Incredible Impacts Programme

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.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “Creating a lasting legacy has become pivotal in the planning of meaningful meetings and events and we want to educate associations on how this can be achieved successfully. Incredible Impacts will not only showcase examples of excellence but will inspire others to actively incorporate this into their own events.

“At BestCities we aim to nurture and develop the purpose of events beyond traditional planning, focusing on vital areas including legacy development, sustainability and accessibility so we’re excited to see what will come of the Incredible Impacts programme and the diverse range of entrants that we receive.”

ICCA Interim CEO Dennis Speet 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

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 30 June 2019

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 on 15 July 2019 to receive notification whether they have been selected for the 2nd round or not.

Qualifying criteria – 2nd round

Shortlisted candidates are requested to complete this form with back-up documentation or links to website 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 submissions for the 2nd round is 29 July 2019

Judging panel

-Louise St. Germain, Director of Membership and Marketing, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), USA

-Tracy Bury, Director, World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT), United Kingdom

-Elisabeth Pollard, Executive Director, World Parkinson Coalition Inc (WPC), USA

-Cary Adams, CEO, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), France

-Levi Wickwire, Program Manager,Society for Ecological Restoration, USA


An independent jury will select three grant recipients from the maximum of 12 submissions by 12 August 2019. The three winners will be requested to present their case study at the ICCA Congress* in Houston, 27- 30 October 2019.  

* Cost of attending the ICCA Congress (registration fee, travel and accommodation) will be covered by ICCA

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.