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ICCA and BestCities team up for Incredible Impacts Programme

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Related topics: Legacy & advocacy

What is the Incredible Impacts Programme?

The Incredible Impacts Programme celebrates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings to create a powerful platform to advocate their positive societal impact. A panel of independent judges form the association world will determine which meetings have proven impact to award three grants of USD 7,500 on behalf of BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA.

The partnership is a direct result of ICCA’s five-year strategic plan which was launched at the end of 2015, compromising of six strategic goals. With a number of these goals, including full engagement with association clients and more effective global knowledge sharing, closely aligned to BestCities’ own ambitions, discussions commenced in July 2016 to explore potential opportunities. The result is a strategic partnership that celebrates and directly advocates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings.

Lesley Williams, Managing Director of BestCities said: “At BestCities, we’ve always believed that the ‘beyond tourism’ impact of international association meetings is far more valuable than just delegates through the door.

“The Incredible Impacts programme shines a global spotlight on the innovative thinking and creativity in the meetings industry, demonstrating the beyond tourism impact and lasting legacy we can leave behind us. It’s not just about rewarding associations who are showcasing examples of excellence, but also to inspire others to incorporate their own legacy initiatives into future events.

Every year we are inspired by the legacy-making, often life-changing work showcased through our programme, and we look forward to shining a light on associations who are helping to shape tomorrow’s world”

ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath stated: “The biggest shift in the global meetings market over the last decade has been the mindset change from “part of tourism” to “economic and societal impact”.  It’s now broadly accepted that even though meeting delegates are one of the most valuable tourism sectors in terms of their direct spend in a destination, the biggest value from international association meetings comes from the vast quantities of knowledge that are created and shared, the inward investment and business connections that are stimulated, and the societal, healthcare and economic challenges that are addressed and solved. Incredible Impacts has been designed to celebrate some of the best examples of projects that showcase the wider impact of these meetings, and more importantly, to encourage greater awareness and new projects.  We’re grateful for BestCities generous support, and look forward to hearing some amazing stories about the power of meetings.”

Who can apply?
Any international association whose meeting fits any of the following criteria:
•   Knowledge and/or skills transfers to developing countries –
     especially if carried out in a creative manner or with very high impact.
•   Knowledge and/or skills transfers to disadvantaged groups.
•   Facilitating attendance and active participation by delegates from developing countries or
    disadvantaged groups (eg ex-refugees).
•   Public awareness-raising of an environmental, healthcare, or societal challenge or
     potential solution.
•   Policy-maker awareness-raising of an environmental, healthcare-related, or societal
     challenge or potential solution.
•   Educational outreach in the host destination (eg to schools or universities, or even the
     general public).
•   Advancing or empowering young, future intellectual and/or societal leaders – from
     within the association or beyond.
•   Long-lasting legacy programmes delivered within the host destination (could be
     charity, investment, R&D, scholarships, etc).

We are also open to any other proposal covers the general objective of this programme.

Nominate your association
Associations can nominate themselves or candidate associations can be nominated by any ICCA member. Nominations should be sent to ICCA’s Director of Association Relations Mrs. Ksenija Polla, CMP by email before 24 July 2020

Application process

Qualifying criteria – 1st round
If the association meeting meets any of the given criteria simply send through a general description and argument why you believe your entry should be considered, with a link to any online information or evidence. This should be submitted to Ksenija Polla, CMP before 24 July 2020

After this first round, all shortlisted associations (a maximum of 12 entries) will be requested to submit more information for the 2nd round. All applicants will be contacted 7 August 2020 to receive notification whether they have been selected for the 2nd round or not.

Qualifying criteria – 2nd round
Shortlisted candidates are requested to complete a form with back-up documentation or links to websites for the following:
1.    Objective(s) of the programme/project
2.    Clear description (including history, how it works, who participates, etc)
3.    Particularly creative, innovative, or impact elements in the programme
4.    Evidence of impact/success
5.    Testimonials by participants, or from other stakeholders, or links to where this info can be obtained
6.    How they would like to expand or enhance the programme if their association received the grant of US$7,500.

Deadline for 2nd round submissions is 21 August 2020.

Judging panel

  • Louise St. Germain, Director of Membership and Marketing, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), USA
  • Tracy Bury, Director, World Physiotherapy, United Kingdom 
  • Cary Adams, CEO, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), France
  • Pippa Powell, European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society
  • Sophie Andriol, International Aids Society, Switzerland
  • Pragathi Tummala, The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, USA

The jury will select three grant recipients from the maximum of 12 submissions mid-September 2020. The winners will be announced mid-September. The three winners will be requested to present their case study at the ICCA Congress* in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei, 1-4 November 2020.  * Cost of attending the ICCA Congress (registration fee, travel and accommodation) will be covered by ICCA. 

Related Stories

Apply for an Incredible Impacts Grant to communicate the value of your association meetings

Inaugural Winners of Incredible Impacts Grants Announced

Incredible Impacts: The Beyond Tourism Impact of Meetings

Incredible Impacts: Making a Mark

Incredible Impacts: World Parkinson Coalition

Incredible Impacts: World Confederation for Physical Therapy

Incredible Impacts: ISTH's Kyoto Legacy

Incredible Impacts of Association Meetings: Bogotá - ‘Not a regular bid’

Incredible Impacts Grant Winner 2017: World Parkinson Coalition

Incredible Impacts Grant Winner 2017: World Confederation for Physical Therapy

Incredible Impacts Grant Winner 2017: International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis

2018 Incredible Impacts shortlist announced

Winners of Incredible Impacts 2018 grants announced 

ICCA and BestCities announce 2019 winners of Incredible Impacts Grants

Lessons in legacy: European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society

Lessons in legacy: International Aids Society

Lessons in legacy: The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect


Escrow Trust Services
Incredible Impact funds will be held in trust and released directly to grant recipients by Meeting Escrow Inc., an independent provider of secure payment and escrow solutions for the meetings industry worldwide. 
ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath commented: "For complete transparency, it is important these grant funds not be commingled with ICCA or BestCities operational accounts, and that recipients have the confidence they will automatically receive payments when qualifying projects are scheduled to take place.  Financial security is a very important concern for associations, and we want to demonstrate how this type of escrow service can help streamline and secure their financial affairs.” 
Meeting Escrow President & CEO Grant Snider commented: “We’re very proud to be supporting Incredible Impacts with our award-winning Escrow Trust Services.  Association meetings deliver vitally important societal value and by protecting their financial assets, whether funds received from sponsors and registrants, or funds paid out to vendors, we form an important part of their overall risk management strategy.”

Learn more about topics: Legacy & advocacy
For More Information:
Email Ksenija Polla
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