The global association, communication and event management company surveyed 74 Brussels-based associations between September and November 2010.
When asked where they had seen the biggest decrease in revenue, 44% of respondents said their events had seen the most significant drop.
The findings have been published in a White Paper entitled Strategies for Tomorrow's Innovative Associations: Understanding the Challenges.
While the effect of the economic crisis has had a short-term impact, with delegates being more selective about which events they attend, MCI's research shows other factors, such as increased competition from the private sector, have also had an effect.
Anna Hedrzak, external relations manager, MCI Brussels, said: "Ultimately, in order to gain competitive advantage and strengthen the value proposition of their events, associations need to start operating like businesses, with increased focus on quality, innovation, sustainability and profits, which can then be re-invested in enhanced operations and increased communications outreach."
She added: "Associations should not forget that bottom lines are not only influenced by revenues but also by the cost. Secondly, associations should introduce new, innovative ways of driving their event revenues, such as new sponsorship packages or making event content available for non-attendees for a fee."
- 44% say events revenue has dropped significantly
- 22% are looking to improve their marketing
- 72% intend to increase communications to members.