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Travel Alberta shows Thought-Leadership with the Engaging #Association Summit

On July 24-25, 2014, Greenfield Services will have its first major event for association executives.  The Engaging Association Summit will take place at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, ON, and will provide the opportunity for a true exchange of ideas for a new generation of association to succeed, grow and prosper.

Joining us as a founding sponsor and thought-leader is Travel Alberta, the province's tourism marketing organization, joined by some of its partners, Edmonton Tourism, Meetings and Conventions Calgary, and Hotels Red Deer.

As a thought-leader sponsor, Travel Alberta will be the leading partner for our Young Professionals Scholarship Program.  This program was designed with the emerging professional in mind, understanding their need and willingness to learn, but that their work schedule, and organizational budgets may not be able to accommodate every educational opportunity.

Our goals to increase education, networking opportunities, and connecting the leaders of today with the leaders of tomorrow was the perfect fit with the Summit”, says Jennifer Holly, Travel Alberta’s Business Development Director for Canada. “The Engaging Association Summit is perfectly aligned with Travel Alberta's commitment to associations and their business event needs, and we are thrilled to provide young professionals with the opportunity to join us!

When we approached Jennifer with the idea of the Summit, we were delighted to hear her enthusiasm in our efforts to create change.  Travel Alberta’s Thought-Leader Sponsorship will allow five Young Professionals  the opportunity to further their knowledge and understanding of key areas driving associations today,” says Meagan Rockett, Greenfield’s Director of Client Solutions.

About The Young Professionals Scholarship Program:

If you are 30 or younger, and are currently working at an association, you can apply by submitting a short video (up to two minutes) telling us WHY you are in the non-profit/association sector, what makes you tick about the work you’re doing now or hope to do in the future, and what you are passionate about.  When submitting the video, please include your professional contact information in the body of the email message. Entries will be shared online through Greenfield Services, and the Scholarship Sponsor, Travel Alberta.

Once we close the call for entries, videos will be reviewed and five entries will be selected to attend.  You will receive a complimentary Engaging Association Summit registration as a guest of Travel Alberta.  Travel to and from the summit is at the discretion of the participant.

The deadline is May 30th for entry submissions – winners will be announced Friday, June 13th.  Don’t wait – Apply today!

For more information about the Scholarship Program, or the Summit, please contact:

Meagan Rockett
Director, Client Solutions
Greenfield Services Inc.

Greenfield Services Announces Partnership with Advanced Solutions International


Greenfield Services and Advanced Solutions International Partner
 on the 2014 Pulse Report

Alexandria, ON, March 24, 2014 – In 2014, Greenfield Services will partner with Advanced Solutions International (ASI Canada Inc.), providers of iMIS, for the third installment of the Pulse Report, a study on Canadian Associations and their membership marketing and engagement practices.

We are thrilled to be partnering with ASI Canada this year.  The Pulse Report has become important research in the industry, and we have received great feedback about the  results since 2012.  Partnering with ASI allows us to increase its exposure and response rates, and we look forward to collaborating with them to educate executives on what the results mean for their associations”, says Meagan Rockett, Greenfield’s Director of Client Solutions.

The Pulse Report study this year will inquire about:

  • Organizational and Operational Structure
  • Membership Models
  • Membership Recruitment, Retention and Engagement
  • Social Media
  • Association Content

In 2013, the Pulse Report was titled “The Opportunities Beyond Our Grasp”, gathering data from 173 association executives in Canada.  Click here to review infographics on Goals and Objectives, Member Relationships, Membership Growth, and Social Media.

To download the full report, click here.

The launch of the study for the 2014 report will take place later this month.

For more information, please contact:
Meagan Rockett
Director, Client Solutions
Greenfield Services Inc.

Greenfield Services Inc. is a full service marketing firm dedicated to the needs of professional and trade associations.  Areas of expertise include Membership Marketing, Membership Engagement, Sponsorship & Exhibit Sales and Event Marketing.

