On average, Total Excellence in Association Management (TEAM) has about 75 meetings planned during a calendar year for our clients. These meetings range from small board meetings with exclusive attendance to major multi-day national conferences with hundreds of registered attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, our team of expert meeting managers were faced with many challenges and decisions to make regarding the fate of our 2020 and 2021 meetings. Some of the most prevalent challenges our meeting managers faced included: deciding the fate of the already planned meeting, navigating new platforms, and creating a beneficial experience for attendees and sponsors alike. Read on to learn more about how TEAM meeting managers are navigating association meeting planning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making a Decision on the Meeting’s Fate
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, TEAM meeting managers already had many in-person meetings booked, planned and paid for. When the world started changing so rapidly, our meeting managers had to carefully assess client budgets and event contracts. Is our client financially stable enough to not host a meeting? What costs will they accrue if they postponed the meeting or transitioned to virtual? Will the signed venue contract permit postponing or canceling the event without any financial penalty? Because the nature of our clients are medical organizations, our meetings tend to provide critical continuing education to our members that is needed to maintain their license to practice medicine. This caused another problem for TEAM meeting managers, because if they were forced to cancel the event, they would need to determine a way to provide the continuing education opportunities our physician members so heavily rely on. Our meeting managers worked around the clock to propose the best course of action for each individual TEAM client. Because none of our organizations are the same, TEAM meeting managers were able to come up with personalized solutions that made the most sense for each individual client.
Navigating a New, Virtual World
Prior to COVID-19, it was not common for TEAM clients to host virtual events, especially not events as complicated as many of our meeting managers were now finding themselves planning virtually. TEAM meeting experts started by spending countless hours researching different platforms to deliver meeting content while taking into account that many clients had to accept budget limitations and the fact that many of their in-person meeting elements did not necessarily translate to a virtual environment. While some events were postponed or cancelled entirely, many of the planned events were being transitioned from in-person to virtual. Our meeting managers had to quickly become experts on virtual meeting technologies, train speakers and attendees on how to use the new virtual meeting platform technologies and troubleshoot issues all while hosting the meeting live. Each meeting provided new insight into the successes and failures of the virtual meeting world helping our meeting managers to learn and improve.
Making the Meeting Worthwhile for Everyone
As previously mentioned, many of our clients are associations in the medical industry with memberships consisting of physicians. For many of our events, Continuing Medical Education (CME) is a great value offered to members and something they depend on every year. Our meeting managers worked tirelessly with the CME Accreditation Office to ensure our member physicians would have access to these important CME opportunities, whether the initial planned event was postponed, canceled or transitioned to virtual. By working with the speakers and the clients volunteer planning committees, our meeting managers were able to provide the vital continuing education to our members in a variety of different formats.
Another important audience our meeting managers had to work hard to appease was exhibitors and sponsors. Exhibit and sponsorship dollars provide TEAM clients with thousands of dollars in non-dues revenue each year. The relationship between a client organization and corporate sponsors is extremely important to maintain, even through the pandemic. TEAM meeting managers were able to develop creative and beneficial sponsorships to offer our corporate sponsors who typically look forward to meeting with our members face-to-face during in-person meetings. By adding incentives like door prizes and giveaways’ for visiting the virtual exhibit halls, our meeting managers have been able to provide an engaging experience for our attendees in which our loyal sponsors and exhibitors were able to see virtual traffic similar to what they would have experienced at an in-person meeting.
TEAM meeting managers were faced with great adversity with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but their expertise and professionalism shined bright during the chaotic first few months. The experience they gained during this has set up TEAM current and future clients for success, whether future events are in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Learn more about our meeting management services by visiting www.winwithteam.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us in so many ways. In what felt like a blink of an eye, our lives were completely turned upside down by an unprecedented pandemic. In March, our lives most likely consisted of commuting to work, meeting co-workers for lunch, picking our kids up from school, socializing on weekends, and more. Seven months later, it all seems so unusual.
Managing mostly medical associations, has come with its own set of pandemic-related challenges. Total Excellence in Association Management (TEAM) along with many other AMC’s have learned to adapt to the “new normal.” Read on to learn more about what TEAM has done to ensure our clients continue to receive uninterrupted service during a global pandemic.
Alright, we admit that the seamless transition TEAM experienced from office work to 100 percent virtual work had much to do with processes put into place prior to the advent of COVID-19. TEAM staff were prepared with detailed procedures and protocols for virtual work before the pandemic was even a threat. Because TEAM values the health and well-being of our staff, volunteer leadership and customers, we were fully prepared to transition our offices to our homes within one day and without any interruption to service or workflow. This smooth transition allowed for us to be one-step ahead of the information that seemed to be changing minute-by-minute. This allowed for us to keep our physician members armed with the most updated and critical information that was impacting them, their patients and their practice’s.
TEAM has a top-of-the-line events management team, so it was no surprise when the TEAM Meeting Managers were faced with the challenge of quickly reworking dozens of events they were able to do so methodically. By collaborating with the volunteer leadership of our clients, the TEAM meeting managers were able to determine the best course of action for each individual event. Whether that was rescheduling or converting the event to a virtual experience, the Meeting Managers were able to host successful and educational events despite the pandemic. In fact, our Meeting Managers continue to succeed in the world of virtual event planning with a virtual event happening almost weekly within the TEAM department.
