An expert in events gives advice for how to succeed in an ever-changing business climate.

The year 2020 saw the word “unprecedented” thrown around a lot, and rightly so. In the transition to virtual programming, associations had to be extra clever and resourceful when it came to meetings and events—the aspects of membership that had traditionally been contingent on the face-to-face. While it’s still unclear when it’ll be safe to return to in-person gatherings, there are ways to approach event planning now that ensure social engagement and avoid Zoom fatigue.

Jerome Bruce, the director of meetings and exhibits for the Association of Government Accountants, shared how his organization continues to adapt to ever-changing norms. “The tone that we want to project to our members is, ‘We’re still here,’” Bruce said. “That we represent government financial management, that we are continuing education. The AGA still offers educational courses and virtual conferences, they’re just in a digital format now.”

Personify conducted a survey of nearly 1,000 association members and staff in December 2020 and found that even when in-person events are safe again, only 15% of members want to return to mostly or entirely in-person events in the second half of 2021. Half of respondents said they would prefer mostly or entirely virtual events, and 33% wanted a hybrid option.

Following are Bruce’s tips for how to strategically plan for events while things are still virtual, with an in-person reality on the not-too-distant horizon.