How to Leverage the Top 15 Event Planning Associations

Embarking on a successful career or business venture in event planning requires more than just passion and creativity. It demands strategic networking, access to valuable resources, and continuous professional development. This is where event planning associations play a crucial role. By joining the right association, event professionals gain access to a supportive community, educational opportunities, and industry insights that can propel their careers to new heights. In this guide, we’ll explore the top event planning associations and how you can leverage them to achieve your goals.

You can take your event planning business or career to the next level by becoming part of a professional association that fits your needs. But with numerous options available, how do you pick the right one? Here are some important things to think about:

  • Local Presence: Ensure there’s a local chapter for easy networking and engagement.
  • Membership Benefits: Look into the perks and resources offered with membership.
  • Cost: Understand the membership fees and any additional costs involved.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Explore chances for involvement and leadership roles.
  • National/International Presence: Determine if the association has a nationwide, or global reach, if necessary.

Top Event Planning Associations
Not sure where to start? Here’s a breakdown of some of the top event planning associations:

  1. NACE (The National Association for Catering and Events): With over 40 local chapters, NACE provides ample networking opportunities and an annual Experience Conference for education and networking.
  2. MPI (Meeting Professionals International): MPI boasts over 90 chapters worldwide, offering high-level education and customizable membership options.
  3. ACCED-I (Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors – International): Ideal for professionals organizing events at universities, ACCED-I hosts an annual conference and promotes visibility for campus event planners.
  4. ILEA (The International Live Events Association): With 51 international chapters, ILEA offers extensive networking, career resources, and the prestigious ILEA Esprit Awards.
  5. AEP (Academic Event Professional): Geared towards event planners in educational institutions, AEP provides online resources, yearly conferences, and a thriving online community.
  6. ESPA (Event Service Professionals Association): ESPA focuses on education and networking for event service professionals, offering year-round opportunities and a dedicated Celebrate Services Week.
  7. GMIC (Green Meeting Industry Council): Advocating sustainability in events, GMIC provides research, certification opportunities, and networking platforms across various chapters.
  8. CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association): CEMA connects corporate event marketers through nationwide events, study tours, and online resources.
  9. IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers): Offering leadership opportunities for venue managers, IAVM provides tailored membership levels and educational resources.
  10. IACC (International Association of Conference Centers): IACC promotes diversity and collaboration in event planning with global networking events and access to industry reports.
  11. IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions and Events): Advocating for the exhibition industry, IAEE offers global networking, advocacy, and local chapter participation.
  12. PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association): PCMA facilitates global networking and offers educational resources for convention planners.
  13. APA (American Planning Association): APA supports event planners at every career stage with workshops, awards, and resources tailored to various disciplines.
  14. ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association): ICCA facilitates networking and self-promotion opportunities for planners and suppliers of large-scale global events.

Maximize Your Membership:

  • Volunteer for events to showcase your skills and expand your network.
  • Consider sponsorship opportunities for added visibility and referral business.
  • Explore leadership roles within the association to advance your career.

Take the next step in your event planning journey by joining the association that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Get involved, grow your network, and stay ahead in the dynamic events industry!

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Event Planner resources

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