The Legacy of Associations

Nowadays in the association world, I hear a lot about “legacy”, especially in the context of what associations “leave behind” after organizing events in a venue destination.

In his article in the Legatus magazine, Paul J. Voss writes that the word legacy has been used exclusively as a noun for nearly 500 years but has expanded its original meaning and now signifies a “gift” or “bequest” transmitted from one person (or one generation) to another. He adds, “used as a noun in this fashion, legacy carries a wholly positive meaning and represents an act of love, charity and care.”

Three Opportunities

In terms of associations, I read an article written by Keith Burton and Kristen Tremeer in the April 2017 issue of Boardroom magazine, entitled, “Three Legacy Opportunities for Associations”. The article starts with, “international professional associations that convene congresses in destinations around the world mustn’t miss out on the opportunity to leave a legacy that reflects the values of the association, whether tangible or intangible, social, or economic or environmental.” It then offers 3 legacy opportunities for associations, as follows:

1 – Community-engagement – Examples are planting a vegetable garden for a seniors’ centre, building a playground for a preschool, or constructing a library at a community centre. It’s a “volun-tourism” approach that gives visitors to a destination a chance to interact with local residents that they might not have otherwise been able to meet.

2 – Content driven – Examples range from the establishment of an endowment in a relevant university department to a scholarship for participants from developing economies to attend future congresses, or using the host association’s members as congress volunteers.

3 – Skills transfer – An example is a mobile clinic in an under-developed facility staffed by leading physicians who treat and train their local counterparts, or special training sessions for students in a particular field.

Beyond events

But how about legacy “beyond events?” What legacy do associations give to society? Below are some examples of what Philippine associations and other member-serving organizations have done and are still doing. These outstanding legacy projects have been recognized by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) through its annual “Ang Susi” Awards:

1 – The Cement Manufacturers’ Association of the Philippines’ “Road Safety Program” which addresses to standardize road safety guidelines among all its member-companies’ trucking contractors.

2 – The National Confederation of Cooperatives’ “Aflatoun Social and Financial Education Program” that allows children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to manage their own savings accounts and learn about savings, spending and budgeting, among others.

3 -The Philippine Franchise Association’s “Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) Program” that offers franchise professionals the opportunity to learn, grow professionally and reach a recognized standard of excellence in the franchise community.

4 – Alalay sa Kaunlaran Foundation’s “Agriculture Value Chain for Onion Farmers in San Jose City: Onion and Vegetable Producers Cooperative” which helps onion farmers to have a sustainable agricultural livelihood and uplift their socio-economic condition by adding value to their produce with stable pricing and market availability.

The above-mentioned legacy projects demonstrate that associations not only provide services to its members but also provide benefits to a wider community of people, and in effect, contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.

The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) and CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE). PCAAE enjoys the support of ADFIAP, the Tourism Promotions Board, and the Philippine International Convention Center. E-mail

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