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"It's also a staff thing." It took several years for NACS staff members to look at the infant foundation as part of them and to help CSREF get the kind of visibility it needed, she says.
For CSREF, says Martin, "The turning point was when the foundation started producing results that benefitted the programs of other NACS departments." For instance, CSREF faced some real challenges early on in working its special events into the NACS annual meeting programming.
"As we made greater efforts to involve the meetings and expositions department and to discuss the areas where our goals and their goals overlapped, CSREF began realizing real growth, and together we were able to enhance the meeting through CSREF-sponsored special events that raise money and help bring buyers to the trade show," says Martin.
Staff spent hours on the phone talking to corporate members sharing CSREF's ideas and enthusiasm for a concert.
out of the annual meeting registration fees, CSREF would get $25 for each of 6,000 registrants ...."
The CSREF concert almost got bogged down when we started trying to get through to agents to find out how much it cost to get various entertainers with name recognition that would appeal to our membership.
So, we looked for a professional production company in the city of our first concert, made some calls to check out its track record, and scheduled a meeting to determine what a production company could do for us, what it would charge, and what would be CSREF's production responsibilities.
CSREF also produces a full-sized poster of the entertainers, which flips over to list sponsors, the concert's date and time, and other basic concert hype.
How could CSREF's limited staff distribute 2,000 T-shirts and handle all of their other responsibilities?
NACS's meetings and expositions staff soon realized how the CSREF benefit concert would enhance its efforts to produce an exciting annual meeting and trade show that would draw more and more attendees.
The meetings and expositions department located several caterers and hotel sites, and recommended menus for CSREF staff to use in planning the preconcert cocktail party and postconcert dessert party for sponsors and their guests.
The morning after that first concert made all the work worthwhile--not only had the first CSREF benefit concert raised $28,000 (net profit), but members were still enthused from the night before.
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