Hosting Successful Under-40 Events

Contact: Claudia Richards
(202) 266-8211

Start Small

Be motivated and excited, but sometimes it’s best to start small. Try one event this year to see what kind of response comes from it, and move forward from there.

Host a Launch Event

Host a launch event to spread the word about the new group. Use it as an opportunity to get future members really excited.

The first event should be planned at be held at a fun, cool, and social space that professionals under 40 would enjoy. Since members may not know what the group is yet, it’s important to draw them in using methods like the right venue. The event should be free to attend and paid for by sponsorships or the local PWB.

Prior to the first launch event, contacting prospects by phone and email is recommended. Explain in detail what the program is and why they might consider getting involved. Let them know also that they will be receiving an invitation to a future launch event.

Find Out What’s Important

Valuable experiences matter to Millennials. Try using surveys or other pre- and post-engagement measurement tools to learn more about what they are looking to get out of their memberships and/or networking experiences. These will make planning future events more fruitful. For example post-event surveys distributed via email to everyone who registered for the launch event can garner feedback that can be used to improve future events. This is an important step when first starting out as it will help ensure that member needs are being met. The hope is that they will get value out of these engagements, and stay committed and active.

Help Younger Members Get Involved

Create a position on the local PWB Council’s board of directors, the local HBA’s board of directors or create a PWB committee (that reports to the PWB board) that will head up the Elevate program. A group of volunteers/committee members will need to identify (e.g., names, company names, contact information) all of the current local PWB members and those whose companies are HBA members who are under 40. A master contact list can then be created for delivering invitations, flyers, announcements, etc.

Host Intergenerational Events

Millennials have a strong desire to connect with peers their own age or those who are in a similar place in life personally and professionally. But they also value making connections with older, established professionals who can offer advice and provide guidance. That’s part of the reason Elevate has been successful: Elevate members get access to PWB/HBA members at every level of their career.

Try New Venues

Millennials like going to new places, especially ones they haven’t been to yet, or those considered the new ‘it’ place. If it will make a great post on Instagram or Snapchat jealousy into their friends’ hearts, it’s where they want to be. They also like going where they can blow off steam at the end of a long work week, relax and catch up with friends. If one of these awesome places should pop up but cost becomes a factor, engage sponsors. For example, offer sponsors a display table at the event and thank them publicly onsite and via social media.

Relationship Building

Help younger members connect with established members who have similar professions or positions. For example, consider having designated greeters who are social by nature at each event or meeting. These greeters should be involved enough to recognize new faces. They should introduce themselves, engage new people and introduce newcomers to other members.

Regular members and board members should also be encouraged to venture outside of their usual groups to meet one or two new people during the networking part of every meeting or event.

Make sure to follow up with new members directly to give them more information about the organization, what to expect as a member, other ways they can be involved, upcoming events, etc.