Virtual meetings and conferences, and the technology used to host them, have progressed tremendously over the past 15 years. Yet, even with all that technology has to offer, not all associations have embraced online events.
We recently asked CVEP professionals from around the globe to share why their specific organization was hesitant to use online events. Are these responses surprising to you?
#1 Fear of the unknown
Fear is the greatest factor for many professionals and making sure that the amount of time and money invested will benefit members is of tremendous concern.
Cassandra, an association research assistant said, “My biggest fear is the uncertainty of all of the moving parts that are involved. It seems as if there is a lot to consider beforehand, such as having a budget in place, editing the webinar or event, and the need for a lot of supportive staff members to help facilitate the process. It feels overwhelming to think about, especially the thought of something going wrong with cameras, mics, presenters, etc.”
Technology changes every day and as learners demand new features, software providers are busy developing platforms that will meet current learner demands. With thousands of products available, fear of not knowing what product to use and having the time to create a high value product ranks high as a reason for not hosting events.
Cindy, a conference planner for the Navy, worries about her IT infrastructure. Restrictions, limited IT capability and slow approvals make hosting a virtual event challenging.
Additionally, while event coordinators are trying to learn all they need to know about technology, adding to the challenge are guest presenters and panelists who don’t know all the features of the technology. Many of the bells and whistles offered by the platform ultimately go unused.
Christine, who provides administrative support to a New York-based research and consulting firm, said, “The biggest issue holding back virtual meetings for us is coordinating all the technology.”
#3 Limited Resources – Staff and Budget
For associations seeking to host a combination of events from webinars to full online conferences, the concern about having enough resources causes anxiety.
Even for associations that have several employees trained to use the technology, there are often few who use it on regular basis causing some anxiety, which is feared will be reflected in the event production.
Catherine, a project assistant, said her organization uses several different platforms and lacks consistency with technology. This is especially challenging when there is a last-minute need for help with a virtual event, as it’s often difficult to find someone who knows their “platform-of-the-moment.”
Many association leaders expressed concern over the amount of staff it would take to create a high value product for members. Associations, like any business, are challenged with personnel turnover, and investing in training employees or adding more duties to an already stretched smaller staff is a concern.
Dru, an association director, said for his association the biggest issue is alignment with everything else going on in the organization –branding, messaging, quality. Driving his concerns is the amount of coordination required when creating content, such as with external panelists. In these instances, the event’s success is reliant on the actions of others, and many event coordinators find themselves in a mad scramble to get everything lined up for rehearsals, the live event, and edited archived version.
For associations considering offering continuing education and professional development programs, the quality of the content is paramount to the success of the program.
Rosie, a meeting planner and assistant to a CEO, said her organization’s events require content to be written by experts in the field, which adds a whole new level of personnel needed to launch a program.
A few associations target different audiences, and struggle with identifying which audience would be most open to online content. Others have audiences that are not yet “asking for virtual events,” which has slowed the association’s leader’s support of launching them.
How can association leaders resolve these challenges?
Each of these important concerns can be addressed through the use of a Unified Learning platform with client-focused services and support. Click here to learn about creating a Unified Learning Program for your association.
Want to watch a free, short 30-minute webinar to see Unified Learning in action? Join the iCohere Academy for free and gain access to this ‘on-demand’ webinar and many others for free. Join the academy here.
Logon to the ‘iCohere Academy’.
Select ‘Courses & Webinars’.
Select ‘Delivering a Unified Learning Experience: Featuring Dr. Amanda Batson’.
Select “Click to View Archived Recording”.
*You may have to download ‘WebEx’ to view this. Don’t worry, it is fast and free.
Lance Simon is VP Client and Government Solutions for iCohere, the Unified Learning System. iCohere is celebrating its 15-year anniversary of successfully serving organizations, nonprofits and government clients.
Written with Jo Lynn Deal.