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Lunchtime Links: Why You Shouldn't Cancel Events Due To Low Attendance

By / Dec 9, 2013 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Don’t give up on your events. Plus: Five companies that are changing how your members interact with online content.

It’s every event planner’s worst nightmare: The conference you’ve planned for months is finally here. But the attendees don’t show. Why you should never cancel your programs, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

The show must go on: Few things are more encouraging to association leaders than a well-attended conference or member event. But what happens when attendance is a disappointment? Should you consider canceling the program or scrapping it for something new? Not so fast, organizational consultant and author Frank J. Kenny writes on his blog. Kenny offers three reasons why organizations should never cancel events. For starters, he writes, whether you have the number of attendees you hoped for or not, you almost certainly did get some of your members to sign up. Those people are looking forward to the program. Some of them probably paid good money to attend and even rearranged their busy schedules to get there. Canceling would send the wrong message. Besides, your event still has value. As Kenny points out, you could shift gears by rearranging seating and creating a more intimate experience. Finally, don’t forget about your employees. “If the staff knows that you will cancel the event if only a few people are registered, it relieves them from having to put forth the added recruitment efforts,” he writes. And, if canceling is floated as a possibility, you might have to contend with that.

Engagement marketing: If you run an association or other nonprofit , you know how hard it can be to recruit new members and keep existing ones engaged in your mission. It takes continuous outreach—and marketing plays a major role in that. But, as Alec Stern, vice president of strategic marketing development for Constant Contact, points out in a recent post for the Nonprofit Technology Network, successful marketing in today’s content-driven world is more about engaging your audience and solving real-world problems than simply pushing out the same old message. “Great content and experiences make people feel connected to an organization,” writes Stern, “and when these connections happen on places like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, one-to-one conversations turn into socially visible endorsements for an association or nonprofit.” So, what does good engagement marketing look like? Stern offers several suggestions for leveraging your content; how to use your message to keep existing members, donors, and others informed; and tactics for recruiting new constituents. How does your organization use social media and other tools to connect with its audience?

Smarter media: It’s almost impossible to talk media consumption these days without discussing the many new and emerging tools companies and associations have at their disposal to distribute it. Forbes contributor Ilya Pozin details five breakout companies he says are helping audiences consume media in smarter ways than ever before. Among them: ThingLink, an online image engagement tool that allows publishers and brands to link videos, images, notes, and other features to images posted on the web; Soundwave, a new music application that tracks online listening habits; Kaltura, an open-source video platform that enables publishers to better distribute and monetize video content on the web; Circa, a new platform for delivering custom, quick-hit news items; and eFamily, a new social network built specifically for families to share content with loved ones. As your organization continues to develop content for today’s mobile user, is it keeping abreast of the latest developments? It should be.

What are you reading today? Tell us in the comments.

Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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