Personify, the leading provider of constituent management software, commissioned research in December 2020 of nearly 1,000 association members and staff about their preferences for digital engagement along with challenges and opportunities that have arisen over the past year with virtual events.
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Associations derive a significant portion of their non-dues revenue from hosting events, conferences and trade shows. These events also further their missions for education, advocacy, engagement, and networking of its members. As the pandemic forced the closure of most in-person events, organizations had to accelerate and implement a digital-first strategy–from virtual events, online communities, webinars and more.
- Virtual engagement is here to stay – As events move forward into 2021, members surveyed want options in choice of attendance as it was nearly split equally between preferences of in-person (33%), virtual (33%) and hybrid with 32%.
- Virtual success – Members ranked virtual events as the number one activity that has “led to meaningful connections with their association.”
- Events on pause? – 27% of organizations replaced their annual conference with a different type of event and 20% said that organization decided to forgo the in-person event altogether in 2020.
- Events as part of member engagement – 91% said that it was valuable in meeting association members’ needs by having events.
- Your digital networks are crucial – More than half of all survey respondents shared how important it is for an association to provide digital networking and community members. This will be a key strategy for hybrid events moving forward.
- And much, much more.