What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on association events? In this December’s Pulse Poll, we asked association members to reflect on their experience with in-person events pre-pandemic and the value they bring to an association’s membership.

December Pulse Poll Questions and Results

How many live or in-person events held by your association (conventions, conferences, seminars, networking events, etc.) have you missed this year due to COVID restrictions?


According to our data, the average number of events in a given respondent’s network is 7. That’s a lot of events to consider and choose from, and – as you’ll see further on in the survey – they’re an important aspect of connectivity and value to association membership.

In a normal year, how many of these in-person events would you have attended?


Respondents told us they would normally attend no less than three events in 2020 if they had the opportunity. This is a large number, clearly indicating in-person events are a critical aspect of association membership.

On a scale of 1-7, how significant are these events to you as a member?


The lowest recorded score for this question came in at a 4 on a 7-point scale. With an average score of 5.6 and a high of 7, it’s safe to infer that in-person events are a primary consideration for many association members.

On a scale of 1-5 (1 being very sad and 5 being very happy), rate how happy or sad you are that the pandemic has reduced or eliminated these events from your association membership this year?


With an average score of 1.6 and “high” score of 3, respondents exhibited a great deal of sadness that in person events were eliminated from the 2020 schedule.

Key Takeaways

If there’s anything to learn from this survey, it’s that members place high value on in-person events as part of their association membership. It’s a critical aspect of their membership and something they look forward to each year. In a year marked by isolation, we all yearn for connection. A clear takeaway for associations is to develop an alternative for their in-person events. Exploring digital events and developing new ways for member to connect and create meaningful relationships will be a key success factor for associations in 2021, even with vaccinations and a return to “normal” on the horizon.