ASI Canada Inc. is the Canadian division of Advanced Solutions International, a recognized global thought leader that focuses on helping associations and not-for-profits increase operational and financial performance through the use of best practices, proven solutions, and ongoing client advisement.  Since 1991, ASI has served nearly 4,000 clients worldwide, and currently maintains corporate offices in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

Partnership Announcement for 2014 Pulse Report


Greenfield Services Confirms Continued Collaboration with Smarter Shift 
for 2014 Pulse Report

Alexandria, ON, March 20, 2014 – For the third consecutive year, Greenfield Services will partner with Smarter Shift, content marketing experts, for the Pulse Report, a study on Canadian Associations and their membership marketing and engagement practices.

We are happy to have Mitchell and Smarter Shift on board again this year.  His insightful and meticulous approach to the study has gone a long way to produce a report that is valued by the Canadian Association industry.  In the last two years our study was quoted in articles across North America, and downloaded worldwide.  This continued collaboration shows our continued commitment to the association industry, and the challenges it faces everyday,” says Meagan Rockett, Greenfield’s Director of Client Solutions.

The 2013 Greenfield Pulse Report sparked articles on various aspects of association management, education and engagement.  Click to review our posts on Education or Networking as priorities, Disconnects on Member Retention, and Associations Scrambling to Do More with Less.  This year’s study will continue to address membership models, social media, association content, recruitment, retention and engagement.

To download the 2013 report, click here.

The launch of the study for the 2014 report will take place later this month.

For more information, please contact:
Meagan Rockett
Director, Client Solutions
Greenfield Services Inc.

Greenfield Services Inc. is a full service marketing firm dedicated to the needs of professional and trade associations.  Areas of expertise include Membership Marketing, Membership Engagement, Sponsorship & Exhibit Sales and Event Marketing.

Smarter Shift is an Ottawa-based firm that helps associations and other clients tell their stories more effectively and build enduring relationships with members, customers, partners, decision-makers, and other stakeholders. The firm specializes in content marketing, social media strategy and management, low-carbon meeting design, and conference content capture.

Big Trends Impacting Events in 2014

Lori Halley provided this guest post.  She is the Blog Writer (Engaging Apricot) at Wild Apricot, cloud software for small associations, non-profits and clubs. With a background in associations and non-profits, Lori offers tips and information to help the staff and volunteers of small organizations with day-to-day challenges. 

There can be a lot riding on your event. In fact, the findings from our Small Membership Insight Survey suggest that events are the second most important “critical source of income” for small non-profits and membership organizations. So whether you are planning a non-profit event or an annual membership conference, it might be helpful to take a look at some of the big trends that will impact events in the coming year.

To identify the top event trends, I read numerous posts and articles offering insight into the latest in meetings, conferences, tradeshows and events for 2014. (These included posts by Jeff Hurt, Barbara Palmer and Julius Solaris.) After reviewing these forecasts, here is my take on key trends impacting the events landscape.

Changing learning style

Research indicates that a peer-to-peer and hands-on learning formats are more effective than a traditional classroom or auditorium environment.  As a post on the AssociationsNow Blog suggests, you might want to try to create a “learning village”, with “decentralized learning formats where peers interact in smaller groups and more casual settings.”

Moving away from a solely “talking heads” format and looking at new ways of presenting information and encouraging different learning styles is particularly important if you want to engage younger generations in your events.  Millennials are particularly keen on a participatory learning style and want to be actively involved in the learning process.

This means that rather than having expert speakers talking at participants, events should start to incorporate, for example:

  • Discovery
  • Experiential learning
  • Bite-sized information
  • Interactivity

New networking opportunities that appeal to all generations

Networking with our peers is both a key reason most folks attend events and also why most members join organizations. Even web-focused Millennials recognize and embrace the value of face-to-face interactions. In fact, Jeff Hurt suggests that “peer to peer engagement before, during and after your event is critical to your conference success.”

