4 WAYS TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR MEMBERS. Membership retention: something that’s at the back of any association professional’s mind. Marketing General Inc reports that over 50% of associations have reported an increase in membership over the past 6 years. With fantastic stats like these it’s not surprising that the industry is seeing to new associations that will pop up and competing for members…making it harder and more critical than ever to find ways of retaining your members year on year.

A term that has become synonymous with retention is engagement. In fact, engagement has become something of a mantra. Simply put, increased member engagement typically results in increased member retention.

In any case, all of this talk about member engagement and it’s impact on the all important member retention, got us wondering…what really is member engagement and how do we nail this thing down!? So, here are our top 4 tips to help you increase engagement in your association:


Your members shouldn’t just be an unrelated group of individuals;  membership in your association should signify a level of belonging to something bigger. Whether you have 100 or 100,000 members, there’s huge potential to leverage from them, and that’s community.

Benefits of belonging to a community include sharing of knowledge, supporting one another and creating business connections. These are all things your association can provide at individual level, but the real value lies in instilling a sense of community amongst your members and encourage this to flourish.

Offering networking and other social events for your members throughout the year is a great way to foster connections. Quiz nights, chapter lunches, sports tournaments, and wine tastings are all different, refreshing ways to bring your community together.

Harnessing digital technology is another great way to bring your members together. Private Linkedin and Facebook groups where conversations, support, and opinions are encouraged are a great place to start. Creating your very own Association app where members can connect in an innovative way that’s branded and crafted entirely to you and your association takes this to a whole new level.

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Government Conference Spending Guidelines Just Got a Little Looser

Government Conference Spending Guidelines Just Got a Little Looser. The Obama Administration has issued a memorandum. It loosens the noose around government attendance at conferences that has been in place since a crackdown four years ago.

It called for a 30 percent reduction in travel expenses through FY 2016. Senior-level review of all conference-related expenses over $100,000. And other restrictions that curtailed government officials from hosting, sponsoring, attending, and speaking at conferences.

While the freewheeling conferences of yore—remember the Government Services Administration’s excessive spending on food and beverage, entertainment, and frills that led to the crackdown?—are not coming back, the new memorandum issued by the Office of Management and Budget on November 25 streamlines the conference-approval process and lifts the spending caps that expired in September.

The update will limit the approval process to meetings that are sponsored or hosted by a government agency. Government officials seeking to attend or speak at an outside conference will be able to skip the wait and red tape involved.

The memorandum states that the new rules resulted from lessons learned during the past four years. And that, while controlling costs remains a priority, “Conferences play an important role in the Federal Government.

Therefore by enabling the sharing of knowledge among large groups, bringing together dispersed communities. Or providing opportunities for interaction, collaboration, and presenting cutting-edge work.” Scientific associations were particularly hard-hit by the restrictions. Which reduced the number of government experts available to speak at their programs.

Written by http://meetingsnet.com/author/sue-pelletier

Newly Launched: An Association for LGBT Meeting and Event Planners

Newly Launched: An Association for LGBT Meeting and Event Planners. A new meeting planner association designed to facilitate networking and growing business relationships for the lesbian, gay, and bi/transgender meeting professionals community.

The Philadelphia-based organization, called the LGBT Meeting Planners Association, or LGBTMPA, aims to bring together in one place members of the various groups that serve the LGBT travel and planning communities.  Including the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and Community Marketing; and the LGBT subgroups within meeting planner associations such as the Professional Convention Management Association and Meeting Professionals International.

In a post on the PinkBananaBiz.com and LGBTNewMedia.com blog, organizers note that these organizations and association subgroups already draw together at informal meetups and formal gatherings at existing industry events, and that these organizations have been adding more education at their events to provide information on how to work more effectively with the LBGT meeting marketplace.

The new group’s mission statement reads. “We have created the ideal marketplace for LGBT event planners and meeting planners. As well all of their industry contacts to meet, discuss and grow relationships.

Our main goal is to build business for the LGBT community.” The organization has applied for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt status. It also is still in the process of building out its internal staff structure and board of directors.

To further its mission

LGBTMPA’s inaugural mid-Atlantic conference will be held this fall in Atlantic City. Posted Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Banana Media, on the blog.  While setails are still being worked out in terms of dates and venue. “The programming at this event will include interactive seminars about LGBT meeting best practices, as well as explore market opportunities, research, and trends.

Marketing strategies will be discussed as well as revenue generation tips, industry innovator panels, and more,” wrote Skallerud. The organization also plans to offer a directory of resources and a video library.

In addition to the LGBTMPA website, you can learn more about the organization on its LinkedIn group and Facebook page.

Editor and mad blogger,

Our Culinary Skills rock!

Our Culinary Skills rock!

Our Culinary Skills rock! VNS has corporate event planning and catering that presents incomparable event capabilities. Our desire is to provide you and your guests with a flawless culinary experience highlighting sustainability produced, inventive and luscious menus. The highest caliber of service in our industry, trend setting design and attention to every detail.


At VNS we always tailor-makes our menus to suit your imaginative, organizational and budgetary requests.


More than a catering company. We have a culinary team focused on delivering experiential events for a clientele who have seen it all. Let our team bring to life your next corporate event. Our amazing team is equally at home planning a wedding as a corporate event.

Our catering, food styling and event production services include

Creative menu design with sophisticated, innovative cuisine
We provide custom tailoring of buffets and plates as well as bar accessories
Liquid refreshment synchronization
Novelty kitchens
Provision guidelines, timing and coordination
Exceptional trained service staff that are professionals
Creating the perfect custom menu for your event that will be talked about for years is our specialty. Chefs are well versed in food allergies and preferences; vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

We are known for our locally produced food. We have a strong relationship with our purveyors, from farmers to bakers, to cheese makers. Our focus is on the freshest, most seasonal ingredients available. Our team is constantly connecting seasonal and local foods with innovative menu ideas. From our food presentation to beautiful table designs, we will help capture your vision for the perfect event that will impress your guests and make you shine

Whether you are celebrating a corporate anniversary or hosting your annual company party, let us make you look good. From casual to upscale, our corporate catering division can create an event that reflects the caliber and style of your company.

If you need interactive games, entertainment, live music, or out of the box ideas for a unique celebration – we are here to help. Santa Barbara Catering offers one stop shopping and can coordinate all of this for you.

The next time your company needs to plan a memorable corporate celebration or corporate meeting, look to our event planners to bring your vision to life.

We would love to start planning your custom menu!