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4 Reasons to Go Digital at Your Association’s Next Conference

Your association may have many reasons to ditch paper and take on technology to make its event and conference attendees happy. Here are a few of our favorites!

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Looking for a way to bring your association’s conferences into this century?

It might be time to ditch the paper and go digital. In today’s world, technology has taken the front focus of everyone’s attention. And going paperless has been the talk of businesses and organizations everywhere. It seems like almost everyone is looking for a way to take the leap and leave paper behind.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in the year 2016 paper use was already declining, reporting 10% below the average paper use recorded in 2007. And with our future only pushing us further into the arms of technology, it wouldn’t be a shock to see organizations go completely paperless and rely on digital in the near future. But what can your association do to jump on this trend and create a more environmentally friendly conference?

If you’re exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of paper your association goes through at a conference, we’re not surprised. Between event schedules, advertisements, speaker-related materials, maps, and everything in between, it might be time to take a digital approach to things.

That’s why we’re going over 4 reasons to go digital at your association’s next conference. It’s our hope that this article can convince you to take the leap into a paperless event and see where the innovation of technology can propel your association’s conferences. So, for those looking for a digital approach to things and to see less paper pushed out of the door at your conference, keep reading on.

Reason #1: The environmental impact

It would be almost shameful to not have the number one reason to go digital involve the environmental impact. That’s right, going digital allows your association to decrease the amount of paper used (and most likely wasted) at your association’s events and conferences. If your members rely solely on digital technology to navigate their way through your conference, you can create a conference that is less environmentally costly.

However, in order to successfully achieve an environmentally friendly conference, you need to make sure you cover all of your tech bases. For example, let’s say your association gives out paper schedules at the beginning of each conference. If you go paperless, how are you supposed to keep your attendees on track and organized? For this, you can consider creating a mobile app for your association’s conference.

A conference app is a great piece of technology that can help you keep all of the materials you would normally print on paper in one great spot. This way, members can digitally access any information or handouts they would normally get from your association. So, if you want a great excuse to be an environmental activist, going digital can help.

Reason #2: It’s on trend

If you’re an association that likes to stay on top of the latest technology trends, then going digital will give your conference the edge up with members. Forbes covers the impact of a technological shift in 2018 in a well written article about digital transformation. This article claims that a digital transformation for organizations is well on the horizon- and your association taking a hold of it could prove well for your event engagement. Think about it, members are always looking to keep up with trends. And they look to your association for the latest in industry-updates. If you can deliver those updates in a tech-savvy way that centers around the events and conference your members know and love, you’re already one step closer to increasing your event and membership engagement.

You can even incorporate these trends into your event by calling attention to them. For example, your first all-digital conference could have technology related theme. Or, you could market your conference as “the first paperless event” to sell your members on the idea of attending your environmentally conscious and tech-savvy event. If you’re an association that tends to air on the side of trends, then going digital could be what you need to update your conference and impress attendees.

Reason #3: It’s a reusable resource

Chances are, your association doesn’t keep the same old conference year after year. In fact, there are probably a lot of changes that go into the way you run your conferences- which means each year you have to update your conference materials. But with a digital strategy, your conference updates can be uploaded to a reusable resource instead of printing out all new materials (and having to get rid of the old ones).

As we mentioned before, if you’re an association that uses a mobile app for its conferences, you can simply update the app with each conference you have. This is also convenient for your members. With an app that constantly gets updated, they can use the app year round, giving them the information they need right on their mobile devices. Or, if your association uses an event website, you can keep your web pages updated with every conference. Have someone on your association’s team go in and regularly update your association’s online conference information when necessary. You want to make sure to stay on top of this information to avoid confusion with online audiences. After all, you don’t want them planning to attend a conference that already happened!

With a digital approach to your conferences, you can reuse resources in a quick and easy way that saves you the labor and cost of printing materials. And speaking of the cost...

Reason #4: It saves money

Your association works hard for the revenue it collects, dues and non-dues alike. So, you don’t want your budget going to waste to the cost of printing materials for your conference. When it comes to materials, the expenses can rack up faster than you’d expect. There’s a lot to be taken into consideration. There are labor costs, costs to print, costs to photocopy, costs to store all of the materials used at an event (think about the money spent on filing cabinets- not to mention the space they take up within an office!)But with a digital approach, you can save yourself both time and money providing conference attendees with all of the materials they need. If your association posts all conference materials on its website or sends them to members through an email campaign, it cuts the process and expenses of printing paper materials. It also allows members the option to print out their own materials, which is great for stubborn attendees who prefer paper to a digital approach. So, if you’re looking to cut back on your conference costs, a digital approach can help you save money in the best way possible.

While there are a wide variety of reasons to go digital, these are just a few of our favorites. Your association could have many other reasons to ditch paper and take on technology to make its event and conference attendees happy. No matter the reason, your association should take a digital approach to conferences into consideration when planning its next one.