How Can Virtual and Hybrid Event Content Help Association Membership Recruitment?

Updated: Nov. 2, 2020  |  Categories: Meetings/Events  

How Can Virtual and Hybrid Event Content Help Association Membership Recruitment?

Recruitment? Who’s recruiting right now? In your chapter, you may be focused on providing value through content and events that help keep the members you have. And that is definitely a critical task that deserves your attention. But, recruiting new members is as important as ever, maybe even more so, as there is a segment of people looking for organizations that can best meet their needs virtually.

Does your content help increase membership by engaging potential association chapter members? As you plan your future virtual offering, think about your strategy to bring on new members. How can you show potential members yours is the organization to join, the one that can provide the virtual content and support they want right now?

More people are more inclined to join virtual events right now.  In the past, you may have thought about virtual engagement as a secondary objective. In our current world, virtual engagement is crucial to increasing membership strategies. People are looking for what your chapter has to offer, intrigued by what they’ve heard about the chapter or by the topic of a specific meeting, who won’t think it’s worth the risk or commitment to attend in-person, whether due to COVID 19 restrictions or the logistics that have always been associated with attending in person.

Make your virtual events stand out for potential members through the options you offer existing members. Include engaging speakers, relevant presentations and options for interaction, like networking, breakout sessions, and the ability to submit questions live through chat (with a forum moderator reviewing the questions and sharing them with live with the speakers).

Recordings of your events can help you reach new audiences. Even if you’re not actively recruiting, recording and posting your events on your website is a simple way to expand your audience and reach potential new members. Sharing your interesting content where it can be easily seen eliminates barriers to entry and allows those considering joining to see the quality of your events and the value of joining. They’ll consider attending more of your chapter events and joining because they’ve enjoyed what you’ve made available for them to view for free and at their leisure.

Hybrid events can also attract new members. If you haven’t tried a hybrid event, now might be a good time to engage with potential members–and existing ones–this way. As we go into the colder months, consider an event with a remote speaker, and virtual or in-person attendees. Traditional, in person speakers can be expensive when you factor in travel and other expenses. With a hybrid event, your speaker can be anywhere,  and they can be live or pre-recorded and streamed live to attendees wherever they are. A hybrid event can also allow for live questioning, as well as time for networking, whether in person or virtual. 

Whether you choose remote events that are completely virtual or hybrid, or you increase the number of recordings easily available online, you’re providing potential members with a sense of your chapter and giving them the chance to explore your chapter without the pressure that often accompanies a joining decision.

If you’re looking at virtual events as the “thing” to do right now to fill the gap for members who can’t meet in person, that view could be short-sighted. They’re a great opportunity to show value and engage and attract this important audience, by lowering their barrier to entry. You’re providing options that remove some of the expense and stress of attending that first in person meeting, where the person wonders if it’s worth sitting in traffic for 45 minutes to visit a new chapter and attend a meeting where they won’t know anyone.

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