The Legacy of Associations

Written by Octavio Peralta on October 10, 2018

Nowadays in the association world, I hear a lot about building a “legacy,” especially in the context of what associations “leave behind” after organizing events in a venue destination.

In his article in Legatus magazine, Paul J. Voss writes that the word legacy has been used exclusively as a noun for nearly 500 years but has expanded its original meaning and now signifies a “gift” or “bequest” transmitted from one person (or one generation) to another. He adds, “used as a noun in this fashion, legacy carries a wholly positive meaning and represents an act of love, charity and care.”

In “Three Legacy Opportunities for Associations,” an article in the April 2017 issue of Boardroom magazine, Keith Burton and Kristen Tremeer wrote: “International professional associations that convene congresses in destinations around the world mustn’t miss out on the opportunity to leave a legacy that reflects the values of the association, whether tangible or intangible, social, or economic or environmental.” It then offers three legacy opportunities for associations:

  • Community engagement: Examples are planting a vegetable garden for a seniors’ center, building a playground for a preschool or constructing a library at a community center. It’s a “volun-tourism” approach that gives visitors to a destination a chance to interact with local residents they might not have otherwise been able to meet.
  • Content-driven: Examples range from the establishment of an endowment in a relevant university department to a scholarship for participants from developing economies to attend future congresses, or using the host association’s members as congress volunteers.
  • Skills transfer: An example is a mobile clinic in an underdeveloped facility staffed by leading physicians, who treat and train their local counterparts or special training sessions for students in a particular field.

But how about legacy “beyond events?” What legacy do associations give to society? Below are some examples of what Philippine associations and other member-serving organizations have done and are still doing. These outstanding legacy projects have been recognized by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) through its annual “Ang Susi” Awards:

The Cement Manufacturers’ Association of the Philippines’s “Road Safety Program” aims to standardize road-safety guidelines among all its member-companies’ trucking contractors.

The National Confederation of Cooperatives’ “Aflatoun Social and Financial Education Program” allows children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to manage their own savings accounts and learn about savings, spending and budgeting, among others.

The Philippine Franchise Association’s “Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) Program” offers franchise professionals the opportunity to learn, grow professionally and reach a recognized standard of excellence in the franchise community.

Alalay sa Kaunlaran Foundation’s “Agriculture Value Chain for Onion Farmers in San Jose City: Onion and Vegetable Producers Cooperative” helps onion farmers to have a sustainable agricultural livelihood and uplift their socioeconomic condition by adding value to their produce with stable pricing and market availability.

These legacy projects demonstrate that associations not only provide services to members but also benefit a wider community and, in effect, have the potential to contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.

Bobby will be speaking in the “A Glimpse Into the Future of Global Associations” session during SURGE Optimism 2018, an interactive virtual conference hosted by on November 7th-9th. Click here to learn more and register.