To all the fence-sitters out there
The SA Events Council is an industry-wide coalition which unites 13 event-industry-related Associations with a unified voice. It comprises the broader events industry from conference, exhibition and events suppliers, to performers, venues, organisers and promoters, representing over 2,000 companies and over 50,000 professionals in the events industry. After only a few months of existence, the Council is successfully creating business and networking opportunities as well as educating and connecting stakeholders to provide for the success, professionalism and longevity of the entire South African events industry, particularly during the uncertainty of the global pandemic.
The benefits of coming together to support your industry seem self-evident. Yet, while the membership uptake from the companies within each sector is fairly strong, there is generally much lower penetration amongst individuals; arguably those with the greatest need for representation. Association membership drives are often met with the question “What will the Association do for me?” The simple answer is that both individuals and companies can achieve more by working together than they can if they work alone. Associations are not-for-profit organisations that exist to service the needs of their members – they ardently pursue the growth and development of the industry at large to the benefit of their members.
Some are more developed than others and can offer expansive education and development programmes as well as regular networking events but overall, the value lies in networking; sharing information, ideas and experiences and the fact that an Association provides a strong and unified voice for its members to achieve whatever their needs may be.
Perhaps it’s time to change the refrain from “What can the Association do for me?’ to “What can I do for my industry?” Associations tend to fail when their members are expecting miraculous outcomes without actually wanting to get involved. The most impactful associations are those in which members are actively involved in their Association’s direction and function and are prepared to give of their time, knowledge and strategic input. Simultaneously, committed board members and succession plans are crucial to an association’s survival.
The relationship between an Association and its members is a symbiotic one in which both parties benefit. The more each member contributes to the Association, the stronger it becomes, and the greater the value it delivers to the broader membership and the community in which it exists. Associations bring people and companies together within a shared community and create opportunities for people to collaborate in the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their work.
Recent months have highlighted the power of co-operation and collaboration within the SA events Industry as all the relevant Associations have come together to support the industry as a whole. The federation has drafted safety guidelines to allow for the re-opening of the sector, have tirelessly lobbied Government, opened the door to engagement with all stakeholders and rallied to draw attention to the plight of the Industry in the Light SA Red Campaign. The message is clear – together we are stronger and it’s time to give back.
How you can be an active member of an association:
- Attend all association meetings and networking events
- Ensure all members of your company receive the association communication
- Send regular news on your company activities to your association; new appointments, product launches, office relocation, charity drives and new clients.
- Follow your association on all social media platforms
- Share the news your association posts on your social media
- Tag your association in relevant social media posts that pertain to your industry.
- Alert your association of any issues or programs that would be valuable to all members
- Take pride in your achievements and participate in the association awards program
- Let your clients know about the association you belong to by adding the logo to your website, email signature, business cards, proposals, brochures as well as send clients relevant association communication.
- Register for association training programs and conferences.
- If you believe that your association should be doing something that they are not already, make sure you meet with a relevant board member to share your ideas.