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2021 Predictions: What Top Association Leaders See Coming in North America

Ayesa LubagMarketing Content Specialist

Ayesa Lubag,

Marketing Content Specialist

Feb 01, 2021

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many associations were forced to rethink how to deliver better results and improve membership engagement.

The crisis made associations to pivot, improve strategic decisions, and adapt quickly to technology to create value for their members.

If you are keen to know how to overcome the unknown for your organization to succeed this year, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are some industry predictions from top association leaders around the US who joined our webinar “Outlook 2021: Preparing Your Association for the New Year.”

The Rise of Virtual Conferences

We can predict that associations will be leveraging virtual conferences for members to share information and data in real-time remotely. These interactions minimize expenses and reduce the costs while increasing the opportunities for people across the world to attend. With technology, they can streamline a meeting, especially when it needs to be short, concise, and to the point.

Face-to-Face Conference With a Hybrid Component

People now have a variety of options to stay connected and be informed. Some listen to podcasts of legislators, top lobbyists, or industry folks. Most of these discussions focus on the workplace, economic development, and community in general. On the other hand, members are also interested in attending online conferences to have access to speakers. Face-to-face interactions are here to stay, but there are times when virtual elements will be part of an event. For this reason, we will see a rise in the number of hybrid events.

Allen Pratt

Knowledge Sharing Is Even More Important

Part of our goals is to deliver our organization's information accessible to all members. Therefore, running small meetings that we can share with people who can't attend a virtual conference will be the best way to go. While there's an exchange of information and ideas among individuals, it's essential to encourage knowledge-sharing to stimulate growth and increase social interaction. Also, association leaders and members will need to learn the importance of time management to accomplish goals within a given time frame.

John Toner V

Equity and Inclusion Initiative Development

Associations will have to do equity and inclusion initiatives to ensure equal access to information and create a culture of belonging to all members. For instance, the growth of online courses during a pandemic has been redefining learning. It’s essential to focus our efforts on incorporating some strategies to offer effective online learning practices to others continuously.

Online-Offline Event Convergence

We will start hosting smaller in-person events as people are more inclined to attend and engage easily. In our case, we can hold a five day-class online for two days and then conduct the other sessions in person.

Sharon Newport


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected and challenged associations in creating personal connections, increasing engagement, and determining the right model for events.

We hope the tips in this article will help your organization continue to thrive during and after this challenging pandemic. With thoughtful strategies and technological innovation, you can navigate your association to success.

Now that you know the predictions for 2021, we hope the guidance and insights from the best association leaders will help you stay on top of the emerging trends. Good luck!


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