Association virtual meetings have become the norm in the age of COVID. Prior to the pandemic, most Associations counted virtual meetings as a secondary way for members to interact with the organization. Now, 100% virtual interaction is not unusual.
This has negatively impacted Associations in several ways:
As social creatures, humans thrive on in-person interaction. Going 100% on virtual meetings may be a necessity but lack of face-to-face contact may cause the members not to feel as strong of a connection to the organization and other members as they did pre-pandemic.
Lack of physical presence can make networking more challenging. Tools like LinkedIn can be helpful, but an organization-specific virtual mechanism would have the best chance of keeping the networking energy humming.
COVID-19 restrictions are hurting Associations and Nonprofits. In many cases, organizations are not charging members for online events like monthly meetings. Also, for larger events like conferences, organizations are not charging the same as they did for the traditional in-person events.
Here are three ways to amp-up Association virtual meetings.
Take a hard look at legacy Event Management software. Is it geared to handling both virtual and in-person events? Does it have a mobile version so event registrations can be handled via smartphone? Does it have direct integration with virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or WebEx? If not, it may be time to check out alternatives.
Feedback from event attendees supports better decision-making by Associations as they strive to apply continuous improvement principles to virtual meetings. Make sure to provide a feedback channel at registration, during the event, and, most importantly, post-event. The post-event survey should allow attendees to provide a full range of feedback so future Association virtual meetings can benefit from this input.
The Association should provide as much virtual networking support as possible. Leverage the organizational database to find ways to connect members. Making the Member database more open will allow Members to find others with similar interests and connections. Provide Member-to-Member messaging capabilities so virtual networking can flourish even though the face-to-face variety is still on hold.
Virtual events might be popular post-pandemic. Association virtual meeting excellence can be an ongoing journey that will keep on paying dividends into the future.\
Rather than just investing in IT tools and resources, consider investing in “Service Experts” that work directly with you in effectively deploying tools to achieve your Mission.