The business-events industry believes in giving back. From simple invitations to make charitable donations to organizing hands-on service projects at conferences, event organizers regularly look for opportunities to make a difference in the communities where they host meetings. On Oct. 5 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. EDT, the PCMA Southeast Chapter is shifting its focus from people to pets with the chapter’s first-ever Yappy Hours — five networking cocktail receptions in five locations in honor of National Pet Wellness Month. Each reception is open to chapter members, non-members, and their guests.
Samantha Cribari-Starr, CMP-HC, DES, marketing event manager at Carestream Dental and director of community service for the chapter, told PCMA headquarters that the chapter is always looking for opportunities to increase engagement — which can be a tall order when members are dispersed over a large geographic area. When Cribari-Starr attended the Chapter Leaders Workshop at PCMA’s Education Conference in New York City, she heard members of the Southwest Chapter discussing how they tackled the issue by arranging meet-ups in various major cities.
“I loved the idea, and I shared it with the board,” Cribari-Starr said. “And they loved it, too. I’m lucky to be part of an amazing board of directors that wanted to try something new for member engagement and an amazing committee that was willing to pitch in. Without the team supporting all these efforts, we would not have this event.”
Connecting Members Online, Too
The meet-ups will take place in Orlando, Nashville, Louisville, and at two venues in Atlanta. While the largest concentrations of Southeast Chapter members are located in these cities, there are plenty of additional pet-loving event professionals who may not be able to meet up that night in person. So, the chapter is using online engagement tools as well.
“Our plan is to stay social with @SE_PCMA and encourage attendees to use our social channels to share their experiences,” Cribari-Starr said. “We also plan to use Facebook Live for a portion of it and plan to have on-site coordinators assist with that aspect to share the experience with those who can’t make the event.”
SEE ALSO: 5 Key Lessons for Engaging Your Audience on Facebook Live
To make these happy hours extra yappy, the chapter has invited attendees to bring along pictures of their pets to share in ice-breaker activities, and attendees will have the opportunity to donate to animal shelters in each destination. “We don’t have a specific goal for what we’re hoping to raise, due to this being our first try at hosting these events,” Cribari-Starr said. “We hope to be able to contribute to each of them as best as we can as a chapter.”
Want to join the fun and help a barker or meow-er in need? Click here for all the registration information for a Yappy Hour near you.