But as many of the event trend blogs suggest, networking doesn’t always happen spontaneously in a traditional event or meeting environment. Event organizers need to find ways of creating a culture or environment for networking. This can be done through, for example:

  • Focusing on networking and “facilitating connections” – by allowing for breaks in between sessions to continue questions, discussion and knowledge sharing among participants
  • Offering gathering places – for networking and discussion of sessions (Check out the cool example of a meeting area or “onsite experience” included in Jeff Hurt’s 20+ Tradeshow Trends For 2014 and Beyond post.)
  • Including break-out areas and “pop-up” sessions as part of the learning structure
  • Virtual attendance – providing ways of connecting with and including those who are unable to attend to share in the learning

Technology-enhanced learning environments

We all know that technology is changing events and creating “a new normal”. Increasing use of Smartphones and mobile apps that enable remote registration and that help involve participants in your event are becoming the norm.  But embracing technology goes beyond mobile. Here are some trends you might want to consider incorporating into your events:

  • Live streaming and live slide sharing
  • Free wifi as “the new normal”
  • “Recharge stations” – that can also serve as community hubs (offering networking opportunities)

Behind the scenes changes for event organizers:

Along with all of the new technologies and ideas for the actual event, there are also some trends on the horizon for event registration and planning. These include:

Has your organization embraced any of these trends yet?  Are there any missed?  Let us know in the comments below.

@Deirdrereid Has Advice for Emerging #Association Professionals

I never expected to work in associations. Frankly, they weren’t even on my radar. But I was leaving one career and in search of another. I took an association job just to have some stability and income while I figured things out. Little did I know, back in 1999, what a rewarding and fascinating profession I was about to enter.

Looking back, I wish I had asked for advice. It took me several years to find my way. If we were to have a “learn from my mistakes” conversation, it would go something like this:

Never stop learning. You will succeed in this profession if you live to learn. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Don’t shortchange yourself. Make time for learning even if it’s on your own time. Your older self will thank you.

Be observant. Listen to and watch people. You have to understand human behavior, both individual and group, if you want to motivate, manage and lead staff and members.

Give yourself time to think. You need time every week to plan ahead, set and review goals, and let your brain work its way around challenges and issues.

Develop a DIY professional development habit. Set aside time to read association management blogs and publications, participate in Twitter’s #assnchat (Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. Eastern), and attend association events. If your boss doesn’t give you the time or budget to do these things, do it on your own time. Put aside a small amount of every paycheck, even if it’s only $10, toward professional development. It’s an investment in your future, just like your 401K.

Join your state SAE even if you have to spend your own money. You’ll meet a network of peers that could become lifelong friends.

Look for mentors. Find people in your office or at another association who are active in your SAE or ASAE. They might not consider themselves mentor material so don’t even use the word “mentor” around them. A conversation with them could develop into a mutually satisfying relationship.

Find association peers. If you’re surrounded by colleagues who are only there for the paycheck, don’t be discouraged. Don’t follow them down their boring, soul-deadening path. Find people either in your office or other associations who are around your same age and career level. Twitter makes this so much easier now. Arrange monthly meet-ups. Make them your mastermind group.

Make friends all over the building. Avoid eating lunch alone. Don’t isolate yourself in a departmental silo. Learn about the work your colleagues are doing. How can you help them? How can they help you? What member stories can you share? What can you teach each other?

Pause and reflect before reacting. Expect stressful times. You might start the day expecting to work on specific tasks and projects, but find yourself dealing with other pressing problems, issues and people that weren’t on your list. You will constantly juggle a variety of deadlines and demands.

It’s natural to react quickly and emotionally to these stressors – those same reactions save us in life and death situations. But in the workplace, you must develop the habit of pausing before reacting, and thinking rationally, not emotionally. It’s not easy. Yoga helps, but I don’t expect you to practice yoga as a professional development tool – although it’s not a bad idea.

Become aware of your reactions to your own behavior (self-judging), other people’s behavior, stressful situations and change. If you learn to pause and reflect before reacting, you won’t stress yourself out so much and you’ll be a positive influence on the people around you.

Don’t be a workaholic. Never put in crazy hours because you think you should, except, of course, for those special times in the meeting, magazine or budget cycle that require it. You and your brain need time off to recharge. You know the people who are always boasting about how busy they are and how late they stayed in the office? They’re not paragons of virtue to emulate. They’re doing it wrong -- “it” being life.

Never be defined by your job. If you develop that limited mindset, retirement will be rough. Yes, your job is a huge, rewarding part of your life, but it’s just one part of your life. Make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the relationships and experiences that add color and passion to life. Find people, causes and hobbies to love. You’ll be a happier and more interesting, creative person and professional.

Deirdre Reid, CAE is a freelance writer who worked at the National Association of Home Builders and the California Building Industry Association.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /