Small Market Meetings

FEB 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Viral Video Challenge Who can forget the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in 2014? The campaign demonstrated that fundraising does not have to be com- plicated or expensive to be a success, raising a reported $150 million for the ALS Association, which fights to cure a neurodegenerative ill- ness commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The campaign was simple: Pour a bucket of ice over your head and challenge a friend or family member to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to charity, though many people chose to do both. The videos spread like wildfire across the internet, with celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey taking part. So, what made it such a success? For one thing, humor is always a great incentive. Everyone loves a chance to do something amusing for a cause. The challenge also gave people a fun and easy way to make a difference. Meeting planners can incorporate similar concepts into their events in a variety of ways. Encourage participants to create fundraising vid- eos ahead of the conference, then play some of the best during the event. Or use the conference as an opportunity to launch a viral video campaign, showing the organization's leaders taking part in a fun video to inspire other attendees to do the same. Donate to Play One of the most consistently popular types of fundraisers is a sport- ing event, which can involve anything from a 5K run to a community basketball tournament. In Muskegon County, Michigan, the city took advantage of the region's beautiful lakes to host a Stand Up for the Cure paddleboarding event. The registration fee helped support breast cancer programs and research led by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. "We had women and men from all over west Michigan come to participate," said Bob Lukens, community development director at Visit Muskegon. "Virtually everyone knows someone affected by breast cancer, so it's an issue people care deeply about." During the event, people could enjoy paddleboarding lessons and races, as well as food and music. The local hospital stepped in to provide free cancer screenings. In addition to raising awareness, the fundraiser enabled people to try something new with their friends and families. Blood:Water hosted a 24-hour campaign, "The Real Game of Thrones," to raise money for sanitation projects in Africa. Courtesy Blood:Water Photo credit: Bruno Vega THIS LLAMA IS VALUED AT $168 MILLION. With more than 2.5 million travelers visiting Peru's 11 World Heritage Sites each year, it comes as no surprise that the country's $168 million annual tourism revenue is on the rise. That's why in 2011, Tourism Cares selected Peru for a sustainable tourism initiative that engaged peers from both the North American and Peruvian tourism industries to make an impact through volunteering and distributing $80,000 in grant funding. Visit TourismCares.org to see how your company can help make global sustainable tourism a reality. Join a growing roster of industry-leading companies committed to preserving the places we love and depend on.

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