Hope is Not A Strategy



As my favorite personal development gurus, Dave and Rachel Hollis, like to say, “Hope isn’t a strategy.” If you want to lose 20lbs – you cannot just hope that extra weight away – you have to meal prep, you have to develop a workout plan and you have to put in the effort. The same is going to be true when talking about future events and member benefits. This year attendees, members, and sponsors understood the need for change, the delay in decision making, the uncertainty – it is what it is – however, 2021 is going to be a whole new ballgame and associations’ answer cannot be, “We hope events return.”
Will events be back to normal? We don’t know – although, it is best start making plans and we can help you with that – however, what we do know is that membership for both renewing companies and new members are going to be an important part of the new year, making your value proposition and member benefits critically important. If you have complimentary attendance, reduced registration, or the opportunity to sponsor on the member benefits list – it is time to address the status of events. Since none of us have a crystal ball, further defining these benefits should be focused on the reason the events were held at all. What was the ultimate goal of the event and how can that goal for members be met in another way?
Let’s say your big event was a trade show that is often used by members to showcase new products, could you offer a virtual event or maybe publication with advertisements as new ways companies can provide updates on their product lines? Maybe members find the education at your annual meeting the best part, do you know what sessions were most attended or the topics that produced the largest audience? Those sessions can be part of a guest blogger series from popular presenters or transitioned into a webinar. Perhaps networking is the primary reasons members like to meet in person, what about virtual tabletop like session as part of your online event that allows folks to come together and mingle or maybe an online community that can be created? The association does not have to know everything about future events; however, it does need to be able to define what value the events had presented to members and how that value is accessible in other ways.
While the rest of the world is spending their energy hoping, your association can choose to spend that energy focused on re-defining how members will experience the value gained at events in a whole new way.
Does your association need help pivoting to virtual events or redefining your value proposition? We can help! Fill out the form below and we’ll be in contact promptly:
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About the Author

Jackie Bessette

Jackie Bessette serves as a Business Development Manager at Big Red M. With extensive association and communications experience, Jackie spearheads new growth initiatives and membership and sponsorship campaigns for our association clients. She brings to the position a passion, drive, and positive attitude, which make her a perfect fit for Big Red M. A graduate of George Mason University, she formerly was the Membership Development Manager at the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI), where she launched the successful DHI “Corporate Membership Tier Program” generating hundreds of new members – and served as the lead on all membership development activities: research, outreach, marketing, and onboarding.


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