Your association could potentially have members and even administrators in different cities, states, or even countries. With that distance and occasional disconnect, sometimes it’s hard to tap into all the resources you have at your disposal in your local area.
“But we have no local area!” You may be telling yourself. That may be true! But what about chapters? How about where your events are held? Even if you only have a few big events a year, capitalizing on the local area is a great way to make those events attractive, worth the cost, and inspire return visitors.
So how do you tap into the local charms that you can use to make your meetings and events more attractive and fun, plus gain local support for your association?
This one is pretty simple. If you want the city on your side, be on the side of the city! Share local events with your members and show up. Volunteer to help, and see if you can negotiate wearing an association T-shirt or keeping your business cards or a one-pager information sheet handy. They’ll be happy for the help, and you probably won’t be the only local business or organization volunteering!
Another great idea is a volunteer day. Call local parks and see if they have any volunteer programs or maybe a local sports team has a 50/50 raffle they support, then rally some help. It's great team building, an opportunity for your members to "give back" and an easy starter event for someone to coordinate who is just dipping his or her toes into association leadership.
If you and your members are unable to contribute time, perhaps there’s room in the budget for your association to contribute money. Often a monetary donation will buy you a spot in a program, a plaque, or a nod during a presentation. That could go a long way in local goodwill and your association’s publicity!
Get to know local relevant employers
Knowing the “bosses” of local employers relevant to your association is super beneficial for a lot of reasons. Besides having an inside track on hiring habits and openings, (which is bound to delight your job seeking members) you’ll also learn about company events that your association could be involved in. For example, if you find out that a local employer holds a volunteer day or company picnic perhaps they would be interested in your help!
Capitalize on green space, cool events, and new restaurants
Find out where the nice parks, the new, cool, and highly rated restaurants, and fun events. Then share that information with your members and event participants. It’ll save them the time from looking it up themselves and it’ll further connect you to the city by sending customers to local businesses.
Meet the press
Finally, you never know when you could be of use to the local media. Follow reporters on social media and engage with them from time to time. Ask around and see if any friends of friends are newspaper reporters or TV talent. Not only can the local news be great for publicity for your association but local journalists really do have a pulse on the community.
You’ll be surprised how much the local community can rally around your association and be true advocates for the work you do, even if they have nothing to do with the purpose of your association. Simply by being a good neighbor you’ll gain fans and cheerleaders for life!
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