Meeting Planners and Associations – There’s More to It than Just Meetings!

Nonprofit OrganizationMeeting planners and PCOs organize and run meetings. That’s what they do!

Associations and non-profits also organize and run meetings – that is just one of many things that they do! They also have to manage their membership, such as signing up members, managing renewals and much more.

There are many association management systems in use that also offer event management functionality. However, most of these registration modules are afterthoughts – their focus has always been on the tools and processes to manage a membership. Event management in membership platforms is typically costly and lacks features found in more robust meeting management solutions.

Which brings us back to meeting planners and PCOs.

Many PCOs and meeting planners often work for associations and other non-profit groups. In many circumstances, the database of members and the database of event attendees can often be the same. Why not involve meeting planners in association and membership management?

There are many reasons why this is a fantastic fit for both…

Meeting organizers are in the business of working with members and attendees. Since meetings and memberships often share a common database, it makes sense that more and more associations and non-profits are engaging meeting organizers to help with membership management services. This includes functions such as renewals, new member sign ups, event registration, housing, travel and much more.

PCOs and meeting planners can grow their business without the need to dramatically increase costs.

Associations and non-profits can contain their costs by outsourcing membership management services as well as meeting management.

It’s a win-win relationship!

This synergy has not gone unnoticed by the event management industry. Today there are a growing number of event management platforms are expanding into member management services.

One company, Centium Software, has just released an integrated Membership Module as part of their award winning EventsAIR event management platform.

The EventsAIR team knew that many of their clients were already providing meeting and registration services to associations and non-profits and there was a need to add membership management functionality to the platform.

“Many smaller associations were asking our clients if they could also manage member signups and renewals,” said Alec Sonenthal, Director of Technology for Centium Software. “These associations are looking for ways to work more efficiently and save on their long-term operating costs.”

Mr. Sonenthal noted that PCOs and meeting planners are extremely excited about the new business opportunities offered by the new Membership module.

“It’s an ideal way for meeting organizers to grow their bottom line profitability without experiencing a significant increase in technology costs,” Mr. Sonenthal said. “Their same meetings staff can easily take care of the new services such as registrations and renewals, while maintaining all of the meeting management services they typically offer. It’s a fantastic way to leverage existing technology in exciting ways that benefit both the meeting planner and their association clients.”

Associations are also excited about the possibilities.

Many smaller associations and non-profits are under constant financial pressure to save costs and operate more efficiently. By outsourcing membership management services to a vendor they already work with, they receive a high degree of confidence and trust in the process.

Michael Rissien, a reunion event manager from the United States, recently started managing the membership services for several small non-profit clients.

“The experience for my clients is excellent,” said Mr. Rissien. They have access to all reports and member data at all times, and all fees collected onsite flow directly into their bank account, for just the meetings I run for them. Outsourcing membership management to me allows them to control their operating costs and saves them thousands of dollars each year by not having additional staff on their payroll.”

In today’s competitive market for meetings and events, PCOs and meeting planners are always looking for ways to improve profitability. Extending existing relationships into new areas while avoiding the need for deploying new technology is a proven and repeatable exercise that making a positive impact on the industry.

There’s nothing wrong with a win-win relationship!

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