Going Global for all the Wrong Reasons

Post authored by Marian R. Calvin, Vice President Communications for Experient

As event marketers, we hear all sorts of reasons why people need to boost attendance at their annual event. The event, along with its trade show, is the largest source of non-dues revenue for most non-profit associations and often their primary service delivery mechanism.  With attendance being down, flat or showing lackluster growth in recent years due to economic reasons, they want to expand their event marketing database to invite or grow international attendance.

The rationale includes:  The village needs to meet.  The internet is shrinking the world.  We want to be considered an international powerhouse, THE go-to source.  Similar organizations are going global and we need to do so as well.  We need to expand our community to professionals in other countries.

Agreed.  But it’s not so easy.  Along with logistical issues surrounding international attendance at events (such as currency exchange for registration, translation services for advance materials and on site, visa requirements and letters of invitation), there are the ongoing needs of an international participant (and new member) that need to be addressed to KEEP that attendee active, engaged and fulfilled.

Is the infrastructure in place within your organization to support international membership?

  • Does your website facilitate multi-lingual communication?
  • Is there a quick-response method for someone contacting you in the middle of the night (during their working hours)?
  • Are live online committee meetings or informational meetings/seminars taking the time zone issue into consideration?
  • Will you be planning meetings in other parts of the world?

How ready are you for global expansion in terms of membership support?

There are a number of experts out there with a thorough understanding of international markets who specialize in consulting with associations who want to enter the global arena.

One such expert is Steven Worth, author and President of Plexus Consulting Group.  His expertise centers on helping associations succeed in international business.

Worth has served as interim executive director of four international associations, designed and implemented strategies creating two world federations of nonprofit organizations, and created the Association International Market Development (AIMD)—a program designed to open opportunities within USAID and World Bank projects in developing nations for the education, training and standards development resources of U.S.-based associations.

In fact, you could say that Worth wrote the book on globalized operations.  Literally.  The Association Guide to Going Global is Worth’s comprehensive guide for associations coping with a global marketplace. Published last July, the book enlightens readers on key issues that have proven to be of concern to associations going global and unveils how to successfully navigate a global environment.

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