

Now that you have solid ideas for your upcoming meetings, it is time to get them on the calendar and round out the event details.

Here are some tips to successful meeting planning:

  • If possible, try to hold the meeting on a standard day. For example, if the meetings are always the second Tuesday of the month, members will be able to block out time on their calendars for up to a year at a time.

  • Make it easy for members to register for the events. An online event registration is optimal – no need for you to receive phone calls or emails from attendees.

  • Be sure to have name tags and time for members to network with each other. Use your membership management software to print name tags using the registration information.

  • Everyone loves food and prizes. Try to incorporate these elements in to the meetings. Don’t have money in your budget for these things? Consider having a member’s company sponsor the food or prizes in exchange for some free advertising on the association website or the event’s agenda.

Having unique and well planned events is essential to having returning attendees and attracting new members. Taking the time to analyze past meetings, brainstorm future events and give attention to the details is necessary to growing your membership organization’s event attendance.

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