Gain a Competitive Advantage with a Workplace Wellbeing Program

In short, employees with strong wellbeing perform better at work, and companies with a thriving workforce have greater success and a solid competitive advantage. While that sounds simple, the reality is that life and business are complex, even more so over the past eight months. The good news is that savvy employers are stepping up, even with limited budgets, to make a positive impact on employee wellbeing through wellbeing programs. 

However, not all employers are embracing these programs. In a recent poll, when asked “Do you feel prepared to develop a competitive wellbeing program?” 63% said they were not prepared or unsure if they needed to be. Perhaps knowing the many advantages of developing and sustaining a thriving workplace culture will shift that response – and benefit those employers who make that shift.

So what are the specific advantages?
 They include, among others:

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A Destination’s COVID Response: Raleigh, N.C., is Readying for Groups

When tourism officials in Raleigh say, “Wish You Were Here,” they really mean it. This past August, Visit Raleigh launched a robust new recovery campaign centered around this very slogan. And the meetings industry is a key part of the destination’s strategy for success.

Raleigh’s DMO continues to increase its promotional efforts, thanks in part to a Sept. 2020 infusion of $1.25 million in CARES Act funds. The organization is using the additional assistance to promote the destination through a variety of channels, including marketing, advertising, and public relations, as well as strategic meetings, convention, and sporting event sales efforts.

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Creating a Unique Meeting Experience with a Puerto Rican Flair

“The island of Puerto Rico is rich in festivals, traditions, art, and music – but it doesn’t end there, the culinary scene is exploding, and mixology is a true art form.” From the soulful food to the hip-shaking music, the things that make Puerto Rico such a special place to visit are also what make it a captivating destination for meetings and events. Here are some ideas for giving your event a uniquely Puerto Rican vibe.

Farm-to-Table Caribbean Cuisine
Puerto Rican chefs have always taken a farm-to-table approach to their cooking. The island’s original settlers, the Taínos, used local yuca, corn, and peppers to craft dishes like mofongo and pastelón. Over the centuries, an influx of settlers from Spain, Africa, and Latin American countries have introduced new flavors and cooking techniques to the island’s palate, but the focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients remains the same.
Your guests can get a literal taste of the island’s history on a themed food tour. The Discover Puerto Rico team can help arrange experiences like a mofongo and mojito walking tour or even cooking lessons with a local chef. For an only-in-Puerto Rico experience, hop aboard the Chinchorreo Bus to visit some of the island’s best — and most authentic — food stands and kiosks. Your group will sample local dishes like fritters and fried plantains while enjoying an adventurous ride through the mountains and rainforests.

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Association Management: Online vs. In-person Engagement

As an association leader, you know the importance of engaging your members. How you communicate with members and the opportunities you offer directly impact their experience with your organization and the chance that they’ll renew.  With a dedicated and comprehensive engagement strategy, your member retention rate is much more likely to increase!

However, it’s likely that your more traditional engagements are on pause. As the global pandemic continues to keep many indoors and away from large in-person events, your regular member meetings and large conferences must either be postponed or pivoted to the online space.

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AMC Emerging Leaders

Dear AMCI Institute Members,

I'm Megan Woodburn, a board member for AMC Institute and the owner of Strategic Association Management in Austin, TX. In my board role, I have the honor of serving as the board liaison for the Emerging Leaders Task Force, a newly formed group for the Institute. 

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Tips for a Successful Virtual Strategic Planning Session

In the past few months, associations have found it challenging or impossible to hold in-person strategic planning sessions due to global pandemic restrictions. However, strategic planning sessions are essential for organizations to chart their paths forward, and alternative approaches must be explored.

Typically, strategic planning sessions require an in-person format and last 1 ½ - 2 days.  This year the pandemic has impacted travel, participation numbers, and engagement spacing.  A virtual format is the most viable alternative given existing constraints.

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AMCI Invites You to Participate in a National Association Environmental Scan

As part of the AMCI community, your firm is invited to participate in Looking Forward 2021; the nation's longest-running, most comprehensive environmental scanning research of the association business environment and the first association sector scan that takes the pandemic into account. 

AMCI is one of nearly 20 global, national, and state societies for association executives encouraging participation among
its membership in this research via the Association Laboratory Research Alliance. This is the 10th anniversary of this research, but the first time using the data analytics solution, Nucleus, for the dashboard of results. Nucleus is the official Data Analytics Solution for the Association Laboratory Research Alliance.

