By: Jack Johnson, Destinations International
Every year, the Destinations International Advocacy Summit presents ideas, strategies, and tactics for destination organizations to successfully embrace their role as a community asset that aligns with their residents and advocates for their needs. The summit has become a labor of love for the research and advocacy team. We work on the event all year round using the Advocacy Committee as our sounding board and the place we listen to come up with session ideas. Responding to this year’s input, we have made our sixth annual summit particularly interactive with useful takeaways.
This year’s summit is built around the concept of covering the essential elements of the Community Shared Value philosophy. More importantly, answering the question – how do I integrate these elements into my own advocacy efforts? Our goal is to pack the summit once again with useful information and practical techniques combined with the networking and group project approach that the summit has become known for. And this year – do not think of leaving early!
14 + 20 + 3 + 2 + 4 = 43
This year we will be featuring 14 mainstage sessions, a choice of 20 breakout sessions (broken up in to five rounds of sessions), 3 short introduction sessions (where you will meet the new board chairs, the new Advocacy Committee chairs and the Research and Advocacy staff providing an overview of 2023), two networking receptions and four advocacy workshops.
We are particularly excited by the four workshops. The content of the mainstage sessions has been broken up into four subject areas – Measurements, Civic Issues, Lexicon/Messaging, and Grassroots/Engagement. Each one of these groupings lead up to workshops built around the topic. The workshops will be led by a facilitator with participants voting on specific projects they want to work on. The room will be broken up into three areas and attendees will work in small groups to address the project in front of them. Each area will have another facilitator to handle any questions that may arise and help folks though any points where brainstorming gets stuck. Each workshop will last 60 minutes.
The idea is that by participating in all four workshops, you will head home with an outline of a grassroots engagement plan complete with some parts partially built out. Furthermore, anyone who finishes all four workshops (no exceptions!) will receive a Certificate of Completion of Destinations International’s Annual Grassroots Advocacy Planning Workshop. A nice item to show the stakeholders back home what you have achieved, not to mention something to help position yourself in a leadership role.
2022 Advocacy Workshops are as follows.
1. Bringing Left Brain, Right Brain Data Together in Your Community Facing Measurements
2. Working With Your Residents and Stakeholders to Address Civic Issues
3. Using the Advocacy Lexicon in Your Messaging
4. Building Out Your Own Grassroots and Engagement Campaign
When we laid out this year’s schedule, I attempted to mimic the approach I had seen successfully implemented at advocacy conferences I have attended. I learned a great deal by doing hands-on work and leaning on co-workers with more experience. The advocacy conferences I attended really helped me put things in order, taught me how to plan, and built my network of advocacy-minded individuals that I could lean on. We hope that this year’s Destinations International Advocacy Summit achieves the same for you.