Five reasons why membership is killing association business models: Part I
JULY 17, 2012
Indeed, for many organizations, the membership imperative defines the very existence of the association: membership is who they are and what they do. Reason #1: Membership-centric business models organize all value around the membership relationship. Membership is perhaps the most sacred tenet in all of association orthodoxy. In a time of relentless societal transformation, however, the impact of forces beyond our control makes it necessary for us to question all of our most deep-seated beliefs, including our beliefs about membership. In the meantime, sign up today for P.I.’s
What is Associations Unorthodox?
AUGUST 27, 2012
Each shift deals with an important area of association management in which doing what has always been done too often trumps the hard work of building our organizations to thrive, even right now when the latter is both an urgent priority and a non-trivial concern. hope this post helps to explain my motivations, and places the e-book in a broader context. What do you think?
Associations Unorthodox e-book available on August 8
AUGUST 7, 2012
” In the e-book, Jeff challenges boards, CEOs, C-Suite executives and other key contributors to break free of the association community’s orthodox beliefs and make six radical shifts toward the future to help their organizations thrive in the face of relentless societal transformation: De-emphasize membership. Jeff De Cagna serves as a senior advisor to CHIEF. Eliminate budgets.
Five reasons why membership is killing association business models: Part III
JULY 31, 2012
Indeed, for many organizations, the membership imperative defines the very existence of the association: membership is who they are and what they do. In a time of relentless societal transformation, however, the impact of forces beyond our control makes it necessary for us to question all of our most deep-seated beliefs, including our beliefs about membership. For some organizations, these investments have produced a meaningful return. Membership is perhaps the most sacred tenet in all of association orthodoxy. Please share your ideas and insights in the comments below.
Three design challenges for 21st century association business models
JANUARY 14, 2013
Association boards, CEOs and senior executives will need to answer a wide variety of questions as they embark on the work of developing new business models to enable their organizations to thrive over the next decade and beyond. The practical challenge: Making the shift from membership-centric to value creation-centric business models. . Blog either by email or RSS. Thanks for reading!
Ten “next truths” of governing the 21st century association
JANUARY 9, 2013
Governing is about nurturing shared responsibility for stewardship– While boards occupy the primary role in governing, they must conduct their work in ways that include other contributors and encourage them to accept responsibility for collaborating to build a stronger organization. Governing is a conscious choice to capitalize on the loss of control– Boards can increase their influence by recognizing the loss of control as an opportunity to invite new and “unusual” contributors into collaborative relationships with their organizations.
Associations Unorthodox Shift #3:Eliminate budgets
SEPTEMBER 4, 2012
As a general rule, associations are risk averse organizations, instinctively conservative in every way, especially with their financial resources. Instead of organizing budgets around a pre-determined set of activities, association boards can function more like investors by allocating capital to fund high-level strategic priorities developed through the crowdsourcing of strategy, while trusting staff and voluntary leaders to collaborate in real time to decide on the specific approaches and investments required to achieve those priorities. The Problem. The Opportunity.
Empathy, new value creation and the stakeholders of the future
APRIL 8, 2013
For association leaders committed to building their organizations to thrive in the years ahead, empathy is anything but a threat. In early January, I wrote a post on six serious ideas for 2013 that included the concept of SED, which is short for serendipity, empathy and discovery. SED is a term I coined to inspire association leaders to shift their conversations about the future in a more generative direction. Serendipity, empathy and discovery are essential ingredients of new value creation that can be combined in appropriate measure through the work of innovation. Thank you!
Join Jeff for P.I./TMA Resources Executive Breakfast on March 6 in Alexandria, Virginia
JANUARY 30, 2013
Association boards have a unique and critical responsibility for building their organizations to thrive over the next decade and beyond, especially in the realm of business model sustainability. TMA Resources , located in Vienna, Virginia, provides member-centric organizations with the software solutions, services and partners that help keep their members and other constituents returning to them to find information, collaborate, learn and communicate with their communities. Join Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innovation on Wednesday, March 6 for the P.I./TMA Updates
Join Jeff for Better Boards Workshop on March 8 in Denver
JANUARY 16, 2013
RedRover is an award-winning national nonprofit organization, headquartered in Sacramento, California, that brings animals out of crisis and strengthens the bond between people and animals. Join Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innovation on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Denver for a full-day workshop on Building Better Boards , presented by the Colorado Society of Association Executives. Registration for the workshop is now open. Following this workshop, participants will be able to: Implement a high impact process for selecting capable board members. Updates
Serious Questions: Are associations dead?
