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Does Your Association’s Structure Stifle Success?

Associations Now

A startup mentality can help an association generate new ideas. But success has less to do with “failing fast” than knowing how your organizational structure stands in your way. Silicon Valley is the last place you’d look for hard-core fans of challenging Irish playwrights, but in recent years a few lines by Samuel Beckett have become a cliché in the startup culture there : “Try again.

Core Values Are Not Enough

Jamie Notter

Core values seem to be somewhat popular among companies that get involved in culture work. It's almost a necessary box to tick. Gather your staff for an off-site, have them reflect about their personal values, then the corporate values, and then narrow down and word-smith your list of values so they can then be printed into posters you put on the wall. In that respect, I like core values. Culture

Retention is a Relationship

Spark Consulting

And you can’t claim to have a relationship with people you don’t know. This topic has come up frequently with clients in the past six months, both within full engagements, where we’ve been looking at how to increase membership, and in speaking engagements, where I’m trying to help chapter leaders learn how to be more effective. That’s a data issue. ACTING is key.

What 15 Year-Olds Can Teach Organizations About Content Strategy

Higher Logic

This guest post is by Jill Andreu, Naylor’s vice president of content strategy and development. Jill is responsible for the overall strategy, direction, leadership and management of Naylor’s editorial department. A colleague recently told me a story about how his 15-year-old daughter carries out her content strategy on Instagram. She doesn’t call it content strategy. Who is your audience? Really?

5 People You Need on Your Association's Online Community Management Team


Regardless of how talented your community managers are, it takes more than community professionals to create a sustainable community that provides consistent engagement and value. So, who should you invite to the table when it comes to planning and managing your association’s private online community ? It’s not just members and volunteer leaders that help create a robust peer-to-peer environment.

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Why Is Strategic Planning Repelling Association Boards?

SCD Group

“To dream big or dream small takes the same amount of energy. So, why not stretch a little bit?” – Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev A potential client called asking if I could facilitate a “deep dive session” on how to grow the association. He said,“That’s it!” Then, when reviewing my draft proposal, he said,“You need to remove ‘strategic’ from the proposal. Why is that? Or, a new process?

5 Tips for Building a Content Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits


Content Planning Beyond Just Website Design and SEO. Compared to the corporate sector, it’s safe to say that funding resources are more limited for non-profit organizations. Because of this, there can be more of a struggle to produce engaging content on a regular basis. This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it hasn’t quite become the paradigm yet. How can you speak to them?

From Dysfunctional To Dynamic: Tips For Effective Board Meetings

Wild Apricot Blog

Here are highlights from our Expert Webinar – Tools For More Effective Board Meetings – with Rick Lent. leadership webinars

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Innovating the Lean Startup Way

Eric Lanke

Elizabeth Weaver Engel of Spark Consulting has another white paper out. It's the third or fourth one I've read from her shop, and it's another good one. This one was co-authored with Guillermo Ortiz de Zarate of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and it's titled " Innovate the Lean Way: Applying Lean Startup Methodology in the Association Environment. " It's great.

The Four Trends That Shaped the Millennials

Jamie Notter

I spoke this week at the Direct Marketing Association's annual meeting --twice actually: I did a "book club" session on When Millennials Take Over , and then I had a concurrent session on "What the Experienced Marketer Can Learn from Millennials." But it's useful to take a step back and look at what shaped the Millennials to begin with. I've identified four big influences: The social Internet.

Review: When Millennials Take Over

Spark Consulting

“Every 20 years or so, a new generation enters the workforce, and the rest of us, quite frankly, freak out about it.” ” . Their basic thesis is that the environment in which our organizations operate has changed – we have to move faster, with less hierarchy and more sharing of information, and learn how to be digital native institutions. Sounds hard, right? Clear. Fluid.

There Are 100 Million Millennials - Are You Ready?

