For over 100 years the Union of International Associations has been working to promote and facilitate the work of international associations. Organized once a year, the UIA Associations Round Table Europe 2017 (an Asia one also rotates every year within Asia), held last week in Brussels, was an opportunity to learn through networking and the sharing of best practice. Rémi Dévé reports
With an impressive turnout of association representatives, from all kinds of fields of endeavour, the Round Table had something for everyone. Participants could choose from as many as six different sessions and had to carefully three to attend. Subjects ranged from legal questions to human resources, while public relations and funding models were also touched upon.
Facilitated by partners from legal firm Curia, my first session put on the agenda a number of burning issues for international associations such as the impact of Brexit, the engagement in commercial activities as a source of income, and most importantly the Global Data Protection Regulation which will come into force in May – that last topic triggered the most questions and concerns from the audience. A lot of work needs to be done in this area, it seems (more on this in the last issue of Boardroom).
Michel Ballieu, Executive Director of of the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe, talked about the recruitment of staff members and how it is key to the success and sustainability of associations. But this important task requires not only experience, but also time, a lot of time, and rare are the associations benefiting from a dedicated HR specialist.
Proven particularly popular was ‘Public relations on a shoestring’, facilitated by Christophe Ginisty, former President of the International Public Relations Association. When you have very little budget (and most of associations don’t have much!), how can you make an impact? How can you differentiate yourself in a crowded, changing environment? How can Facebook, LinkedIn and social media networks provide opportunities to reach your audience? Participants were happy to leave with the latest techniques that can you make a difference by designing and executing smart PR strategies.
The UIA 6th Round Table Asia-Pacific will take place 26-27 September 2018 in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; the 12th Round Table Europe 15-16 November 2018 at Lyon Convention Centre in France.