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How to Troubleshoot for Your Association’s Next Event

‍There are many ways to prepare your association’s events for problems, but these are a few tips your association can incorporate into its event planning strategy.

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It’s association event season, and just like Spring - excitement is in the air. Chances are, your association is scrambling to plan and execute its big events and conferences for the season. And we know how important events are, not only for your association, but for its members too.

Sometimes, problems can arise at events. Whether it’s lack of attendance, missing guest speakers, or unsatisfied attendees, events can come with a variety of setbacks. With all of the responsibility and coordination that goes into events, your association shouldn’t have to worry about solving problems on the fly. If you want your event to run smoothly and your attendees to be happy, you need to come with a plan. According to Bizzabo, 50% of marketers say that their organization is “very committed” to planning live events. That’s right- over half. And when you plan for your events, you need to make sure you prepare for problems.

So, where should you start? Troubleshooting at your next big event can save you a ton of time and hassle in the long run. So, your association needs to know what to look out for when planning for potential issues at events and conferences. We understand the overwhelming process of event planning, and we’re here to make your problems a little bit less problematic. Here’s how to troubleshoot for your association’s next event.

Start at sign-up

All events start with the sign-up process. Think about it, without attendees, your events wouldn’t have a purpose! When it comes to sign-up, your association needs to make sure everything is in tip top shape. This means ensuring anyone interested in your event can easily find and register as an event attendee. To do this, there’s a few things you should consider.

When troubleshooting your event sign-up process, you first need to think about proper organization. Does your association have a designated online sign-up form? Or do you send out multiple ways to sign on to events? We recommend keeping your sign-up process limited to one easily accessed sign up web page. With over 3.5 billion people an active online user, keeping your sign-up page online is your best bet. With online registration, you want to make sure your association’s sign-up page stays up and running. Take the time to schedule regular inspections and updates to ensure audiences don’t run into a problem when trying to register. Having online sign-up is great, but you also need to make sure attendees can register at the door too.

Offering onsite registration gets rid of the chance of having upset members who wanted to register sooner, but didn’t get a chance to. By allowing members to register the day of the event at the door leaves everyone happy and excited to attend. Taking precautions from the very start of the event process can help your association’s event stay on track as well as ensure it gets the attendance rates it deserves.

Create a schedule for event volunteers

Having event volunteers is great for associations who need a lot of hands on deck, but have a limited budget. But without a plan for those volunteers, their help could turn into mass confusion. The day of any association’s event is a chaotic and stressful time. That being said, you don’t want to run around trying to figure out where to place your volunteers that same day. This is why creating an event schedule for your volunteers and event team is great for avoiding stress. A schedule ensures every single person working your association’s event knows where they need to be and at what time. So, if you’re considering creating a schedule for your event volunteers, here are some tips.

You should create a schedule that’s realistic and easy for everyone to navigate. You want your volunteers to understand their role at the event. However, you also don’t want to overwhelm them with work. To combat any long shifts, consider making a schedule that rotates volunteers. You can give them different jobs and have them switch stations every hour or so. For example, one volunteer can start the morning helping event attendees find their name tags and badges, and then switch in the afternoon to a different duty. This not only takes care of overwhelming tasks at long hours, but it keeps volunteers interested and engaged.

Finally, you want to make sure to give your volunteers scheduled breaks. You don’t want to deter them from working future events. Allow them to take a break now and then to get food, rest their legs, or even enjoy the event! With a volunteer schedule, your events will run a whole lot smoother. This will give your association more time during the day of the event to worry about keeping attendees satisfied.

Keeping communication up

Without proper communication, your association’s event can get lost in translation- or lack thereof. You want to keep communication between your association and its event attendees at an all time high. This can counteract any problems that would have come up from lack of engagement. So, what are the best ways to reach out to audiences and engage with them before, during, and after your event? Let’s start at the beginning.

Before any event, it’s crucial to keep members in the loop on any updates and/or features they might be interested in. Increasing communication can in turn increase the rate of member engagement, possibly encouraging more members to attend your event. Consider sending out announcements within your association’s monthly newsletter. Or, send out email announcements to members and include your association’s event schedule.

During your event, communication is still essential to troubleshoot any potential problems. And what better way to keep communication channels open then to turn to social media. Your event should have a specialized hashtag or social media section for attendees to reach out. You can check out more of our social media event ideas in our networking event ideas for young professionals blog post.

And finally, the communication shouldn’t stop after the event. Your association just made a bond with its event attendees. Leaving them out in the cold after the event is over can cause problems for your association’s future engagement rates. Creating a post-event survey can help fill the gap between your event attendees and their event experience.

A post-event survey allows your members and other event attendees to share their honest feedback about how your event went. This can help your association prepare and solve problems for any future events. Keeping constant communication every step of the way takes care of any problems that could occur from a lack of engagement.

Send out a huge thank you

Once your event has come to a close, it can be easy to pack up shop and take a break. But before you do that, you need to make sure credit is given where credit is due. Make sure to send out a thank you letter (or email!) to all of your event sponsors, volunteers, and anyone else deserving. Let your help know how much they are appreciated; You don’t want their help to go unnoticed. Looking for a more personal way to say thank you? You can try sending out hand written thank you letters. Or, you can pick up the phone and make a call. Don’t let your event’s problems be a surprise for your association.

There are many ways to prepare your association’s events for problems, but these are a few tips your association can incorporate into its event planning strategy.