Attendance had been trending down before the financial crunch hit, so we knew we had to do something different. We conducted surveys and listening sessions and found that folks wanted three things: They wanted to begin and end with a major worship; they wanted training; and they wanted to conduct business as was necessary.

We previously had a lengthy time for reporting and the business session; we’ve streamlined the business to one afternoon, and reports are printed, with opportunities for highlights. Within smaller group settings, our missionaries deliver more information in a more personal setting.
We also purposely opened up time for them to have dinner and meet and greet others.

Ron Black
Executive Director
The General Association of General Baptists
Poplar Bluff, Mo.

We’re not entirely sure. We know a number of members can’t travel outside of their diocese confines. It has affected our national meeting by about 150 people. Our big conference is biennial and will be this November in Kansas City. We usually expect 18,500 to 20,000 people, but we’re really unclear what the impact will be. I’m not sure if it’s recession-related or not. We hear a lot about affordability of airline tickets. So in regions where people can drive to the national event, our numbers are increasing. In Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri, we had a very strong turnout.

To adjust for those who can’t make it, we’re looking into the possibility of webcasting. Recently our board tasked our staff with looking into opportunities in technology.

Maureen Gross, CMP
Director of Meetings and Events
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry Inc.
Washington, D.C.

We are having to rethink our strategy. We’ve typically held our annual meeting out West because it’s in March and it’s cold here. But the last meeting was in St. Louis. Because many members live nearby, it was so successful and so economical that we probably will want to continue to meet regionally. We were pleasantly surprised with St. Louis; temperatures were around 75 degrees.

We also believe that our programming this year was very appealing and attracted more people.

Also, all site visits were within a reasonable driving distance, and our member organizations orchestrated transportation to and from the hotel, so we saved a bundle in expenses. Because St. Louis was a success, we’ll be looking at it again for future meetings (or cities nearby) until the economy shifts for the better. We’ve also moved our board meetings to Cleveland. A lot of people are here, and they are saving money on flights.

Shirley Nelson
Vice President for Operations
Faith-Based Leadership Institute Coordinator
Council for Health and Human Service
Ministries - United Church of Christ

Our numbers are down, partly because of the airlines and just in general people can’t afford to travel, especially in the non-profit sector.
We’re doing what we can as far ad financial assistance. Negotiating better rates with hotels is easier now and we’re trying to help out members with expenses.
At our annual event last month we had 400 people; before we would have expected 600.

Sue Espinosa
Events Coordinator
Spiritual Directors International
Livermore, Calif.

For us it has helped because the hotels are able to give us better prices, because corporations aren’t filling them. My main responsibility is for two major events and we are booking for 2010 and beyond at better prices than in three to four years. We were able to book with one hotel for five years.

Sandra Palmer
Women’s Ministry Director
South Texas District Assemblies of God
Houston, Tex.