Higher Logic

Generations expert (and my co-author and partner) Jamie Notter recently posted this extensive article detailing some numbers research he has been doing around exactly how many Millennials there are. It’s important stuff, so I’m going to interrupt my regular column to point you to it. This is what they have for the population in 2014: Baby Boomers: 65 million. Generation X: 88 million. What?!

7 Attractive Member Benefits for Virtual Members of Your Association


Have you ever noticed the large number of corporate brands that market on some variation of having it your way ? There’s Burger King, Subway, Kmart, Walt Disney World, and many others. This trend in customer expectations extends well beyond consumer brands. Association Management Member Engagement Association Trends

Association Chat: The Digital Organization

KiKi L'Italien's Acronym Soup

I''ve been reading an excellent book by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, When Millennials Take Over , that identifies four capacities for the future of business: Digital, Clear, Fluid, and Fast. The March 24, 2015 edition of Association Chat will focus on The Digital Organization - inspired by this great book. Is your association a digital organization? We''ll discuss during today''s chat.

How the British Woodworking Federation grew by 28%

Optimist Consulting

I was recently invited to Tweet on behalf of the Trade Association Forum at their Best Practice Exchange which showcased some of the winners from their annual awards earlier in the year. During the day I saw a presentation by Dave Campbell, Marketing & Training Manager at the British Woodworking Federation. Read my reflections on his insightful presentation below. . About the BWF. The plan.

What My New Apple Watch Made Me Think About Standards Groups

Association Management

I love a new toy. That’s why I was so excited to get my Apple Watch last week. And as I hit the one - week mark, a few lessons have struck me: Experience starts at the beginning. Apple is known for its packaging, and this exemplified why. Opening the watch felt like an event. And, more critically, it was thought through. Every box had an “easy open” tab clearly marked. In action, the up side.

7 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Association Website

Vanguard Tech

Spring is in the air! It’s time to open the windows, dust every inch of our homes, clean the drapes, exhaust the stale winter indoors drudgery and usher in a fresh, clean spring experience. With all this cleaning going on, we asked our team for some suggestions on how to freshen up the spaces where we spend all our time — association websites. Here are their top tips

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6 Social Tools to Use Immediately After You Hit “Publish”


You have invested in that content. Your awesome team was involved. You all have edited, polished, and (finally!) published it. Time to sit back, relax, and wait for the views. Right? Um, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your work isn’t done. All of those fancy auto-post social tools can lull us into a false sense of confidence. In fact, publishing your article is just the first step.

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The State of Email Design Stinks

Associations Now

If you’d like to push the envelope with an email message, you might be in for a world of pain. Like web design in general a decade ago, email design remains mired in a set of inconsistent standards and poor rendering support by popular clients. The result is that email marketers are often stuck playing it safe. My hands are all over that thing. The result is hurting email design as a whole.

ASAE Annual Exhibitors Miss Another Opportunity

Reid All About it

Yesterday, one of my friends started a conversation on Facebook about all the post-show emails sent by ASAE Annual exhibitors. We’re not receiving nearly the deluge of emails that go out before the show, but, once again, many of these emails are missing the mark. Segment your list. You scanned badges. You know the names of the attendees who visited your booth during the show. Right? Become an ally.

Two Numbers that Will Wake You Up

Jamie Notter

100 million and 77%. The first number represents the number of Millennials in the United States. Only about half of them are in the workforce at the moment, and they will be the ONLY segment in the workforce that grows every year over the next decade (while the rest of us decline, I'm afraid). They only asked 1,000 Millennials, but this isn't the first survey that has suggested this. image credit.

A Lean Startup Conversation

Spark Consulting

Guillermo Ortiz de Zarate and I recently had the chance to sit down with Rick Rutherford of Yourmembership.com to talk in a little more detail about some of the ideas raised in our new whitepaper, Innovate the Lean Way. Our conversation touched on issues like: What failure really is – and isn’t – and why it shouldn’t scare us so much. How you get agreement to get started.

