there will be too many leftovers and that
it is a waste to trash them and was a
waste to send them.
Handouts are another place where
conferences experience waste. Speakers
often provide early versions of handouts
(which are printed at the office and
shipped to the meeting site) and then
change them onsite, thereby voiding the
copies already on hand. Or speakers
aren’t able to provide them prior to
their talk, so associations need to pay
extra to print them onsite. Then, following a lecture, participants ask staff if the
handouts will be made available online
so they don’t have to haul them home.
Associations need to look at the
feasibility of providing printed handouts.
There are many other ways to provide
slides — via CD or online — that are
probably just as time-consuming, but not
piece that is small — easy to fit in a
very tight suitcase. The piece should be
packed with information that can’t be
accessed anywhere else and that leads
to more information online.
If there is a great new report that will
be ready just in time for the conference,
print an executive summary to be available at the conference. Or send the report
to all attendees after the conference.
Either way, you are ensuring less waste
as well as the added exposure for your
The final decision often comes
down to the budget. When developing
a budget for a new publication, think
about the funding needed to promote
the publication and try to include it.
The Internet is a cost-effective way to
distribute information, but it is not
always the answer to “how do we cut
Associations are printing less and
less due to costs. While a printed piece
will probably remain the best vehicle for
longer documents, there are many ways
to drive interest in those longer documents — and these are the publications
that will provide the most “bang for your
buck” at meetings.
MAKE IT WORK
Consistent with all communications,
associations need to develop a distribution plan for publications and think
through what, if anything, should be
sent to a conference. Think about the
audience and why they are going to
Another step to consider is talking
with your communications department.
If the organization has information that
can address what the audience is hoping to gain, work with them to create a
Heather Berg is the communications and marketing
manager for the American College of Osteopathic family
Physicians. She may be reached at
NEED TO LOOK AT
THERE ARE MANY
OTHER WAYS TO
PROVIDE SLIDES —
VIA CD OR ONLINE —
THAT ARE PROBABLY
JUST AS TIME-CONSUMING, BUT
NOT AS WASTEFUL.