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10 Best Practices for Associations Hosting Virtual Events

Associations are facing a lot of decisions with the increased demand for virtual alternative to in-person events. Among the choices facing association leaders is what type of event works for your members? And what is a fair price? The answers to these questions revolve around providing valuable content to your members in an engaging and profitable way.

Recently Community Brands hosted a forum for association leaders to discuss the successes and failures of their 2020 virtual events. Throughout the webinar speakers Simone Ryland, and Jesse Snipper shared best practices for putting on a successful virtual event, even if you’ve hosted one before.

Must Do’s for a successful virtual event:

1. Create a realistic timeline to select the right technology platform and prepare for the costs of a tech investment.

2. Schedule diverse speakers to promote inclusivity and representation of your members.

3. Personalize event messaging. Segmented lists allow for targeted messaging about event content and speakers. You can send course information to student members, for example, and session materials to registered attendees.

4. Offer live and pre-recorded sessions at your event for attendees in different time zones. Down time can be supplemented with on-demand content in-between live sessions.

5. Keep sessions between 20-45 minutes. Include sessions with socialization and networking opportunities to encourage attendee engagement.

6. Break up heavy content sessions with movement and game breaks to lighten the day. Gamification is a favorite attendee engagement option.

Find more information about event technology offered by Community Brands.

7. Information is key – provide materials in different formats for busy professionals to easily reference.

8. Share event calendars so attendees can schedule their days effectively.

9. Solicit feedback from all event participants in a post event survey. The best way to improve is to learn what did, and didn’t work for attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and volunteers.

10. Be prepared. Require speakers to attend a training prior to their session and have at least 2 speakers each session with access to the slide deck in case of technical difficulties.


  • ★ Plan back-up session with hosts on hand for last minute cancellations.
  • ★ Have a list of registered attendees, and exhibit email addresses ready to go for last minute communications.
  • ★ Avoid last minute changes or additions to your conference schedule to ensure everything has been vetted and everyone is prepared for what to expect when the event begins.

Virtual Events Lessons Learned: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Watch out latest on-demand webinar, featuring stories from the frontlines of virtual events- association professionals, sponsors and technology providers.

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