Bring New Life to an Old Event

A little format tweaking and a new name can make your old event fresh and exciting.

What's the great idea? Change the name of your annual event to attract attendees.

Who's doing it? Executive Women's Golf Association (EWGA)

What's involved? Make it a humdinger. That's the inspiration that Pam Swensen, chief executive officer of EWGA, adopted when her organization changed the name of its 19-year-old annual meeting to Golfpalooza.

"When money was tight and when people were losing their jobs, we were challenged with our [conference] attendance. … [E]veryone has a doom-and-gloom outlook of the economy, and we felt like a cheering up was in need," says Swensen.

As a recreationally driven organization with members of varied career backgrounds, Swensen says it was vital to showcase the conference as an opportunity to have fun, de-stress, and enrich women's lives through golf, connecting them to the game and each other. EWGA added events focused not only on becoming a better golfer but also on improving members' confidence through speakers and content applicable on both the greens and in the boardroom.

"We really tried to think about making it a humdinger, looking at the definition of 'palooza' in all the different events that we did so it was entertaining, it would grab people's attention, and they would feel like they're receiving a benefit from it," says Swensen.

What are people saying? By adding "palooza" to each element of the conference—from the Welcomepalooza Opening Remarks to the Galapalooza Awards Dinner—Swensen says the event became "a celebration versus just a conference." More than 400 participants attended this year's Golfpalooza, compared to the fewer than 300 attendees at last year's event, and Swensen plans to keep the Golfpalooza theme for next year.

For others considering a name change, Swensen says to go for it. "We're all competing for the time of our members, and to showcase their passion and make it really, really interesting, we need to do things a little bit differently than we've been doing in the past. I think every association provides a great deal of value to their members, and just tweaking the name of an event just a little bit to make it more exciting and more inviting can yield very positive results."