Top Associations for Event Professionals

EVA Blog - Top Associations for Event Professionals

Conference and Event Industry Associations were formed to provide a place for planners to collaborate, engage, develop, and create an industry of hospitality and support to corporations, associations, and private events around the globe. These organizations allow a member to tap into a wealth of resources at any experience level to grow and participate in a vast community of event professionals. To start your journey, we have developed a list of well-known industry organizations that will get you started or continue your advancement through thought leadership and knowledge sharing.

#1: EIC – Events Industry Council 

The Events Industry Council’s more than 30 member organizations represent over 103,500 individuals and 19,500 firms and properties involved in the events industry. The Events Industry Council’s vision is to be the global champion for event professionals and event industry excellence. It promotes high standards and professionalism in the events industry with the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program and signature program activities. The CMP credential is recognized globally as the badge of excellence in the events industry. The qualifications for certification are based on professional experience, education, and a rigorous exam. The four signature programs – Sustainability and Social Impact, Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX), Knowledge and Leadership – represent the key initiatives, assets, services, and products for the Events Industry Council.

Member Cost: This organization offers a wide range of resources for event planners but does not offer individual memberships.

Offerings: CMP Study Materials, CMP Exam Application, CMP Exam Administration, CMP Directory, List of CMP Preferred Providers

Annual events: EIC Global Recognition Awards Ceremony

#2. PCMA – Professional Convention Management Association

PCMA educates, inspires, and listens, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose, and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA, and LATAM, and members in 59 countries.

Member Cost: $360 Business Event Organizer – They offer a $120 NextGen rate for individuals 30 years of age or younger.

Offerings: Local Chapters, Educational Workshops, Free Job Postings, Job Board, Members Only Directory, Access to recorded sessions and speakers

Annual events: 2023 PCMA Convening Leaders

#3. MPI – Meeting Professionals International

MPI serves the entirety of the meeting and event industry, regardless of need, audience, or specialization. MPI delivers leadership and education that is not only credible—they’re actionable. We empower our community to visualize and execute one-of-a-kind experiences that inspire people to evolve their outlooks, reexamine their preconceptions, and take positive action.

Because when we meet, we think in ways previously unthought. Because when we meet, we break through barriers that keep us apart. When we meet, we change the world.

Member Cost: Tiered member pricing from $305 up to $475

Offerings: Local Chapters, Certificate Programs, Networking Opportunities, MPI Academy, Educational Programming, Volunteer Opportunities

Annual events: MPI WEC 2023 

#4.  ASAE – American Society of Association Executives

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 45,000 members, 1,675 through organization-paid memberships and 10,340 through individually paid memberships. In 2020, ASAE celebrated 100 years of making the world better, safer, and smarter.

With the support of the ASAE Research Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge, and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession and provides resources, education, ideas, and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community.

Cost: Starting at $325 for individual membership

Offerings: Conferences, Training, CAE Certification Exam, Advocacy, and Leadership Development Resources

Annual Events: ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition

#5. National Coalition for Black Meeting Planners – NCBMP

The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization dedicated primarily to the training needs of African-American meeting planners.

The organization is committed to the improvement of the meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and conventions they manage. Members of NCBMP include meeting planners from numerous business, civil rights, church, and fraternal organizations. Associate membership is available to individuals who represent hotels, convention bureaus, city government officers, airlines, and other suppliers who offer services to the meeting and convention community.

Since its founding, NCBMP has made a significant impact in the hospitality community by identifying the sizable purchasing power and impact of the African-American convention.

Cost: Starting at $225 for individual membership

Offerings: Educational Webinars, Live Educational Events, Career Center

Annual Events: 39th Annual Conference 

#6. SGMP – Society of Government Meeting Professionals 

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) was founded in 1981 and is the only national organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to individuals who plan and execute government meetings.  We deliver our membership value of education, resources and networking to nearly 2,000 members in 19 chapters across the country.  Our National Education Conference and Expo is held annually, and we offer Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) certification to planners and suppliers who demonstrate their expertise with the rules and regulations of running high-impact, ethical government meetings.

Cost: Starting at $55 for individual membership

Offerings: CGMP Certification, Training Webinars, Live Educational Sessions, Chapter Membership, Government Planning Resources

Annual Events: 2023 National Education Conference

#7. NAEP- National Association of Event Planners 

The National Association of Event Planners is dedicated and promises to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, raising the level of education and ensuring uniformity, and promoting career success on a national basis in the wedding and special event industry.

Cost: Multiple Membership Tiers starting at FREE

Offerings: Job Postings, Events, Networking

Annual Events: None

#8. ICCA – International Congress and Convention Association 

ICCA is the global association leader for the international meetings industry and specializes in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivaled data, education, communication channels, and business development and networking opportunities. Since its establishment in 1963, ICCA represents the world’s top destinations and most experienced suppliers specialized in handling, transporting, and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 1,100 member companies and organizations in almost 100 countries and territories worldwide.

As of 2020 ICCA encompasses all major stakeholders in the world of association meetings, by opening its doors to associations with the launch of the “ICCA Association Community”, offering education, connections, tools, and resources to associations to organize more effective meetings.

Cost: Multi-Tiered starting at $150

Offerings: Networking, Education, International Resources

Annual Events: ICCA 2022 

#9. IAEE – International Association of Exhibitions and Events 

Organized in 1928 as the National Association of Exposition Managers to represent the interests of trade shows and exposition managers, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® is the leading association for the global exhibition industry. Today IAEE represents over 12,000 individuals in over 50 countries who conduct and support exhibitions around the world.

Cost: Individual and Industry Memberships starting at $579

Offerings: Education, Networking, Advocacy, Certification

Annual Events: IAEE Expo! Expo!

#10. CEMA – Corporate Event Marketing Association 

CEMA is a thriving community of corporate event marketers. We serve all senior-level event marketers in a corporate environment. The diversity of our corporate membership continues to expand, and our recent acceptance as members of the Events Industry Council (EIC) has enabled us to expand our reach even further. Our differentiator is our non-selling, peer-to-peer environment. Conversations among participants at our events focus on best practice sharing and knowledge sharing. Relationships are first and foremost. Professionals do business with other professionals they trust. CEMA facilitates those connections and lifelong industry friendships. CEMA members engage in person through educational and networking opportunities offered each month around the country.

Cost: Individual Memberships starting at $350

Offerings: Job Boards, Networking, Recourses, OnDemand Learning, Live Events

Annual Events: 2022 CEMA Summit

What Next?

No matter where you are in your meeting planner journey, continuing education is important for learning, professional development, and evolving with the events industry. Most of these associations offer continuing education (or CEUs) to event planners. These can be in the form of live webinars, recorded webinars, digital magazines, and/or courses.

Here’s a blog that talks about the top 5 easiest ways to earn CMP credits.

Read it now  >> 

Team EVA loves learning and sharing information. Our live webinars are CAE, CMP, and CEM-approved sessions. Learn from the industry experts, and speakers, the top tips, insights, and recommendations that meeting planners can easily implement for enhanced meeting success.

View all live and on-demand webinars

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