“Sexy” is probably not a word most people associate with associations. Those who are familiar with associations, but are not yet part of one, may relate them to an older generation, or the way networking and professional development used to be done in the ‘good old days’. Well, we’re here to tell you that those people are wrong.
Why is there such a stigma around associations? Why do their events somehow get classified as less glamourous than corporate events? Redstone was created because its founders identified a gap in the association management industry that could be filled by a fresh approach, millennial insight and not-for-profit management expertise – and at the root of that, is the knowledge of what these organizations can do for millennials.
Don’t believe us that associations are sexy? Consider the following.
Avoid FOMO – Associations can help cut down on that Fear of Missing Out by being invited to some of the best parties and events.
- Associations often have long-time supplier connections because they frequently host conferences or events at hotels, convention centres, restaurants, lounges, etc., so having these connections make it possible for even the smallest organizations to put on a good show. We have booked events for our association clients all over the world in some of the coolest and trendiest places, from a conference in the mountains on the west coast, to the restaurant of the hottest chef in the city, to a members-only venue (think Spoke Club or Soho House).
- Small associations often use management companies who are able to leverage their buying power by pulling together their supplier or speaker connections, allowing even not-for-profit organizations to go the extra mile for some of their bigger events. We’ve seen anything from celebrity hosts and professional athlete keynotes, to open bar and full-scale costume parties.
- Suppliers also recognize that association crowds are often formed of people that are part of more than one association, and do a lot of business by word of mouth, so at these types of events they are often pulling out all of the stops in order to impress. There is no shortage of unique ideas happening at these events, like signature foods or cocktails, photo booths, or other memorable takeaways.
Are You the Millennial Stereotype? – We’re action-oriented; we understand that the world of work is changing rapidly; we need our work to be rewarding in order to fuel our passion and keep us engaged. Sound familiar? Some of these other millennial stereotypes might hit home as well.
- Keeping on top of trends – Many associations’ mandates are to be the leading voice in their industry, so it is literally their job to stay ahead of the curve and planning for change. One of the easiest ways of staying abreast of developments in your industry is to stay connected to an association.
- Professional and career development – There is so much educational content being offered out there, and we get excited every time we’re attending a conference. Once you start networking, you’ll get to know some of your peers and be realize you’re attending like-minded people, and ultimately, new friends.
- Awards & building your resume – Stating the obvious here, but I think it’s noteworthy to mention that association award applications are something that are generally underused, especially among young people. Many associations struggle to collect nominations every year – there are opportunities out there, you just have to look for them!
Networking That You Won’t Find on LinkedIn – Joining an association provides one of the best ways to meet people, whether you’re making a professional or personal contact, and far exceeds connecting through social media in terms of the best use of your time and quality of relationship established.
- Associations can essentially teach you how to network and help get the ball rolling. Many of them have first-timers programs, like mentoring or buddy-systems, so that you have someone holding your hand at your first couple of events and facilitating introductions. Not sure how to get started? Check out our blog post on Tips and Tricks for Networking Success.
- As a young professional, no doubt cost is an issue, and you may be gravitating more towards low or no cost young professional events or networking online. In our experience, we generally don’t get as much from attending these types of events. Consider how much more beneficial it would be to attend events with more senior people, even those that might be a little out of you’re league. You know what they say, fake it till you make it.
- There is one caveat – don’t expect that you’ll attend one event, make a million contacts, and then you’re done. Part of the experience is getting out of it what you put into it. You need to attend several events, which usually means that an annual membership is worthwhile. If you don’t feel like it is by the end of the year, then don’t renew the next year – but be sure to shop around for an alternative (there is an association for everything!).
Above all, joining an association as a young professional demonstrates your passion and dedication to the industry. It shows you are willing to learn, be part of the larger community, and are eager to meet other people. What’s sexier than that?