Webinars the new normal

After two years of only online events, the local organization where I volunteer is starting to check with attendees on how they feel about returning to in-person meeting. The results aren’t I as expected. Only around 20% would consider attending in-person providing the specific topic being presented is interesting enough for them.

Before the pandemic attendance was about 80% in-person and 20% online. Two things have happened. 1.) We lost the older attendees who wouldn’t consider online and have no way to contact them. The organization headquarters use to snail mail information for the events. That was discontinued because of cost. Even if we were given access to the mailing list, our local chapter doesn’t have the finances to cover the cost of printing and snail mail. 2.) We have attracted different attendees that are younger and some aren’t local. This is good but unfortunate that we lost our long term attendees.

I have to admit that it is far easier to host events when all that is necessary is to login and setup the presenter than get up at 6am to get ready, drive to the event location, help with setup and registration, assist with clean up, reconcile cash, deposit checks and cash, and then report the results. Income has dropped significantly but so have expenses. I’m good with the new normal.

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I belong to two clubs with a common interest. One is local and holds 9 monthly meetings on Thursday evenings - summers off. The other is state wide and holds one all day meeting on a Saturday in March.

The local club has held the same meetings, but online. I haven’t attended any of them. Some of the talks would certainly have been worth it, but somehow I just don’t get around to tuning in when the day comes. When I was attending in person I would eat at Chipotle on the way there - an incentive to go - and made maybe half the meetings. For the last few years before the pandemic those meetings were held at a nice adults-only retirement place with great facilities. A few club members live there. I question whether they will ever welcome a crowd of strangers again. The good news is that the May meeting, which I missed, was the return of the annual banquet at the same facility as before, a place that mostly hosts weddings.

The state-wide group has been holding seminars on specific topics online, with the number of such at least as high as before and perhaps a bit higher. I really miss the annual meeting, where I got to socialize with a much broader group than the local club. They were held at a community college, and we were quite welcome because part of their mandate was to serve the community that way. It has been the organization’s major fund raiser with raffles on donated items such as art, books and equipment. I am told the organization’s finances are alright, but that can’t last forever.

Yep. I’m a member of the board of a nonprofit org in Detroit. Yesterday, we held our first in-person board meeting in more than two years. We did it over lunch outdoors on the uncrowded patio of an Italian restaurant. A beautiful late-spring day. We all loved being together in person once again.

But I suspect that another group I belong to will continue to hold most (or all?) of its monthly meetings via Zoom. Online meetings save hours of travel time, gas money, and other hassles–which is why I bought a bit of Zoom shares during this tech selloff.

I am told the organization’s finances are alright, but that can’t last forever.

For now the finances are good. We still have expenses for the website, meetup and Zoom but they are far less than printing handouts (which we won’t be continuing) and location rental. Donations for the main events have been sufficient to cover those expenses.

We use to hold the discussion groups at a local restaurant. Their meeting room is now heavily booked with other groups. It’s too late to go back to that location especially since the number of people willing to return to in-person meetings is so low.

" unfortunate that we lost our long term attendees. "


If it is “unfortunate”, why did you choose to not spend the money to keep in touch?

Howie52
Y’all made a choice to “lose long-term attendees”.
You may choose to contact them if you choose to spend funds to do so.

I have dropped subscriptions to newspapers and magazines because they choose to not supply
news of the day or deliver a magazine. They decided to not provide a good or service to me.
They may do well or fail - but they chose to change their way of doing business.
I find other ways to get by with alternative or lesser service.

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Y’all made a choice to “lose long-term attendees”.
You may choose to contact them if you choose to spend funds to do so.

Not really a choice, we don’t have the funds. Headquarters was paying for the mailings and they have cut costs by ending snail mail. Even if we did have the funds the local chapters don’t have access to the mailing lists.

I have dropped subscriptions to newspapers and magazines because they choose to not supply
news of the day or deliver a magazine. They decided to not provide a good or service to me.
They may do well or fail - but they chose to change their way of doing business.
I find other ways to get by with alternative or lesser service.

We were forced to change and that’s life. Their choice was not to accept change and that is their choice. Many would have had email addresses on file with headquarters and would receive email notices. Again, we have no way of knowing. We didn’t ask about membership in the national organization or force attendees to pay for membership.

I am grateful to have a “lifetime” subscription to one printed magazine I enjoy. Others have stopped publishing altogether. Some organizations to which I belong went to Zoom; I tried for a while, but it wasn’t the same, so I sort of drifted away – as have many others.

This Covid thing has only just started to change our ways of life. How many companies will perish? How many rental properties will fail, when companies find they no longer need to pay rent, heat, etc.?

So many changes in our lives! We’re so happy to be retired in our home on this ridge, and that we no longer have to concern ourselves with commuting to/from jobs!

Vermonter

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“This Covid thing has only just started to change our ways of life.”


The problems with newspapers and magazines has little to do with Covid.
Has a lot to do with the costs of paper and the cost of distribution.

Barron’s simply stopped delivering their weekly paper to us - and reading the articles on-line
is not something I enjoy. The paper was not delivered for 5 weeks straight - every week I called
and complained. Every week their “customer service” claimed they would pass the problem up to
their distribution managers - and every week there was no paper.
They simply did not care.

The local newspaper did not cover local news or sports anymore - they did not care. Even the
obits were days old.

Howie52
When businesses stop caring about their products and the service, they begin to become non-relevant.

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I think a lot of those big office buildings need to face up and convert to housing units…

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This Covid thing has only just started to change our ways of life.

It starting changing in March 2020. Much of what is going to be lost is already gone. This reminds me of people who complained when Borders bookstores went under - too many going to look at books but buying from Amazon. If there’s something you want to survive, support it and get others to do the same.

In my area, many, many companies are moving here or opening offices here. Some from Australia and New Zealand because of the outdoor recreation opportunities.

Print magazines and newspapers were headed out way before Covid hit.

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I think a lot of those big office buildings need to face up and convert to housing units…

Depends on the location. There will be vacancies as companies shift to some part time remote employees but there is always vacancies following a boom/bust cycle. Within a few years, the business floorspace is again occupied.

I think a lot of those big office buildings need to face up and convert to housing units…

The problem with that is that some downtown business districts in cities do not have all city services i.e. no local elementary schools. The ones in the suburban sprawl were zoned commercial and have similar issues.

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The problem with that is that some downtown business districts in cities do not have all city services i.e. no local elementary schools. The ones in the suburban sprawl were zoned commercial and have similar issues.

That could be worked out, dedicated floors to heath care, day care, grade school, high school, even college course, vertical towns… Maybe even bridges between other buildings/towns, no need to hit the streets… Many have connection to mass transit already, so there are many options…

But there will be resistance. Simple mass transit here in the North Bay, in the SF Bay Area was fought. When BART went in, the local NIMBYs fought it, won the early rounds, and many decades later we finally have light rail up this way, but still not connected to BART as it should have been.

Just need better leadership that isn’t out to line their pockets, instead of improving the situations…

That could be worked out, dedicated floors to heath care, day care, grade school, high school, even college course, vertical towns… Maybe

Insurance is an expensive issue. Having children gathering in a property close to a business is a risk that raises insurance for even for light industrial.

Having businesses near housing also causes issues with residents.

Mixed usage isn’t as easy as it appears.