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Three Reasons You Need a Dedicated Community Manager

Higher Logic

At first glance, an online community appears to be a harmless task to add to a worthy colleague's plate. For example, if the membership manager already speaks to your members every day, doesn't it make sense for that person to take over the responsibility of the online community? Isn't the community just moving your everyday conversations online? Make your community measurably more successful.

The 10 Most Popular Member Engagement Articles of the Year


Association Management Member Engagement Online Community Management

Association Chat: Mobile Apps for Your Association Events

KiKi L'Italien's Acronym Soup

This week, I''ll be moderating a panel of experts on the subject of event apps for the Potomac Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (PMPI). To go along with that theme, event apps will be the focus of this week''s Association Chat.and there''s a lot to talk about! Here are some of the questions I plan on asking during the chat: What are your biggest concerns about adopting an event app?

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3 steps to improve how you communicate the value of membership

Optimist Consulting

33% of organisations say that their main barrier to growth is effectively communicating the value of membership. One of the difficulties for organisations is that the perceived value of membership is different depending upon the member and what they see as a valuable part of membership could be quite different to someone else. What do members want? What does your membership package look like?

A Little Something About 20-somethings

Association Management

For over a decade, I have been attending standards and technology-focused events sponsored by client associations as well as forums hosted by venerable U.S. and global standards-focused organizations. For most, it’s definitely not their first “rodeo.”. At Virtual, we are often asked by our clients “what can we do to attract younger members and get them more involved?” Set Reasonable Goals.

Remove the Kitchen Sink from Your Website Homepage

Vanguard Tech

We’ve been doing a lot of usability studies and user interviews for a variety of client websites recently. And there’s one specific comment that just about everyone says about their association’s website. There’s too much stuff!! web strategy usability content strategy

How to Bring Your Business Blog to the Next Level


Guest post by the awesome Ann Smarty. —————-. Your business blog is a failure. You get your team publish something there once in a while but you still have hard time justifying the cost of maintaining it. But you keep updating it because all your competitors have blogs. Sounds familiar? What gives? Is there something wrong with your content? No, not really. Conclusion.

The Next Gen Wants in the Door


I had the pleasure of spending last weekend with a group of great “early career” PTs. What sticks with me though is the. confirmation that our associations will be well-cared for and nurtured – and yes, changed – by our newest professionals


The ASAE Annual Exhibitor Email Deluge

Reid All About it

Every year, when I register for the ASAE Annual Meeting, I check the box to receive emails from exhibitors. As a writer/marketer, I like seeing how vendors in my community use email marketing. Some of them do it well, but some, oh boy, they really blow it. The list ASAE provides to exhibitors includes association execs and staff as well as consultant members like myself. Comply with that agreement.

The One Thing You Must Confront About Your Culture

Jamie Notter

Culture work has a way of skewing towards the ideal. We spend time fleshing out our core values, leadership principles, and an ideal vision of how awesome our organization is, or least how awesome it could be. And that's all fine, but it does not excuse us from needing to confront the most important thing about our culture: The truth. You must be honest about "what is." Lots of turnover.

Recruit the Whole Person

Spark Consulting

Last week, I was teaching the volunteer management course for ASAE’s Association Management Week with the smart and talented Andrea Rutledge (Executive Director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board), and she and I got chatting about membership recruitment. Andrea’s been a volunteer with ASAE’s research committee, which supports the work of the ASAE Foundation, and we specifically got talking about the Future of Membership project. What they discovered in all cases was that the Decision to Join was not an individual one. ” Really? Is this even on your radar?

The State of the Community Industry: A Return to Community-Driven Business

Higher Logic

David Spinks, founder of CMX, has been building communities since he was 13 years old. He attributes shifts like organizing for the gaming industry, joining Twitter and following thought leaders like Seth Godin and Lisa Gansky to his community success. The common thread is using technology to bring people together. The return to community. Think about these examples: Airbnb. Product Hunt. Duolingo.