Navigating Change for Associations

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03/24/2020


 
Last week our personal and professional lives were upended. Cancelled events and meetings. Sectors with members that were thriving last month are now wondering how they will stay in business next month. Figuring out how to home school our children while simultaneously leading an association. Transitioning our workplace from 100% onsite to 100% remote. Any one of these things would create more than enough stress in our lives, let alone a multiple of these things at the same time.
Our company partners with over two dozen trade associations and we are helping our associations manage through these unchartered times. These are some things we are hearing from our partners that I wanted to pass on to you:
Meetings and Sponsorships

  • Associations are moving meetings when possible, many have been successful finding new dates in the fall. Sponsors have supported the change and are keeping their sponsorships.
  • Associations are transitioning to virtual events and finding new opportunities for their partners. For some this has meant bundling multiple opportunities throughout the year.
  • Be flexible with your virtual sponsorships. Traditionally you may have never allowed your sponsor the opportunity to speak at an event. They will really appreciate you giving them a minute or two before one of your virtual sessions.
  • Find other opportunities for sponsors. This week we have seen an increase in interest from sponsors about advertising opportunities. Associations that have newsletters, magazines, webinars, etc. should be promoting these opportunities. Sponsors suddenly have new or different budgets as shows got cancelled.

 
Membership

  • Your members want to hear from you! They understand you may not have all the answers right now, but they want to know what their association is doing for them.
  • Some associations are sharing member only information with past members or prospects as a gesture of good will. We believe this will pay dividends in the future for those associations that were on the front line from the very beginning.
  • Increase in association webinars, some even daily. Also, opening these up to non-members.
  • Transitioning from selling memberships for associations to helping them with renewals.

These are just a few of the things we are seeing and advising in the association space as we all navigate these uncertain times. We are here for our partners in a strategic way. Yes, the work is different but it still needs to happen. The number one thing I am telling associations today is to pick up a phone and talk to their members.
If we can help you, or if you just want to chat, shoot me an email.
 
 
 

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About the Author

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas, a business development professional with more than 20 years of association and media experience, leads the winning sales team at Big Red M. With his expertise in sales training, he’s developed the very best talent in the association space. 
His staff breaks sales goals generating hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of our client partners year after year. With a seasoned understanding of what drives association prospects, Mike excels at creating client strategies tailored to the needs of their organization – and, effectively sets goals not only to meet, but surpass expectations.
 Mike is a graduate of the University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business.

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