This issue features two associations — the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and the American Volleyball Coaches Association — that have grown their meeting attendance and membership in recent years, despite the economy. Here are five lessons I took away from their success stories.

Seek Out New Markets

Both the ADAA and the AVCA expanded their reach by going after people who never had been members. For the ADAA, which was made up of professionals who treat anxiety disorders, this meant tapping a new source — researchers. For the AVCA, coaches from large universities dominated the membership rolls, so the AVCA sought high school and club coaches.

Eliminate Obstacles to Attendance

For the AVCA meeting, most high school coaches and club coaches can't get time off during the week to attend and they have to pay their own way. So, AVCA put together a weekend package that invited these coaches to attend Friday night through Sunday at a reduced cost.

Add Compelling Reasons to Attend

The AVCA added competitions that attract top teams and players from around the country. Players come so they can show off their skills to college coaches. The coaches love it because they can evaluate hundreds of players in a short period of time.

Value Your Sponsors

The AVCA has moved its instructional sessions to volleyball courts that are in the exhibit hall. When the teaching time ends, the attendees are in the expo hall already and they visit the booths. Also, the AVCA has limited the number of sponsorships. AVCA's partners appreciate this approach, because it increases the value of their investment.

Increase the Frequency of Conference Reminders

Conceding that its members are focused on their careers, not the conference, the ADAA placed its promotions in front of the membership more often.

What are your best ideas for building membership and attendance? Your fellow readers and I would love to hear them. Visit, search this article, and add your comments at the end of it.