Increasing Member Engagement Through Events: Part 1

By Najla Brown • April 17, 2024

Events hold the power to bring people together, catalyze conversations, and build momentum behind ideas. For associations, they are a crucial avenue to offer exciting opportunities to members and the industry at large, ensuring engagement and fostering growth. Whether conducted in-person or online, events serve various purposes, from promoting brand awareness to facilitating networking and professional development. Understanding members’ needs and motivations for attending events is paramount to enhancing engagement and ensuring the success of each gathering.

In the third installment of our Increasing Member Engagement eBook series, we focus on event best practices and strategies that can help your association elevate member engagement and enhance your members’ event experience.

Engaging Members at Events:

Before diving into event planning, it’s essential to comprehend what types of events members are seeking and how they can benefit from them. Members attend events for diverse reasons, ranging from networking to professional development and career advancement. Each member may have a unique motivation, underscoring the importance of catering to diverse interests and objectives.

Build a Stronger Community:

Events play a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community within associations. They provide opportunities for members to connect, establish relationships, and access valuable resources. Effective communication and engagement during events contribute to the strength of this community, encouraging active participation and collaboration among attendees. Creating a welcoming environment where members feel valued and supported is key to building a vibrant community around events.

In-Person Events:

Face-to-face interactions remain a primary driver of meaningful connections among members. In-person events offer unparalleled networking opportunities, allowing attendees to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones. To enhance engagement at live events, associations can consider various strategies such as facilitating private meetings, offering engaging activities, and providing opportunities for members to interact with industry experts and leaders.

Online Events:

Virtual events offer a cost-effective and inclusive alternative to in-person gatherings. They enable associations to reach a broader audience while accommodating diverse schedules and geographical locations. Leveraging technology, such as live polls and interactive sessions, enhances engagement during online events, creating a dynamic and immersive experience for attendees. Despite the popularity of virtual events, hybrid approaches that combine online and in-person elements can offer the best of both worlds, catering to different preferences and needs.

Pre-Event Engagement:

Initiating engagement with attendees before the event is crucial for building anticipation and fostering connections. Associations can leverage digital platforms such as apps and dedicated websites to facilitate early networking and interaction among attendees. Providing opportunities for attendees to schedule meetings, set agendas, and explore relevant content beforehand enhances their overall event experience and increases engagement.


Events serve as powerful tools for associations to engage members, drive revenue, and foster community. By understanding members’ needs and preferences, leveraging both in-person and online formats, and implementing pre-event engagement strategies, associations can maximize the impact of their events and achieve their member engagement goals. As the landscape of events continues to evolve, embracing innovation and adapting to changing preferences will be key to staying relevant and ensuring continued success.

Stay tuned for part two, where we unpack social media, campaigns, participation activities, post-event engagement and more!

To learn more about how events can transform your association, don’t hesitate to check out our free eBook.

About The Author

Najla Brown is a senior corporate marketing specialist at Naylor Association Solutions. Reach her at [email protected].