OCTOBER 18, 2012
Can your association avoid this fate? It is impossible to know for certain, but if you’re committed to building your organization’s capacity to thrive in the years ahead, your best option is to pursue what I call “the generative work of transformation,” and not more of the creeping incrementalism our community tends to prefer. In August, I launched the P. I. Serious Questions newsletter. Each issue of the newsletter presents a serious question on which I offer my thoughts for newsletter subscribers. Today, The September 2012 Serious Question of the Month. Are associations dead?
Overcoming the association value gap: part I
MARCH 25, 2013
My article “ Trapped in the Past ,” which appears in this month’s issue of Associations Now , challenges association boards to look beyond the richness of their own association membership experiences to recognize the unintended negative consequences of their organizations’ membership-centric business models. This post originally appeared on the Associations Now Leadership Blog on March 7, 2013. To put it another way, during the most severe economic decline in most of our lifetimes, more than half of associations surveyed still moved forward with a dues increase. Thank you!
Jeff De Cagna to deliver keynote at CESSE 2013 Annual Meeting
MARCH 31, 2013
Mr. Keane is the overall volunteer organizer for CESSE 2013. CESSE, which was incorporated in 1977, is an informal, not-for-profit international organization of chief executive officers and mid-to-senior level staff members of scientific and engineering societies. The organization’s mission is to “share and examine successful approaches to managing engineering, scientific and technical societies while providing opportunities for networking and education of executives and senior staff of member societies.” Thank you! Updates
Associations Unorthdox Shift #6: Build a strategically legitimate board
OCTOBER 10, 2012
For their organizations to succeed over the next decade and beyond, therefore, association boards must reassert their strategic legitimacy, or risk losing the support of the next generation of stakeholders. Boards and CEOs that can work together to engage in “the new work of governing” will demonstrate their strategic legitimacy, and place their organizations in a much stronger position to thrive in the years ahead. The Problem . The true nature of the orthodoxy surrounding association boards is often hard to understand. It is a challenge associations must resolve to overcome.
P.I. Making Innovation Happen Survey is now open
JUNE 9, 2012
As innovation becomes a more significant strategic priority in the association community, Principled Innovation will be tracking the challenges association CEOs face in making innovation happen within their organizations. This survey’s findings will help association boards, CEOs, C-Suite executives and other association leaders better understand both the drivers and obstacles of innovation in organizations across our community. The inaugural Principled Innovation Making Innovation Happen Survey for Association CEOs is now open and accepting responses. contact form. Updates
Why business model thinking matters to associations
JUNE 9, 2012
Building a 21 st century organization is not an endeavor for the faint of heart. Working against both the irresistible forces of intense and relentless societal transformation and the immovable object of an enduring yet failing association orthodoxy, association boards, CEOs and C-Suite executives, along with other staff and voluntary leaders, must collaborate to prepare their organizations to thrive in a volatile and uncertain future. It is the best opportunity these leaders will have to create a more vibrant future for their organizations. Business Model Innovation
Jeff De Cagna elected chair of RedRover Board of Directors
NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Founded in 1987, RedRover is a national organization headquartered in Sacramento, California that focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Jeff will begin his two-year term in January 2013. Updates
Announcing the Making Innovation Happen Survey!
JUNE 4, 2012
Innovation is certainly a major topic of conversation in our community these days, and more association CEOs are taking steps to build innovation as a deep capability in their organizations. It is my great pleasure to announce that Principled Innovation is launching the inaugural Making Innovation Happen Survey for Association CEOs this morning! Here is the survey link: [link].
