12 Creative Association Event Ideas


Hosting an association event can bring a myriad of benefits to your organization. These gatherings offer a platform for networking, education, and community building. In this association event planing guide, we’ll explore the advantages of hosting events, provide you with 12 event ideas to consider, and offer essential planning tips to ensure your event’s success.  Note: you can take this event planning guide and checklist and do it yourself, or with our help! Or you can invite your association members to existing events in your community.

What are the benefits of hosting an association event?
  • Networking: They facilitate connections among members and industry peers.
  • Education: Events can feature workshops and speakers to educate attendees.
  • Community Building: They foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
  • Visibility: Events enhance your association’s visibility in your industry.
  • Fundraising: They can generate revenue through ticket sales and sponsorships.
  • Membership Growth: Attracting non-members can lead to increased memberships.

12 Association Event Ideas:

1. Speaker Series

A Speaker Series event is a fantastic way to bring thought leaders and experts to your association’s members. It can feature renowned speakers, industry insiders, or innovators who share their insights, knowledge, and experiences. These sessions can be inspirational, educational, and thought-provoking, offering valuable takeaways for attendees. Topics can range from industry trends and best practices to leadership and personal development. Speaker Series events foster networking and engagement, as attendees can interact with speakers during Q&A sessions or in smaller group discussions. This format encourages knowledge sharing and builds a sense of community among association members. Whether it’s a virtual or in-person event, a Speaker Series can elevate your association’s reputation and provide members with access to valuable expertise.

2. Artisan Workshops

Artisan Workshops offer a hands-on learning experience that allows attendees to explore and develop their creative or technical skills. These workshops can cover a wide range of topics, from arts and crafts to technology and innovation. Participants get the chance to interact with instructors, ask questions, and immerse themselves in the subject matter. Workshops can be tailored to different skill levels, making them accessible to both beginners and experts. They promote active engagement, creativity, and the exchange of ideas among association members. Whether it’s a painting class, a coding workshop, or a culinary masterclass, Artisan Workshops provide a unique opportunity for skill development and camaraderie, making them a valuable addition to your association’s event lineup.

3. Evening at the Science Centre

An Evening at the Science Centre event combines entertainment and education, making it an engaging and family-friendly option for your association. Participants, including members and their families, can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and hands-on activities. These evenings often take place after regular operating hours, providing exclusive access to the facility. It’s an excellent opportunity for children and adults alike to expand their knowledge while having fun.

Attendees can witness captivating experiments, stargaze in a planetarium, or participate in science-themed games and challenges. Moreover, this event can be a powerful way to foster a love for science among the younger generation and promote STEM education. By organizing an “Evening at the Science Centre,” your association not only offers a memorable experience but also reinforces its commitment to lifelong learning and community engagement.  In Alberta, we have two exceptional science centres: TELUS Spark Science Centre in Calgary and TELUS World of Science in Edmonton.

4. Sport-A-Thon

The Sport-A-Thon is an energetic and active event that brings association members together for a day of friendly sports competition and physical activity. Participants can engage in various sports and games, from traditional ones like soccer and curling to quirky and fun relay races or obstacle courses.  And we cannot forget about the current fandom of Pickle Ball!

This event promotes a healthy lifestyle, teamwork, and camaraderie among your members. It can be structured as a tournament, where teams compete for prizes, or as a recreational day for all skill levels. The Sport-A-Thon can also serve as a fundraising opportunity if you charge entry fees or seek sponsorships.

To enhance the experience, consider providing refreshments, music, and a festive atmosphere. Sport-A-Thons not only encourage physical fitness but also create lasting memories and strengthen the sense of community within your association. It’s an excellent way to bring members of all ages and abilities together in the spirit of fun and competition.

5. Comedy Hour

   A Comedy Hour is a lighthearted and entertaining event that offers association members a chance to unwind and share laughter. It typically features a stand-up comedy show with professional comedians or talented members who can take the stage. Comedy has a universal appeal, making it an excellent choice to bring diverse members together for an evening of amusement.

 Laughter is known to reduce stress, boost morale, and strengthen social bonds. By organizing a Comedy Hour, your association can create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere where members can connect and have a good time. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase the comedic talents of your members, adding a personal touch to the event.

Consider providing refreshments and a cozy venue to enhance the experience. This event can be a valuable addition to your association’s event calendar, offering a break from routine and fostering a sense of community through shared laughter.

6. Live Band/Music

Hosting a Live Band/Music event brings the joy of music to your association’s members. You can feature local bands or musicians, offering a diverse range of musical genres to cater to different tastes. Whether it’s jazz, rock, classical, or contemporary, live music has a unique power to captivate audiences and create memorable experiences.

This event can be hosted indoors or outdoors, depending on your association’s preferences and the season. It provides an opportunity for members to socialize, dance, and appreciate live performances. Live music has a magical way of connecting people through shared emotions and rhythms.

To enhance the ambiance, consider incorporating a theme or setting that complements the music. Whether it’s a formal concert hall or a casual garden party, the Live Band/Music event can be tailored to suit your association’s identity and the preferences of your members. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the universal language of music within your community.

If creating this association event independently is not possible look to your community musical festivals such as Sled Island, Calgary Folk Fest, Edmonton Folk Fest

7. Art Auction

An Art Auction is a sophisticated and culturally enriching event that combines the appreciation of art with the thrill of bidding. It provides a platform for talented artists, both within and outside your association, to showcase their creations. Attendees can explore a diverse range of art forms, from paintings and sculptures to photography and crafts.

