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12 Tips for a Memorable Anniversary

ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT,

Looking back on the planning process for various elements of the Promotional Products Association International's 100th anniversary celebration, the following steps were particularly effective:

1. Select committee members who are influential within your industry. This will help with the sponsorship campaign. Also, members should be willing to give direction to staff and then let staff manage the process.

2. Select a high-level committee liaison. Make sure your staff liaison is at a high enough level within your organization to authorize and obtain staff and board support, as needed.

3. Consider some kind of community event or stunt, such as a competition, that ties in with your industry to help gain media attention. Don't expect media to be as interested in your anniversary as your members are.

4. Discuss your plans with other staff committee liaisons and department managers within your association to create synergy by tapping into projects others may already be planning.

5. Ask for donations of products and sponsorships, and get your committee members to help, too. You'll never get it if you don't ask.

6. Keep your committee informed on a regular basis, such as through weekly or biweekly e-mails. Consistent communication is vital.

7. Rely on committee members, other staffers, and paid professionals, such as authors and film producers, to help you. You can't do everything yourself, so don't even try.

8. Build a few extra days into your timetables in case of delays. In my case, the leather gifts for my committee were out of stock, but because I had planned delivery a week earlier than necessary, they still arrived in time.

9. Recognize that not all ticket holders will attend your event, so plan for about 20 percent fewer when confirming banquet orders for food and drink.

10. Keep your anniversary archives handy; don't put them in long-term storage. You may be surprised at how quickly you need access to them again.

11. Recognize your committee members as much as possible, because that's their compensation for such an assignment. For example, at an annual leadership luncheon, our chair called each member forward and presented him or her with a thank-you gift, took a group photo, and so forth.

12. Shoot for the stars with your plans, and even if you fall short, you'll have created a bigger splash than you might have originally. For example, our idea for the mini-museum grew out of a desire to create a section on promotional products within the Smithsonian. When that didn't happen, we still had a terrific idea.