Stepping Outside Your Association – Community Engagement

Stepping Outside Your Association - Community Engagement
Amy Sales, CMP

Associations provide resources, education, and connections that needed to be successful. In addition to providing communications programs and topic-specific committee work, conferences provide incredible educational and networking opportunities. Events tend to move around a state, region, or nation, allowing attendees to travel and explore communities. As associations plan their programs, consider taking the extra step of looking for opportunities for attendees to connect with the host communities and leave behind a positive impact. At Easter Associates, we implement some of the following methods.

  • Connect with a local foodbank at each annual conference.
  • Working with area caterers or restaurants to provide local flavor at programs.
  • Share a meeting room or exhibit space with a sister organization, allowing them to benefit from a reduced overhead and for your members to connect with an analogous organization.
  • Build in time for attendees to explore by providing a list of area activities. Connect with CVBs, or ask members who are from the community to share their thoughts.

Community involvement can go further. Consider the personal needs of your members and organize a group yoga session with a local yogi or community walk in the area around the host venue, or connect with a local organization that provides confidential support for people in recovery from substance abuse. Considering the needs of attendees, not as they relate to their industry, will benefit your attendees and perhaps your program. 

The work of associations does not always have to be directly related to the industry. By connecting your members with the community, associations can benefit both their members and the communities in which they visit. Our team has been finding excellent local businesses and long-term community partnerships for client events and activities throughout the years. If you are interested in seeing how community engagement will benefit your association, give us a call.