For the first time ever, individuals completing the survey will receive complimentary access to a dashboard of the survey results, giving you timely access to valuable data on the state of the association business sector and allowing you to compare your responses to those of your peers.

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Creating Successful Business Connections Virtually

Business as usual and 2020 are two terms that go together about as well as oil and water in today’s climate. To that end, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced associations to reassess the status quo of standard annual events. The Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors, a.k.a. “The Southern,” was no exception. Here’s how the 97-year old organization maintained the goal of its annual meeting and created virtual connections this past August.

A trade association representing convenience wholesale distributors in the southeast United States, The Southern’s membership spans from Texas to Virginia. Member companies have an annual gross revenue of $50 billion and represent nearly 50 percent of all convenience stores in the United States. In other words, The Southern means business. And its Annual Meeting is a place where business gets done.

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AH Helps Client the Insurance Society of Philadelphia (ISOP) Pivot During Pandemic

The Insurance Society of Philadelphia (ISOP) has a commitment to support the education and industry connectivity of future and early-career professionals in the insurance and risk management sector. In the last three years, the organization has exponentially increased its scholarship program, donating more than $100,000 in scholarship dollars last year to college students and young professionals pursuing specific industry education. This year, in lieu of the in-person annual fundraising gala, a respected Philadelphia tradition, the association pivoted to a new Un-Gala format, turning their scholarship fundraising efforts into a larger opportunity for high-level education and member connections.

Awarding scholarships has been an ISOP initiative for years, more recently the association's dynamic NextGen Committee has initiated programs for those coming behind them. This past spring, hundreds of students lost their opportunities to participate in a professional internship within the Philadelphia insurance community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ISOP’s NextGen board stepped up to coordinate a series of webinars over the summer, leveraging their professional networks and the ISOP Board of Directors to allow over 200 students to make connections with the region's most senior leaders in a virtual environment. Not only did the students appreciate the industry’s effort to pro-actively engage, many of them attended most of the program series and leveraged the presentations to make LinkedIn connections to local insurance professionals, and in some cases, securing employment.

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Taking the Work From Home Pledge

Although some AMCs had already made the move to a work-from-home environment, there were many of us that were unexpectedly propelled into this model because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Due to the nature of our work, many on our teams already had laptops with the ability to carry out their day-to-day tasks using cloud-based programs.  This was a blessing when the call came to quickly adapt.  But staff did not routinely work from remote locations except on a short-term basis (mostly during an annual meeting) which does not hold the same expectations as working 100% from home. 

Now, six months into the pandemic, we are seeing the benefits from the work-at-home model with many of us in the process of evaluating the future of our physical office needs.  However, with the speed at which we needed to transition to this model, we did not have time to put in place or communicate a clear list of expectations to our team for working from home. 

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Doing the Impossible

Beth Quick Andrews, CAE, Owner,  Q&A Business Solutions, Inc., and Greg Brooks, Executive Director/President, AMC Source

“It is kind of fun to do the impossible!”

Anyone who has taken a Disney Institute training program knows this quote well…Walt Disney uttered these immortal words many years ago and they resonate as much today as they did back then.

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Hosting Association Events Amidst a Global Pandemic: Adapting to New Health and Safety Standards

By Jonathan Strauss
Strauss Association Management

Since social distancing protocols were set in place, 2020 has seen association events cancelled left, right, and centre. As social gatherings are now restricted to small groups, we have seen hotels, convention centres and other venues prepare and publish new health and safety guidelines with the pandemic in mind.

In August, I hosted an online brainstorming session with several event and industry leaders of Manitoba. This brainstorming session welcomed guest panellists from Marriott International, Laura Pallotta, Regional Vice President, Sales and Distribution, Canada and Susan Saganski, Account Executive, Global Sales Organization, to speak on their company’s handling of event planning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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AH Client JPMA Fosters Creativity, Positivity and Kindness During COVID-19

The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is a client partner of Association Headquarters (AH). AH is a best-in-class association management company dedicated to enabling associations and societies to fulfill their missions, create value, and advance their causes, industries, and professions. AH understands association trends and best practices and has professionals experienced in management, meetings, marketing, non-dues revenue growth, technology, recruiting, finances, and more.   

JPMA has been working hard to educate and support our members, stakeholders, and other key players in our industry during COVID-19 and beyond. We aim to create an inclusive environment filled with kindness as we all navigate our new normal. Below are just a few examples of how we have been and continue to implement these crucial values.

