Lunchtime Links: The Next Generation of Swap Meets

The sharing economy group Peers isn't afraid go ground-level when drumming up member interest in its initiatives. Also: Improv Everywhere's epic events aren't just made for YouTube.

Sometimes, the best way to get people interested in your organization isn’t by holding big, showy events. It’s by holding small ones—and banking on the appeal of counter-programming.

More on the strategy one industry group is using in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Get people sharing: The “sharing economy” group Peers, which has the backing of such big-name startups as Airbnb and Crowdtilt, has built a name for itself through member-focused events. Its latest effort? Something the group calls PeersSwap, a response to the flashiness of Fashion Week. The Peers blog describes PeersSwap as a monthlong “series of member-driven clothing swaps around the world, where friends and neighbors will share clothes they no longer wear, and trade for new ones they’ll enjoy.” The first PeersSwaps were held on February 6— the start of New York City’s Fashion Week. Sound a little … practical? That’s kind of the idea. “As Fashion Week takes place around the globe, PeersSwap provides another avenue for citizens to participate and model sharing as an on-trend and practical opportunity that is both fun and affordable,” Executive Director Natalie Foster explained in a press release. In case you’d like to hop on board, check the Peers website, which features events taking place in 50 cities worldwide through March 5.

When dues are delinquent: So, problem for the money folks—when renewal time hits, how do you get members to pay? Writing on Social Media for Chambers, content creator Christina Green notes the challenges that might come with renewal—including the downside of not being a stickler about the renewal notices. “Collections never look good for a chamber community but then neither does floating a member and allowing them to take advantage of member benefits when they haven’t paid,” she writes. “If you do this, word will spread and other members will conveniently forget to renew in a timely manner knowing they will still be able to participate in membership.” What’s the right balance here?

Making a moment magical: As spontaneous events go, the well-known Improv Everywhere group does it better than just about anyone else. Event planners and others might want to get their hands on the group’s new documentary, We Cause Scenes—a film that documents the project’s rise from jolly pranksters to skillful moment-makers. In an article for Fast Company, Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd says the troupe’s secret to creating videos that go viral is not to make that the aim. “We work hard to make the in-person experience as awesome as it can possibly be for those that witness it, rather than treating our events like short film shoots solely for a viral video,” he told the publication. “People can tell the difference between an authentic real-life event and something that is manufactured.” In other words, don’t try to force the viral magic to happen—just plan well and savor the moment.

What’s your best spontaneous effort? Let us know in the comments.

(via National Archives' Flickr page)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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