Promote your Division in Orlando

Now is the time to start building a well-crafted promotional plan for doing division outreach during the APA Annual Convention

By Chad Rummel

It’s no secret to division leaders that the APA Annual Convention is a chance to network and rub shoulders with the colleagues in your division. But it’s also a great chance to reach out to potential members who are looking for their new “professional home” and may find that in your division. 

In addition to a well-crafted lineup of sessions, many divisions hold additional off-site meetings and programs in hotel suites and nearby venues. And with the use of technology, these additional opportunities are easy to promote to current division members through email and email lists. But how do you reach those potential members who are at the convention but do not know what you are offering? How do you reach those convention-goers who aren’t even sure what it means to belong to a division? 

The Division Services Office will once again host electronic copies of all division programs at convention. But this year we are going a step further and will be reaching out prior to the convention to help distribute your division programs. With this in mind, divisions can take advantage of the chance to build membership at convention if they plan accordingly. 

Some tips as you prepare your convention program/schedule: 

  • See what other divisions are doing to help you get started. The following programs from 2011 are provided as starting places: Division 35 (PDF, 286KB), Division 39 (PDF, 1MB), Division 42 (PDF, 481KB)

  • Compile ONE document that houses your convention program, hospitality suite schedule, poster sessions, off-site programming list, and any other special events. Remember that this document will be viewed by current AND potential members. This one document will be converted to a PDF and placed on the Division Services Web site and emailed to all convention-goers prior to convention and again to convention-goers who do not belong to a division yet. (As a PDF, it can be downloaded to smart phones and tablets) 

Note: To ensure your one document is included in the mailings, it should be submitted to Division Services by June 1. 

  • In your program, remember to include whether each session is open or closed and whether it is for current or potential members. Don’t assume that potential members know they are welcome to attend a social hour or stop by the division’s hospitality suite. 

  • Include membership information (rates, application, contact info, membership benefits, activities, etc.). Testimonials from current members increase the chances of it being read. 

  • Include contact information for someone who can be contacted prior to the convention and during the convention for those who want to connect. Maybe a group of folks will offer to meet potential members for coffee early in the convention week to help them navigate division happenings? 

  • If you don’t have a hospitality suite where potential members can find you, be sure to sign up to have a time slot at the Division Services Booth and market that time slot to your potential members. Division Services will be reaching out later this spring to offer time slots for your division officers to be stationed at the booth to meet potential members. 

Additional tips for marketing your division at convention: 

  • Make sure someone from your division is posting division happenings on Twitter using the convention hashtag of #APA2012 (prior to and during the convention).

  • If any of your division members are speaking at convention, provide them with a uniform PowerPoint slide to have on the screen as members are entering and exiting the room (Samples) (PPT, 139KB). The slide can include convention activities for your division, membership information, where they can get more information during convention about your division, etc. 

  • Charge every member of your division to be an Ambassador of the division. Provide them with the information they need to recruit new members. Make sure they know that potential members can join the division in the Division Services Booth during convention. Consider offering prizes to your flock of “ambassadors” for recruiting new members who sign up during the convention. 

  • Entice potential members to any social activities. This may come in the form of drawings or raffles (for free membership, books written by division members, etc.). 

  • Use convention as a chance to fulfill each step of the membership cycle: Recruit new members, Onboard recently joined members, Engage members in joining division committees/activities, and talk about Renewal (which takes place starting a few weeks after convention). 

  • Make it easy for your students and Early Career Professional members to attend convention by helping promote room-sharing or other cost-saving measures. Consider setting up time for mentoring and opportunities specifically targeted to their demographic.