A March Madness Highlight Reel for Associations

Perhaps one of the most popular discussion topics during the spring is March Madness. Here’s a roundup of some of the NCAA tournament’s most fascinating association angles.

Feverishly trying to finish out your bracket? Still bummed that a number 1 seed in your heart only got a number 2 placement?

You’re far from alone. Over the years, March Madness has proven to be top of mind in the world of associations and nonprofits. With that in mind, we wanted to look back (and forward) at some of the different angles we’ve talked about related to the NCAA tournament. Consider it a highlight reel of sorts:

Should you dampen the March Madness cheer? No way. A 2015 report from the consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, Inc. found that it caused a collective loss of productivity of around $2 billion that year. (And, apparently, things have gotten worse on the financial loss front: The cost is up to $2.1 billion per hour, according to this year’s version of the report, adding up to more than $13.3 billion in total.) Even so, the consultants warned that the cost to businesses would be even more if the phenomenon were held back. “If anything, employers should embrace March Madness and seek ways to use it as a tool to boost employee morale and engagement,” the firm said.

Bracket goodness ahoy. Since 2012, the nonprofit Brackets for Good—a group launched in the basketball-crazy state of Indiana, of course—has helped to raise millions of dollars, despite the fact that it only operates about five and a half weeks out of the year. Recently, the nonprofit shifted its model, previously built around competitive charity donations, into one that allows some of the money to go to the charity of the donor’s choice, with the rest going to a national pool that will benefit the top 10 charities submitted. Perhaps it’s a little less bracket-y, but everyone still wins.

A sports bar in the expo hall. As we pointed out in 2016, the American Pet Products Association hosts its annual Global Pet Expo around the start of the NCAA tournament, with this year’s edition taking place March 21–23, right as the tournament begins. Rather than competing with the show, APPA has in the past integrated it into the event, with the association’s young professionals committee operating a sports bar on the expo floor. In comments to Pet Business, APPA Executive Vice President and COO Andrew Darmohraj stated that the group is embracing that approach again this year. “It should be a lot more fun this year, because there’s an NCAA March Madness focus, since some of the games are actually being played while the show is going on,” he told the outlet.

(Kameleon007/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!