Over the past couple of weeks, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has led many associations to cancel or postpone in-person conferences and training seminars while they grapple with how to deliver those events virtually. But is moving toward virtual events merely a short-term solution to a temporary problem, or a deeper transformation that will drive long-term success?
The good news is that transitioning to virtual events can generate a lot of positive results for your association, helping you weather the effects of the current crisis and thrive in the future. Here, we take a closer look at five of those benefits.
1. Expand your association’s reach
Whether or not you’re able to bring people together in the same physical place, adding partially or fully virtual components to conferences or continuing education sessions makes it possible to appeal to an even larger audience, including those who normally wouldn’t be able to attend.
This means you’re effectively scaling your reach.
2. Let presenters share their expertise from anywhere
Hosting virtual events is also about making it easier for presenters to share their knowledge and subject matter expertise with members and attendees. Going virtual, either wholly or in part, means that:
- Speakers can deliver their presentations from anywhere in the world.
- Attendees can still access sessions even if they can’t attend.
- Sponsors can engage with your audience through targeted digital forums.
- Your association can open up new revenue streams by offering material live while it’s happening, on-demand after the fact, or both.
3. Enable people to network and connect
Even though we must keep our physical distance from one another, that doesn’t mean we have to stay socially separated. Members can still interact, network, debate, and chat using tools and solutions such as:
- Online discussion forums: Allow members to communicate and collaborate with peers and experts, both as part of the larger conference community and within smaller groups.
- Integrated web conferencing: Host big training sessions, smaller check-ins, group work, live discussions, and debates. Once everything is recorded, you can give existing members on-demand access or add new revenue streams by appealing to new members.
- An activity feed keeps attendees in the know about what’s happening as part of the conference and the training sessions they’re signed up for.
Want to learn more about how to make virtual training engaging? Check out our blog.
4. Reduce costs for your association
Traditional in-person events come with a host of costs, including hotels, conference venues, food, AV equipment, and printed promotional materials. Transitioning to virtual delivery models enables your association to cut or eliminate a lot of these.
5. Equip your association to succeed in the future
At the end of the day, taking your live event virtual is about more than generating revenue and delivering the training your members need. It’s about transforming your association and creating blended offerings—attracting people who want to be there in person and opening the door to those who otherwise would be unable to attend.
That’s how you can get through the crisis that’s at our doorstep now and thrive down the road.
During this health crisis, expertise is close at hand
As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread globally, we appreciate and understand that this may be a scary and uncertain time and want you to know we’re here to support you as you move toward creating a “new normal” for your association over the months ahead.