Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day: Food and Association Management

Today is Blog Action Day where bloggers worldwide are blogging on the topic of FOOD.

Here are a few thoughts on FOOD related to Association Management:

1. Popularity: There are few things that conference and meeting attendees appreciate more than food. If you've tried to cut back on costs by downgrading or eliminating food, you may find more attendees comment on the missing food than they do on the course content. A colleague once said, "sometimes it's about the doughnuts" ... and she is right about that.

2. The noise factor: Don't order noisy foods during breaks with education programs. I made the carrot stick mistake once. It also applies to apples, potato chips and wrapped hard candies sitting on the desk.

3. Keep meticulous records of meal functions and snacks: Regardless of your guarantee, always be sure to count how many actually show up and eat at each function. It can help you plan and not over-order food in the future. Also pay attention to what they don't eat. Keep those records in one place to identify trends in counts and food.

4. Always ask for what you want: If you don't already know, you are often not limited to what is on the catering menus. If there is something you want for a group function that is not on the menu, ask the facility if they can get what you want. We've had everything from speciality salads, to specialty desserts, to lower priced options just by asking.

5. Give: If you have leftover food after any function, be sure it doesn't just get thrown out. Identify if there are local groups who can take donated foods, especially wrapped foods. You can also "give" by providing information about world concerns about famine, health and food - or set up a collection jar at an event geared towards a soup kitchen or food-related cause. Some organizations ask for a canned food for entry at a "free" program that they can then donate.

6. Changing times: Attendees are more health conscious than they used to be. Those who watch what they eat appreciate having healthy options, and you'll be doing your part for their health too. If you make an effort to have locally produced food at your conference/meeting and healthy choices - be sure to note it. Might inspire others to do it too.