January 26, 2023

SocialOffset Launches; Allows Event Attendees & Organizers to Align Values with State Laws

Nonprofit Serves the Association and Event Industries  

Washington, DC –, the nonprofit platform that allows meeting attendees to align their values and their spending, completed its startup phase and shifted to operations hosting its first campaign in January with a series of events to follow.

The platform was developed by its volunteer board and volunteer support teams, fueled by strong industry support. SocialOffset is similar to the carbon offset model. Taxes paid through attendee and event organizer spending at meetings in U.S. where laws do not align with their values are offset with directed donations to charities that do.  Attendees bring their values with them and support local organizations that make a difference in peoples’ lives. 

“Nonprofit and association boards are energized by the opportunity to relaunch events in a post-Covid environment,” noted cofounder and president Elena Gerstmann. “At the same time, attendees can be conflicted between needing to engage with their professional and industry networks and not wanting to support states that have enacted restrictive legislation targeted at specific groups. SocialOffset gives everyone involved a third way. At its most basic level, SocialOffset says “no” to event boycotts and “yes” to making a difference.”

The options for associations have not been good: risk alienating members, losing attendance, reputational harm to the organization’s mission; cancel or move a meeting, often at substantial expense: limit the locations under consideration for future conferences based on today’s political climate.

Once an event organizer or a destination partners with SocialOffset to host their offsetting campaign, 100% of the funds donated by meeting attendees are donated to one or more vetted, local nonprofits that deliver programs, services, and advocacy for racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, hunger relief, housing security, environmental sustainability, and reproductive freedom.  

When the concept was outlined to key players in the events and hospitality industry, three leading destinations stepped up with financial support immediately – Visit Salt Lake, Visit Austin, and Visit Seattle. Additional Founding Partnerships are still available for a limited time. In addition, several industry service providers have stepped up to provide pro bono support, including Tenenbaum Law Group LLC, WiredBrains, Association Chat, and Flock Theory, with many other people and organizations raising their hands to volunteer. “The nonprofit community stretches far beyond associations, to include our industry partners and trusted advisors,” noted Gerstmann. “We have barely needed to state our need for help before legal, banking and management support has been offered by others in our industry concerned about the potential impact of state-based restrictions and the willingness of organizational members to engage and connect in-person.”

The SocialOffset inaugural board of directors features respected leaders from the association and event industries, including: Marc Beebe, treasurer; Beth Surmont, secretary; Christie Tarantino-Dean; Erin Fuller; KiKi L’Italien; Rhonda Payne; and James Pogue. “When you have a board composed of association and industry rock stars, things happen with both speed and excellence,” said Gerstmann. She added, “This team immediately saw the urgency to create a solution and worked tirelessly over the past few months to get SocialOffset established, funded and launched.”

To help cover the cost of operating and ensure 100% of funds raised always go to designated charities local to the event, SocialOffset charges event organizers a modest $500 per campaign. Partners, who will include destinations, convention centers, hotels, speakers, entertainers, and other supplier companies, make annual investments that range from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on company type and size.

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