Jeff De Cagna serving as curator for ACE Symposium on July 12
APRIL 28, 2013
The ACE Symposium will feature nine CEO Thought Leaders presenting 15-minute TED style talks organized into three critical conversation themes: the future of membership, the future of new value creation and the future of leadership. Jeff De Cagna FRSA FASAE , chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation LLC, is serving as curator and provocateur for the inaugural Association Chief Executives (ACE) Symposium , to be held on Friday, July 12 at The Gannett Building in McLean, Virginia. Symposium attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Getting Innovation Right at the event.
Overcoming the association value gap: part II
APRIL 2, 2013
It is an invention designed to create artificial predictability and a sense of security for risk-averse organizations. Instead of formulating value propositions based on what insiders believe about the value their organization should create for stakeholders, associations need to pursue ongoing “value conversations” by asking more powerful and generative questions about the kinds of value they can co-create with their stakeholders and their extended networks. This post originally appeared on the Associations Now Leadership Blog on March 28, 2013. You can read Part I here.
Associations Unorthodox Shift #2: Crowdsource strategy
AUGUST 28, 2012
Despite its inherent contradictions and obvious weaknesses, the work of strategic planning continues unabated in associations, perhaps because boards and CEOs have been told at every opportunity their organizations must have a strategic plan. To begin making the shift to crowdsource strategy, association leaders can reflect on the following key questions: +How can your organization benefit from not having a strategic plan? If you have not done so already, I hope you will download the e-book , and read the Shift #1 post , right away. The Problem. The Opportunity.
Associations Unorthodox Shift #1: De-emphasize membership
AUGUST 21, 2012
Indeed, the phrase, “membership organization” may well be the most orthodox description of an association’s organizational identity. They must be organized around a flexible combination of compelling value propositions supported by strong brand equity, robust organizational capabilities and meaningful tangible and intangible incentives that combine to create new revenue streams and grow future market share. It is extremely difficult for association leaders to reconsider their unswerving commitment to membership as the organizing premise for future business models.
Making Innovation Happen Survey: Preliminary Results
AUGUST 6, 2012
More than 100 association CEOs from across the country responded to the survey, and there are some very important findings for our community: +Association CEOs report they value innovation both personally and professionally, and recognize the necessity of innovation to create new value for their stakeholders as their organizations face increased competition in the years ahead. In preparation for ASAE’s Annual Meeting next week, I wanted to share some preliminary results from the Making Innovation Happen Survey we conducted during the month of June. Making Innovation Happen
The era of strategic planning is over
JULY 11, 2012
During the more than twenty years I have worked in and with associations, it is my guess that organizations throughout our community have committed millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours of staff and voluntary leader time to generate tens of thousands of pages of strategic plans and related documents. Associations unable to generate organic growth through innovation. Associations struggling to explain the value of membership. Associations struggling with declining business models. Relevance is still a losing argument , but the conversation is clearly happening.
Jeff De Cagna joins ATA Board of Directors
JULY 10, 2012
In addition to his service on the ATA Board, Jeff also serves as a director and Board vice chair of RedRover , a national organization that focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals. Jeff De Cagna FRSA FASAE, chief strategist and founder of Principled Innovation LLC, has been elected to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) Board of Directors. ATA, located in Portland, Oregon, exists to cure tinnitus through the development of resources that advance tinnitus research. Tinnitus 50 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree. Of
Association Chat: The Digital Organization
KiKi L'Italien's Acronym Soup
MARCH 24, 2015
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? Does your organization focus on always improving? Does your organization use technology to better communicate internally? In your role, how would you choose to next invest in technology for your organization?
How to Organize Volunteers to Maximize Impact
Wild Apricot Blog
APRIL 12, 2016
So, how do you organize your volunteers in a way that maximizes their impact with your organization, and, you know… makes them want to stick it out in the long run? association nonprofit organize VolunteersWith over 62.5 million people volunteering in the US and 12.7 million in Canada, there’s certainly not a shortage volunteers.
Build a Better Organization with Community
JUNE 28, 2016
But will community help your entire organization? When your organization fully embraces an online community, bringing every single customer into the fray, the beneficial effects of community trickle down into ever aspect of the organization. So, how exactly do online communities make your entire organization better? 1. You bet. Retain customers. But it’s about more.
