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Green Meeting Industry Council
700 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA 22314

News & Press: GMIC Chapter News

The Program Plan: An Opportunity to Chart Your Chapter’s Success

Tuesday, November 1, 2011   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Amanda Ulbrich
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By: Debi Kinney

GMIC Las Vegas Chapter President and Western Regional Director, North America at Clean the World

As President of a chapter that was recently designated as an official GMIC chapter, I have personally experienced the challenges of chapter program planning. Who to involve, what process to follow and what tools are available are all questions that our chapter faced as we built our 2011/2012 program plan. The path that our chapter created has allowed us to be strategic in our topics, flexible enough to allow for necessary changes and open enough to accept feedback from our attendees for future programming. I hope the information below is helpful to your chapter as you create and implement your program plan.

First, our Board of Directors met to determine the best day and time for our chapter events. A consistent meeting day and time was important to us in order to create an easy marketing message, help boost attendance, and make implementation of our calendar of events more turnkey. We considered the meetings days and times of other groups and associations in our area so as not to directly compete with those events. Other factors that helped navigate our decision included holidays, Board member availability, and industry events in the city.

The next step was to determine potential topics to introduce to our program attendees. We asked our Programs/Education Co-Chairs to develop a list of topics that might be of interest to our members, along with short descriptions of each. Unique concepts and/or special access were key elements in developing our programming due to the sophisticated nature of the Las Vegas hospitality industry. Programming ideas were slated based on current hot topics in the industry along with consideration to what other associations were presenting to their members that might be applicable and interesting to ours. The Co-Chairs were also tasked with recommending potential speakers and venues for each topic whenever possible. Once this information was compiled, it was presented at a Board meeting for all Board members to give feedback on. This allowed these concepts to get vetted. Some developed into more advanced concepts once the Board provided input, and topics that did not capture the Board’s interest were dropped completely.

Once the Board decided on the second Wednesday of every month, with a 5:00 p.m. start time, and we had a variety of topics to choose from, our program ideas were presented to chapter members for feedback in the form of a survey.

Surveying was an important part of the program planning process. Our chapter used Survey Monkey since it is very user friendly, convenient because of its email platform and free to use for the number of recipients we were surveying. We solicited feedback on everything from meeting day and time to topics and venues. Once we analyzed the results of our programming survey the path for our program plan became crystal clear, not only for the meeting day and time but also for the topics and which order to present them in.

After the survey was complete the Las Vegas chapter program plan was developed, but we encountered some challenges that made plan modifications necessary. The first challenge came when our originally slated August program was postponed until November due to the lack of participation we experienced in the summer months. We decided to build in a backup plan for our programs: if our formal programming didn’t receive the attendance we needed to be a successful event then we would host a networking mixer in its place in order to keep our audience in the habit of attending our programs the second Wednesday of every month while keeping our market perception in tact. The next challenge came when we experienced a shift in our leadership team, which eventually led to a change in committee structure. Once the new team was in place the program plan was finalized and published for easy access by members and potential members.

Creating a program plan is not a simple task. It requires time, strategy, research, input and evaluation. It also requires flexibility. Once it is created, though, it is a great tool to use for promoting the chapter as a whole and for recruiting members. It is also a fantastic testament to the diligence of a committed Board of Directors. When something as tangible as an annual program plan is developed, the leadership team should take pride in creating something substantial and meaningful that will enhance the livelihood of the chapter.


Comments...

Jeni Wilson says...
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011
Good work Debi!