In addition to providing valuable and vital online education and networking to our members, our Meeting Managers have been able to develop unique sponsorship and exhibit opportunities for our corporate sponsors. These opportunities have been designed to be attractive and beneficial to our corporate sponsors, which allows for our client’s non-dues revenue to continue increasing despite the economic turmoil the pandemic has imposed on almost everyone.
Information and Updates
Many TEAM clients are medical-based organizations, as a result, the communication for these groups are vital to ensuring our member physicians are up to date on the fast-paced changes surrounding COVID-19. TEAM staff collaborates with national organizations and the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) in supplying timely and crucial information during this pandemic. This adds value to our managed association’s and positions many of them as leaders in their specialty during the pandemic.
Ultimately, things will continue to change as the pandemic continues to run its course throughout the world. TEAM is ready to take on any challenge that the pandemic or anything else presents us for that matter. TEAM staff continues to welcome the adversity with open arms and will always strive to serve our clients to the best of our ability – whether that be from our office or from our dining room table. Learn more about what TEAM can do for you at www.winwithteam.com.
An Association Management Company (AMC) is a for-profit business that manages associations to help them succeed. AMC’s like Total Excellence in Association Management (TEAM) offer the expertise, staffing and resources that allow professional societies and trade groups to effectively manage day-to-day operations and leverage foresight to advance their long-term goals.
An AMC’s staff members are experts in their specialty. TEAM is staffed by experienced executive directors, meeting managers, marketing and communications specialists, lobbyists, and membership service specialists. Organizations who hire TEAM for their full suite of management services are staffed with experts in all those fields. These experts seamlessly work together to guide organizations to their ultimate potentials.
By working with an AMC like TEAM, your organization's leadership no longer must be concerned about the cost of managing employees, HR issues, and other liabilities that come with managing your association as a stand-alone organization. TEAM expertly manages your organization’s day-to-day while also working with your volunteer leadership to focus on strategic plans and goals that will contribute to your growth.
According to the Association Management Institute (AMCI) since 2008, associations and societies choosing full-service management solutions grew by 300 percent. This is likely because AMC managed associations experience more growth in net assets and net revenue regardless of size and tax status (Association Management Institute AMCI)). Hiring an AMC like TEAM will save your organization money. Flat fee pricing with one management company is not only cheaper than outsourcing these services individually, but by contracting for all of your management services with one company you will receive cohesive and timely management from a team of experts who work together daily.
Another huge benefit to working with an AMC like TEAM is a lower cost for the most current and cutting-edge technologies. TEAM is constantly looking into the latest technology to improve our client’s ability to grow and serve their membership. AMC’s like TEAM can bulk-purchase technologies and utilize them for all our clients. By doing this, we can provide our clients with the most affordable but top-of-the-line tech.
If you are still hesitant to hire an AMC and want to learn more about our services, please visit our website at www.winwithteam.com to learn more about how you can win with TEAM!
As association management professionals, we all know the influence our organizations can have on an industry and the value we can provide our members. So, why is it so hard for organizations to recruit and retain quality members? This article will review key things to focus on to recruit and retain engaged and committed members.
Empathy - To recruit and retain members for your organization, you need to understand what is vitally important to your members. Do your members need continuing education? Do they need a voice in government? Find out their most essential needs and deliver solutions in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner. By catering your services to their most crucial needs you are proving your organizations value.
Return on Investment (ROI) – More likely than not, your members pay to be part of your organization. You should have a plan on how to not only demonstrate the value of your organization but also communicate your organizations value to the paying member. Having graphic member benefits charts on your website or on membership applications is a good place to start. Another suggestion would be to provide your membership with an annual update on what the organization did with membership dollars the previous year. By demonstrating your value through newsletters, events, lobbying, etc., and consistently communicating your value to your members, you will be reassuring your members that investing in membership with your organization was worth their time and money.
Foresight – Foresight is knowing what is coming down the pike and being positioned to give your members not only advance notice but also the action plan needed to navigate the future. We know you cannot break out a crystal ball and predict, say a global pandemic (if you do have a crystal ball, let us know because we’d love to take a look!). However, using foresight when managing an association does not mean you need to predict the future. Associations are sometimes slow to react to disruption and risk losing their value as a result. As a decision-maker in your association, you need to know how to adapt to disruption from the norm and help members do the same. Monitor trends in the government, especially if there is a bill that might impact your organization in some way, and have action plans in place to communicate changes to your membership, activate grassroots lobbying or higher level lobbying efforts if necessary. Knowing when vendor contracts end and shopping around for better deals on venues, digital programs, printers, etc., is another way of staying one step ahead of the game and proving your expert value to your leadership and members.
Camaraderie – Provide an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone! This does not just mean having a cocktail/social hour at your annual meeting for members to mix and mingle. Develop small volunteer opportunities for your members outside of your leadership to prove to your members that you value their input and contributions. Encourage members to submit newsletter articles or content for your organizations social media pages to give them the opportunity to let their voices be heard among their peers. Taking an annual survey of your membership and allowing for open-ended feedback will also allow for your members to feel part of something bigger. Finally, Facebook groups and members’ only forums allow for year-round peer interaction and collaboration and provide members with frequent interactions with your organization.
Overall, you should be actively proving your organizations value to every member. We often focus so much on communicating goals and ideas with our volunteer leadership, that the general member can be overlooked, and they can feel like their membership is not worth their investment. In order to retain and recruit engaged and committed members, you should be actively listening to your membership, working on providing solutions for their most essential needs, developing plans for growth while looking into the future and providing members with an inclusive experience.