The auction itself adds an element of excitement as participants compete to acquire their favorite pieces. Art auctions can be fundraising events, with proceeds benefiting your association or a charitable cause. Alternatively, they can be focused on promoting local artists and the arts community.

To make the event even more engaging, consider inviting the artists to discuss their work or share their creative process. Provide opportunities for networking and socializing, as well as refreshments to create an enjoyable atmosphere. An Art Auction not only celebrates artistic talent but also fosters a sense of cultural appreciation within your association

8. Group Dinner Featuring Local Breweries

A group dinner featuring local breweries is a delectable and social event that combines the culinary arts with craft beer. This event offers association members the opportunity to savour delicious food while enjoying a selection of locally brewed beers.

Partnering with local breweries not only supports the community but also adds an element of uniqueness to the event. Attendees can sample a variety of craft beers, each carefully paired with different courses of the meal. This culinary journey allows for a memorable dining experience and conversations around the flavours and characteristics of each beer.

To enhance the event, consider inviting a brew master to speak about the beer-making process or provide insights into the beer selections. Additionally, create a welcoming atmosphere with tastefully decorated tables and live music. A group dinner encourages socializing, culinary exploration, and a celebration of local flavours, making it a delightful addition to your association’s event roster.  Check out Alberta Small Brewers Association for a comprehensive list of craft breweries in Alberta.

9. Casino Night

Casino Night is an exciting and entertaining event that brings the glamour and thrill of a casino to your association’s members. This night of games and entertainment typically features various casino-style games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, and slot machines, all played with fun money or chips.

Casino Night offers a chance for members to socialize, try their luck, and enjoy a high-energy atmosphere reminiscent of a Las Vegas casino. It’s a versatile event that can be tailored to suit your association’s goals, whether it’s fundraising, networking, or simply providing a memorable evening for your community.

To create an authentic casino experience, you can hire professional dealers and set up themed decorations. Consider providing prizes for those who accumulate the most chips or for winners of specific games. Casino Night encourages interaction, strategic thinking, and a sense of adventure among attendees, making it a popular and engaging addition to your association’s event calendar.

10.Silent Auction

A Silent Auction is a fundraising event that engages association members in bidding on items, services, or experiences. Unlike traditional auctions, the bidding in a silent auction is done in writing, often on bid sheets placed next to each item. This format allows attendees to peruse the offerings at their leisure and place bids discreetly.

Silent auctions can feature a wide array of items, including artwork, gift baskets, exclusive experiences, and donated goods from local businesses. The proceeds from the auction can go toward supporting your association’s initiatives or a charitable cause, adding a philanthropic element to the event.

To make the Silent Auction even more exciting, consider offering competitive starting bids, setting specific closing times for items, and creating a festive atmosphere with music and refreshments. Silent Auctions encourage friendly competition among members while contributing to a worthwhile cause.

11. Scavenger Hunt

A Scavenger Hunt is a dynamic and interactive team-building activity that can be tailored to suit the interests and objectives of your association. Participants form teams and embark on a quest to find hidden items or complete a series of challenges, often within a designated area.

Scavenger Hunts encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity as participants work together to decipher clues and complete tasks. The event can be customized to reflect your association’s theme, industry, or local landmarks, providing a unique and engaging experience for members.

To organize a successful Scavenger Hunt, plan intriguing clues, prepare a map, and offer prizes for the winning team. Consider incorporating technology, such as smartphones, to facilitate the hunt and track progress. Scavenger Hunts promote camaraderie, competition, and a sense of adventure among association members, making them a fantastic choice for team-building and community building.  If your members are all across Canada or the world, this can be don completely online, no travel required.

12. Arcade Night

Arcade Night is a nostalgic and entertaining event that transports attendees back to the golden age of gaming. It features classic arcade games like Pac-Man, pinball, and air hockey, as well as modern arcade machines with the latest titles.

This event appeals to gamers of all ages and skill levels, making it an inclusive and fun-filled experience. Attendees can compete head-to-head or collaborate on multiplayer games, fostering a sense of friendly competition and camaraderie.

To create an authentic arcade atmosphere, consider decorating the venue with neon lights and retro gaming memorabilia. Offer prizes for high scores or host tournaments for added excitement. Arcade Night not only provides entertainment but also offers a trip down memory lane for older members and introduces younger members to the joy of classic arcade gaming. It’s a fantastic way to bond and unwind with fellow association members.

Association Event Planning Checklist

  • Define event goals and objectives
  • Set a budget
  • Choose a suitable venue
  • Select a date and time
  • Develop a marketing strategy
  • Secure speakers or performers
  • Plan logistics (catering, audiovisual, etc.)
  • Create a registration process
  • Promote the event
  • Monitor registrations and ticket sales
  • Execute the event smoothly
  • Gather feedback for future improvements


  1. Is it hard to plan an association event? Planning an association event can be challenging, but with proper organization, it’s manageable. It involves various tasks such as logistics, promotion, and content curation. Having a well-structured plan and a dedicated team can make the process smoother.
  2. What makes a successful association event? A successful association event is one that meets its objectives, engages attendees, and leaves a lasting impression. Key factors include effective marketing, relevant content, seamless organization, and attendee satisfaction.
  3. How do you attract people to an association event? To attract attendees, use targeted marketing, offer valuable content or entertainment, and provide networking opportunities. Leverage social media, email campaigns, and partnerships within your industry to reach a wider audience.



Reach out to us for more creative ideas and how we can elevate your association event.

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