Originally published in Trade Show Executive, July 2014 Issue

I realize that it’s July, and we typically think about giving our time and sharing our wealth at the end of the calendar year. I also realize that you may be inclined to flip past this article right now without giving it a second thought.

After all, who needs to be reminded about the importance of giving, donating, supporting, volunteering, contributing, etc. – it’s the summer after all!

Allow me to offer a new perspective. It’s safe to assume we all agree that giving is important, but it just comes down to time and money. Just like the sense of nostalgia you get when asked to contribute to your alma mater, I think contributing to the industry that fuels our careers makes great sense. In the exhibitions and events industry, we have made a conscious decision to create marketplaces, service these marketplaces and promote these marketplaces, and in the end, we see substantial return on our time and investment so we can go and create, service and promote another face-to-face engagement.

We gain so much more than just going through the motions of organizing exhibitions, so it is critical that we support the industry that keeps this well-oiled machine working. Here is why:

  • Organizers, suppliers and exhibitors play a large role in determining the future and continued development of the industry.
  • Financial support goes a long way to support research, education and scholarships for deserving students who are interested in a career in exhibitions and events.
  • Giving means continued industry growth.
  • Regular contributions make an essential difference to the long-term operating budget to sustain ongoing programs and initiatives like the industry-wide Exhibitions Day in June.
  • Annual research reports like the CEIR Index take considerable time and resources. Think about where your exhibition would be without it and its three-year future projection.
  • When the industry is viewed as a viable opportunity, the value of your position increases.
  • Contributing to our industry makes good business sense for you. Sure, it is tax deductible, but as a business, every dollar matters, and if you’re going to donate money, make sure it’s relevant to your business. Set standards for measuring success and measure goals against those standards.

Now that you are likely inspired and want to make a difference in the exhibitions and events industry, here’s how.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) Foundation represents a tremendous opportunity for companies and individuals who have benefited from the industry’s growth to give back both financially and intellectually, and thus leave your legacy. CEIR is an independent organization whose mission is to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering research-based knowledge tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. CEIR works collaboratively with many industry organizations like IAEE, PCMA, SISO, ESCA, EDPA, IAVM and more, and benefits their respective constituents. Its foundation is the best-positioned entity to fund industry-wide initiatives that will make fundamental positive differences in the way exhibition companies do business.

The research that the CEIR Foundation provides are the daily resources all of us need to make strategic business decisions. Additionally, as industry leaders and professionals we have the unique opportunity to be part of the research and create new educational programs that offer professional growth opportunities for your staff, which in turn assists you with retention challenges. Being directly involved in workforce development will offer you opportunities to better understand how to successfully recruit and develop new talent in your own organization.

The annual CEIR Index continues to be the essential source and predictive tool for the exhibitions and events industry data. Support for the CEIR Index will directly support the unbiased, uninfluenced and trusted publication that the Index has become and allow for it to grow into a more robust and predictive tool which thousands of industry professionals use to organize and plan their exhibitions and events. Did you know that each year CEIR invests thousands of dollars to produce the Index to help organizations better understand and forecast market conditions for their events? It provides both historical and predictive information, and for the past three years, CEIR’s economists have been on the mark with their economic forecasts proving that the Index is a reliable source. The CEIR Index is unique because it truly is an industry-wide resource which embodies the spirit of collaboration and serves to eliminate duplication.

By utilizing the programs funded by the CEIR Foundation, we speak from the collective body of knowledge and are able to offer more value to our attendees, exhibitors and customers and greater returns on investment. I encourage you to take the initiative and make a difference: www.ceir.org.

It just seems like a simple idea – feed the industry that feeds us.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President and CEO

Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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