As an association management company, we set up board conference calls, committee zoom meetings, community forums, online education sessions, and, of course, webinars. All this nonpersonal interaction is certainly efficient and money saving. These contemporary forms of getting together will continue to thrive for all the reasons we know. But I guess you already know where we’re going with this. Yup, nothing beats a hug.

Let’s think about the associate members. Those are the vendors and suppliers for an industry who what to keep in close touch with their customers and potential customers. In person events are a sure way to do that. And, make no mistake, they are willing to pay for that benefit.

My business associations would not exist without sponsorship. Pick an industry, any industry and you’ll find there are banks, insurance companies, investment managers, equipment suppliers, manufacturers, printers, uniform suppliers, media companies, search firms, and so many more, who serve your association members. Or, would like to. In person opportunities are of immense value to your associate members and they will reward the opportunity for interaction with ongoing membership.

It’s pretty hard to have a cocktail mixer by internet. Virtual handshakes and warm hugs with colleagues you’ve known for years are simply the way groups have grown since a few cavemen sat on logs around a fire. They didn’t call it event management back then.

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