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Fast Data Makes Educational Programs More Agile

by: Tracy Grzybowski
Director of Marketing

For years, organizations have been focused on the concept of “Big Data,” which is having access to a large volume of customer, operational, and financial data derived from a variety of sources. By cross-analyzing these different data sets, we can extract insights that help us make more meaningful and measurable decisions.

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6 Ways Associations Can Leverage Ad Retargeting Beyond Growing Event Attendance

By: Jeff Rose
Director of AMC Partnerships

There’s no sugar-coating it – times are really tough for associations. Between canceled or delayed events, sponsor and exhibitor drop-off, and other factors, many associations are left wondering how they’ll stay afloat in the coming months, let alone thrive. 

But here’s the key: instead of focusing on missed opportunities, shift your priorities and marketing goals to match what you can do right now. 

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Close to Home: Marketing a Destination Loved by its Locals

by: Bryan Douglas (BDS)
Assistant Director of Sale
Visit Aurora

Our award-winning chefs, craft breweries, mural walls, and Rocky Mountain vistas serve as must-sees for every visitor to Aurora, Colorado. However, travel restrictions and limitations on group gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the flow of convention, business, and leisure travelers to our destination.

As our team discussed the road to recovery, providing locals with the tools to explore their very own backyard became a reoccurring theme. Colorado’s third-largest city, Aurora, is home to hundreds of international eateries, craft beverage locations, and thousands of trails just waiting to be discovered. Along with the resurgence of the “staycation,” our new goal was to target Aurora residents with specific advertising content alongside fun things to do within the city.  READ MORE

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What is a Hybrid Event?

By Colleen Bottorff
Inbound Marketing Specialist, Memberclicks

If you’re starting to think about what events will look like in 2021 and beyond, you’re not alone. But it’s not so much a question of when we’ll be able to get together in large groups again, as it is a question of what the virtual side of events will look like.

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3 Tips to Streamline Open Enrollment in a Digitally Driven Environment

By: CBiz

HR teams and benefits administrators are being spread increasingly thin when it comes to open enrollment. Pivoting from an analog enrollment process to a digital one can substantially decrease the workload on HR teams, as well as increase effectiveness and efficiency. This is especially true in today’s increasingly remote workforce environment. Here are three tips to consider:

1. Check Your Employee Tools
As technology becomes more dominant in both the workplace and at home, employers should be using online and mobile enrollment tools more often. In fact, 66% of employers are now more digitally based than paper-based when it comes to managing employee benefits. Decision-support tools that are included in enrollment systems can be quite valuable, helping individuals and families identify the best benefits for them. Further, employees can get many answers from these tools rather than reaching out to HR, thus decreasing the burden on your HR team. Employers should also communicate cost resources and estimators that are available to employees. These tools provide an easy way for employees to calculate what their health care spend will be, depending on the plan selected, and give them time to plan for those expenses. 

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3 Ways to Engage Young Professionals

By Impact Association Management
First posted here

Many associations are facing the issue of watching their association gray out. They have recognized the need to grow their young professional market but are left questioning how to do that. It is not an easy task to grow any segment of your association but this is especially true for young professionals. Younger generations are not seeing the need as much to join associations and/or don’t have the money to put towards an organization membership. If you are ready to put in the work to grow your younger members, here are a few resources they might be looking for out of your organization.

  1. Resume guidance and building. One of the top reasons that young professionals join an association is to add something to their resume. Help them do more than list the name of your organization. Allow them opportunities to get involved in leadership or volunteering. In a more basic sense, help them review their resume! As an association, you likely have people who also fall into the age range of hiring their generation. Make this a benefit by providing a resume review and guidance program. 

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AMC Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement

Kristin Bennett, Founder & President of Nonprofit Resources &
Emma Bennett, Program Director of Nonprofit Resources 

The nature of Association Management Companies is to “fix it”. We roll up our sleeves and face challenges every day in support of our clients as they push their missions forward.  

After the death of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, many of us were quick to want to identify and fix the issue. . . because that’s what we do. We fix it. But RACISM. That’s more than an issue.  It’s more than a word.

As white women, we have not and will not personally experience the pain of racism in its many loud and quiet forms.  Because of this, it is our duty and honor to recognize our privilege and leverage it to the benefit of this important movement. We’ve had conversations with friends and family about how to apply privilege in our personal lives, but the scope has broadened. How can we apply our conviction to our company and those we serve as well?

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