The Intersection: May 2014

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Going Offline: Commemorative Events are an Opportunity to Connect and Engage

It’s no secret that – like any relationship – a strategic partnership and a group’s relationship with its membership must be nurtured. While an increasingly digital world offers the convenience of quick and easy communication via email or social media, these communications are no substitute for the need to connect in person with those who support your efforts.

Taking the time to make that personal connection shows the value you place in your relationships with these individuals, companies and organizations. But, how does one connect in person in a way that is both meaningful and in line with your organization’s objectives?  Commemorative events—events that mark an anniversary or achievement—offer an ideal opportunity to maintain and grow the important relationships upon which your organization is built.

Aside from maintaining a personal connection with stakeholders, membership and/or influencers, events provide important benefits to your organization, including:

  • Attracting media attention;
  • Invigorating your membership to take action or advance your cause; and
  • Building and engaging new stakeholders and potential members.

Purposefully designing an event that can reap each of these benefits will help an organization achieve continued relevance, growth and engagement among members. This requires an event planning strategy that utilizes a team of people responsible for addressing each of these goals.

Attracting Media

Attracting media to your event requires some sort of hook. When answering the question, “Is my event newsworthy?” consider the following things:

  • The timeliness of the event with pertinent current issues;
  • The local impact of your event;
  • The presence of any high-profile individuals; and
  • The scale of your event’s impact on people.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list of media-worthy characteristics, it includes factors that are likely to draw media to your event. Be sure to note that if you’re holding an event that could be construed as controversial, you may consider discouraging media from attending. Media attention can have both positive and negative effects on an event.

Engaging Existing and New Stakeholders

Another important aspect of an event is to consider how you engage current and prospective stakeholders, as well members of your organization, in your efforts. Events can be a good way to “circle the wagons” and garner attention from people who are sympathetic to your mission. Finding ways to attract credible voices to your event is a good way to sway “fence sitters,” who may just need a little push. Remember, on average, a person needs to see a message seven times before it sinks in. Once you have your attendees engaged at an event, a mobile advocacy tool like CrowdEffect can make it easy for them to take action on an issue important to your organization, on the spot.

In this new age of digital advocacy, it’s easy to overlook the kind of face-to-face interaction that events provide. Taking the time to connect and to build relationships offline is still well worth the effort.

Going Offline: Commemorative Events

Justin Rouse

Managing Supervisor

202-772-6960 \