Meetings

Hit the Road: Using Roadshows to Bring Education to Members

By / Jun 16, 2017 (encrier/Thinkstock)

Instead of associations making attendees come to them, many groups are taking meetings and education opportunities directly to attendees. A look at roadshows and their benefits.

We’re about to hit the peak point of summer travel season. While some may opt to fly to their vacation stop, others may go the road-trip route to take in the sights and sounds—and get some local flavor—on the way to their destination.

But summer travelers aren’t the only ones seeing the benefits of a road trip. More and more associations are hitting the highway to bring their meetings and education programs—often in the form of roadshows—to cities and states where their members are.

For example, the Tennessee Medical Association hosted its TMA Summer Roadshow last month. The show—which aimed to help practice managers, healthcare administrators, and other medical office staff better understand payment reform and reimbursement—stopped in five different cities. At each location, attendees received a full day of education and earned 5.5 continuing-education credits for less than $200.

Then there’s the Alabama State Bar Association, which has held the ASB Roadshow since 1995. Members of ASBA actually reach out to the association and schedule the roadshow to make a stop at their office. Also worth noting: ASBA provides the continuing legal education at no cost.

Meanwhile, the Exercise Association of New Zealand is currently in the middle of its Roadshow 2017. From June 12 to 21, it is heading to eight cities around New Zealand to host three-hour workshops. The roadshow has two tracks: one for personal trainers and the other for owners and managers. For trainers, sessions will cover how to produce the best results for clients, while the owner-focused sessions will dive into website fundamentals and creating content that will drive engagement.

Roadshows are often both convenient and cost-effective for attendees, but I think they can also benefit the association hosting them. One benefit: The local stops can serve as testing grounds or informal focus groups. For example, an association could use a roadshow location to test out a new learning format or experiment with different speakers.

Second, roadshows could be a great way to recruit new members. If the education being offered on the road is current and relevant to the industry, nonmembers may be enticed to register. And getting them to attend a local event may make them more aware of your association and encourage them to become a member in the future.

Finally, roadshows could be a good place for associations to identify future leaders. When you get into your members’ communities, you’ll be introduced to new people and may find your association a new committee volunteer, chapter leader, or even future board member as a result.

Have you ever taken your association on the road? Let us know how it went in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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