Your Growing Organization Needs an Online Community
JULY 12, 2016
Online communities aren’t just for enormous, multinational companies -- small organizations need them, too, just as much as the behemoths do. How do communities make sense for small organizations, where every decision -- big or small -- can make a huge difference in your bottom line? Empower your entire team to be part of your organization’s online presence. Two-in-one.
What 15 Year-Olds Can Teach Organizations About Content Strategy
NOVEMBER 9, 2015
Lack of support from within their own organization’s walls is often mentioned as a communications strategy struggle. She is a key representative of that organization, and she needs true feedback to properly steer her content strategy. Organizations should continuously take stock of reactions to their content and adjust accordingly. She doesn’t call it content strategy. Really?
How Social Is YOUR organization?
APRIL 13, 2016
Some trivia for you: our first book, Humanize , was originally set to be titled “The Social Organization.” And, of course, regardless of the title, the book was about the same thing: what if we ran our organizations using the same principles that were behind the growth of social media? But are you a social organization? Big things are happening!! Congratulations.
Gamification: member organizations play for keeps
MARCH 12, 2013
Businesses and organizations are using this tactic to create brand awareness and drive user engagement. According to Gartner, Inc., by 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. If you put these important game pieces into action, your organization will be winning in no time!
Benchmarking and its Application to Your Member-based Organization
JANUARY 12, 2012
Benchmarking and its Application to Your Member-based Organization. As member organizations strive for a way to add “value” for their members, something they can’t get through a Google search, benchmarking is gaining in popularity and software has made it easier and less costly than ever before. Benchmarking does several things for member-centric organizations: 1.
Member Organizations: Listening Plus Action for Best Results
MARCH 29, 2012
Whether you are a member-centric organization or a corporation, listening is not enough. Membership Software Association Management Software. Solutions. Associations. Nonprofits + Foundations. Chambers + EDCs. Corporate + Social. Education + Alumni. Advantages. Branding. Control. Add-On Products. Support. Pricing. Company. News + Press. Customers. Technology. Management Team. Inside YM.
How to Make Culture, Not Perks, Work For Your Organization
AUGUST 17, 2016
These types of workplace perks are everywhere these days, but they may actually be harming your organization. These perks are meant to reflect a culture that helps employers recruit and retain top-rate talent to their organizations. This has the potential to create resentment amongst organization members. How to define your organization's culture. Too good to be true.
8 Steps to Organize Volunteers to Maximize Impact
Wild Apricot Blog
APRIL 12, 2016
So, how do you organize your volunteers in a way that maximizes their impact with your organization, and, you know… makes them want to stick it out in the long run? association nonprofit Volunteers organizeWith over 62.5 million people volunteering in the US and 12.7 million in Canada, there’s certainly not a shortage volunteers.
Search Engine Optimisation Benefits For Small Organizations
OCTOBER 30, 2015
As search engine rankings increase, organic visitors come in. Small business owners that do not use professional SEO services do not actually make the most of their online presence. They basically miss out on huge possible profits. Even so, most site owners do not fully understand how important search engine optimisation is for their online entities. Improving ROI. Higher Conversion Rate.
Top 5 Twitter Management Tips for Non-Profit Organizations to Increase Followers Organically
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
The social media network isn’t just limited to commercial entities, but is also beneficial to a wide range of not-for-profit organizations who support various causes. The challenge for most organizations on Twitter lies in getting a good number of followers, and growing followers. Make sure to include your branding collateral as well, such as your organization’s logo.
Conference Organizer: Proceed With Caution!
FEBRUARY 23, 2016
Danger, conference organizer! Too many organizations pat their leaders on the back for increased attendance, positive smile-sheet scores, or increases in sponsorship revenue. That elevates your position as a forward-looking, strategic conference professional in your organization. The post Conference Organizer: Proceed With Caution! Danger! Wouldn’t you?
Is Your Organization Compatible with Millennials?
JUNE 1, 2015
They will see the whole you as an organization. You need to BE an organization that makes sense to them. It's a quick survey that you can give to any team or group inside your organization (or the whole organization, for that matter) to get a sense of how compatible your organization is with Millennials. How do we retain our Millennial employees? Learn more here.