AaEA Affiliate Week: Karen Anderson on Hot Tips for Successful Affiliate Events

Hi there! I’m Karen Anderson and I’m the programming Co-chair for the Atlanta-area Evaluation Association. After wrapping up my experience as the AEA Diversity Coordinator Intern last year I wanted to stay active and connected to the AEA community. During my short time working on the programming team I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade for successful events.

Hot Tip: Have an awesome communications team! Our communications team does so much, including managing our AaEA website, AaEA Facebook, AaEA LinkedIn and creating a newsletter, which really helps to get the word out.

Hot Tip: Just like blog posts and conference titles tend to pull you in, the title of your events are just as important. Last year we had an event, which included a “speed dating” format to facilitate getting to know members and visitors better. We could have easily named it: “Atlanta-area Evaluation Association Social”, but we used “Speed Networking for Evaluators”. Make the overviews of the events short and interesting as well to capture people’s attention.

Hot Tip: Build in time for socializing and networking. We set aside 30 minutes before events for mixing and mingling. This is a great way to set the tone for events.

Hot Tip: Provide refreshments! We all know that if you provide food, they will come. Fruit, cheese and meat tray, hummus, crackers, juice, beer, and wine make up a nice spread that will keep the crowd happy.

Hot Tip: Encourage council members to get to know visitors and members. By engaging visitors and members you can encourage visitors to become members, and inform members on volunteer opportunities.

Meeting new people and learning about their interests and areas of expertise helps with planning events in more ways that one. This is a great way to help you learn the pulse of the group and if an individual is bold enough you can ask them to facilitate or co-facilitate an upcoming event.

Hot Tip: Keep up with current trends in evaluation locally, as well and nationally and internationally. This may seem a bit daunting, but subscribing to AEA’s Eval Talk, AEA-LinkedIn, and aea365 blog are 3 ways to get regular updates on what’s going on in the world of evaluation. This will help when planning events and keeping topics fresh!

Have any tips on making affiliate events successful?  Please share in the comments.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Atlanta-area Evaluation Association (AaEA) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the AaEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AaEA Affiliate members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “AaEA Affiliate Week: Karen Anderson on Hot Tips for Successful Affiliate Events”

  1. I love this idea of the speed-dating format for networking. I participated in a similar event with public engagement. I would love to know more details about this, as I would like to implement this in an upcoming conference! Thank you!

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