ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance launched the new ICCA Incredible Impacts Programme during an ICCA Member Plenary Session on 15 May, the Monday Before IMEX. The Programme celebrates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings.
The new programme creates a powerful platform to advocate on the positive societal impact of international association meetings. Incredible Impacts Grants are awarded to associations to encourage communication of the true value of their meetings.
To apply for a grant, associations must demonstrate a track-record in a “beyond tourism” or legacy programme or project related to their international meetings. They need to explain how they would use the grant to support, expand, extend or enhance their chosen programme or a future project.
Examples of beyond tourism impacts or legacy include:
- Knowledge and/or skills transfers to developing countries.
- Public awareness of healthcare or environmental issues, or achievement of improved outcomes.
- Positive impact on national and regional policies and practices.
- Advancing future intellectual and/or societal leaders (could be general young members of the association, or young women, or young people from developing countries, etc).
The programme will be judged looking for “great examples” rather than for “best example of”, to stimulate further projects, better measurement, and wider understanding of the range of impacts that international association meetings can generate.
An independent jury will determine which three associations will be awarded a grant of US$7,500 each. The winners of each year’s grants will be announced at the ICCA Congress in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Sharing global knowledge and building engagement with associations
The partnership is a direct result of ICCA’s five-year strategic plan which was launched at the end of 2015, compromising of six strategic goals. With a number of these goals, including full engagement with association clients and more effective global knowledge sharing, closely aligned to BestCities’ own ambitions, discussions commenced in July 2016 to explore potential opportunities. The result is a strategic partnership that celebrates and directly advocates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings.
Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “Creating a lasting legacy has become pivotal in the planning of meaningful meetings and events and we want to educate associations on how this can be achieved successfully. Incredible Impacts will not only showcase examples of excellence but will inspire others to actively incorporate this into their own events.
“At BestCities we aim to nurture and develop the purpose of events beyond traditional planning, focusing on vital areas including legacy development, sustainability and accessibility so we’re excited to see what will come of the Incredible Impacts programme and the diverse range of entrants that we receive.”
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk stated: “The biggest shift in the global meetings market over the last decade has been the mindset change from “part of tourism” to “economic and societal impact”. It’s now broadly accepted that even though meeting delegates are one of the most valuable tourism sectors in terms of their direct spend in a destination, the biggest value from international association meetings comes from the vast quantities of knowledge that are created and shared, the inward investment and business connections that are stimulated, and the societal, healthcare and economic challenges that are addressed and solved. Incredible Impacts has been designed to celebrate some of the best examples of projects that showcase the wider impact of these meetings, and more importantly, to encourage greater awareness and new projects. We’re grateful for BestCities generous support, and look forward to hearing some amazing stories about the power of meetings.”
Escrow Trust Services
Incredible Impact funds will be held in trust and released directly to grant recipients by Meeting Escrow Inc., an independent provider of secure payment and escrow solutions for the meetings industry worldwide.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented: "For complete transparency, it is important these grant funds not be commingled with ICCA or BestCities operational accounts, and that recipients have the confidence they will automatically receive payments when qualifying projects are scheduled to take place. Financial security is a very important concern for associations, and we want to demonstrate how this type of escrow service can help streamline and secure their financial affairs.”
Meeting Escrow President & CEO Grant Snider commented: “We’re very proud to be supporting Incredible Impacts with our award-winning Escrow Trust Services. Association meetings deliver vitally important societal value and by protecting their financial assets, whether funds received from sponsors and registrants, or funds paid out to vendors, we form an important part of their overall risk management strategy.”