How associations are adapting

Joe DePumpo | | August 24, 2020

In the last few weeks, two of the larger association tradeshows, AMS Fest and the ASAE Annual Meeting occurred. As usual, Euclid dispatched our great team to these events, not only to do a little showing off of our product line, but also to engage with our clients and potential clients. These tradeshows allow us to keep our fingers on the pulse of the associations we serve and their evolving needs. Unlike previous events however, these were all virtual.

The fact that we came away from these virtual shows with new insights and connections reinforced just how important video communication has become and how association management software can complement it. We took away a few other insights too. Here are some of the concerns we heard from associations of all kinds:

Webinars have been successful, but worry about sustainability

We heard repeatedly that folks were surprised at the relative success of their webinars. They noted continued high attendance to their webinar offerings. Many worried, however, about the long-term sustainability of this model as their members became “saturated” with video content.

Some associations were trying to get ahead of this potential burnout by experimenting with new types of webinars and different formats. They thought twice about the traditional slide presentation in favor of breaking out a whiteboard or splicing in short animated content. One attendee emphasized the importance of a dynamic host that can engage passive attendees, without being overly assertive.

ClearVantage can help facilitate your webinar events at every stage of the process. Our integrations with Zoom, GoToWebinar, and AdobeConnect ensure that you can market, sell, and control access to webinars without ever leaving ClearVantage. In addition to making the process seamless for your members, it allows you to keep better tabs on the success of your webinar events. This includes live reporting on sales, tracking member attendance history, and the ability to follow up after the webinar with a relevant survey.


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Over-reliance on the annual conference for funding

This was another challenge we heard from associations of all sizes—the need to adapt their funding model away from relying so heavily on their annual conference. They remained positive, however, with the willingness of sponsors to adapt and support new types of events and content. One association noted that a major sponsor who typically supported their annual conference was willing to adapt their sponsorship to a webinar and other supporting materials.

Further, virtual conferences do not necessarily have to mean funding compromise. One organization actually raised the price of their virtual conference compared to previous in-person conferences. The argument they made was that because there were no concurrent breakout sessions, attendees no longer had to choose what they wanted to attend—they could see it all. Instead of only being able to attend four sessions, members could watch all 12 pre-recorded sessions at any time. They were able to charge more for delivering more value.

With a bit of flexibility and exploring new types of content, associations are making up for cancelled or virtualized conferences. The key is making sure you remain aware of what your members need and explore with your sponsors new opportunities. ClearVantage can help broaden your organization's revenue streams in a number of ways. We make it easy to host digital content for purchase, from e-books to video libraries. Content can be restricted in several ways, such as availability to members only, or requiring an individual purchase. Additionally, ClearVantage integrates with 13 different Learning Management Systems (LMS), which provide the opportunity for additional revenue from online courses.

ClearVantage Digital Content Management Features

ClearVantage provides a robust digital content management system so that you can offer PDF e-books, video libraries, and more.

Barriers still high for live video content

While some associations had investigated live video for their webinars and other content, many were more comfortable with pre-recording. They cited the quality control that pre-recorded video allowed, and valued that over the interactivity that live video can bring. Further, a variety of tools to enhance pre-recorded content with things like annotations, closed captions, and transitions were taken into account. These enhancements are harder with live content. As video communications technology like Zoom become so common in a socially distancing world, this is likely to change.

For now, delivering consistent and high-quality live video content has more barriers than pre-recorded video. Not only are there fewer live video tools available, but those tools often also have higher learning curves that traditional video editing software.

Like every organization, associations around the world are adapting to new challenges, whether they be technical or operational. These latest tradeshows showed us that associations are rising to the challenge, and finding creative new ways and tools to respond to new circumstances.

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