What to Do When Your Most Valuable Benefits Are Boring

Guest Author: Amanda Lea Kaiser


Uh Oh! Some of our most important benefits and sources of revenue might not always be that engaging to members.

We asked the participants of the Member Engagement Labs to weigh in on which association benefits were the most engaging, but today, we’ll focus on the least engaging items on the list, such as research reports, sponsors, and exhibitors.

Research is super valuable, and the results can be a game changer for your members—expect these reports can’t change games if members don’t read them. So, the participants of the Labs dove into how to make this valuable benefit more engaging.

Here are some of the highlights that your colleagues came up with:

  • Make it scannable.
  • Highlight impact factors.
  • Reference a surprising finding.
  • Embedded videos in the report, or infographics.
  • Explain “the why” and how the results relate to the reader.
  • Shorter vs 120 pages of stuff. Or even a one-pager! (then link them to a platform like Dynamic Benchmarking where they can filter the data to get results that are applicable to their situation.)
  • Include outcomes and recommendations—also milestones to achieve along the way (the best practice might be too big, too difficult, or too expensive for many members to focus on immediately).


What about sponsors and exhibitors (notice they landed to the far right of the chart as well)? We rely on them for some serious 💰, and want them to get a ton of value for their sponsorship (or exhibitorship). It’s worrisome that most sponsor and exhibitor initiatives might not be engaging to members.

Again, your colleagues have your back with ideas you can build on:

  • Less sales, more engaging.
  • Try a sponsor/exhibitor reception.
  • Walk them to key audience members to meet/shake hands.
  • Pre-conference programming that is just for sponsors (and maybe exhibitors, too.)
  • They need to be a part of what they are sponsoring and humanize the sponsor so it is not just about the company.
  • What about a sponsored webinar or a meet-and-greet cocktail hour with appointments at registration for the event?
  • Directly address their needs. Ask about their strategy. Based on their plan, you can offer three easy options.


One blog reader told me about something super special she does for sponsors and exhibitors. The first day of the event is just for them. There’s education and time for connection just like any other day at the conference, except it is a special sponsor/exhibitor-only day. During that day, they settle in, create relationships, and experience the conference culture. On the second day, when the attendees arrive, sponsors and exhibitors are ready to welcome them and pass on the special and unique vibe.

Have you got a less engaging benefit? How might you redesign it to make it super engaging?

About Our Guest Author

Amanda Lea Kaiser is a keynote speaker and author of Elevating Engagement: Uncommon Strategies for Creating a Thriving Member Community. Through her research, Amanda is at the forefront of exploring how member and attendee engagement is rapidly changing within professional communities.

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