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Why Is Strategic Planning Repelling Association Boards?

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“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. As we talked, I shared with him the “strategic intent process” I use with organizations seeking to envision their future and create steps to help them get there. He said,“That’s it!”

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3 Sports Cliches for Association Management

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Ok, I admit it: I like sports and I recognize the lessons from sports can positively guide association executives. Three cliches can guide association professionals: 1. You rarely win when you are trying not to lose. Some teams get a lead and then change how they play as a strategy not to lose. It rarely works. It sometimes leads teams to keep doing the same thing. even though the other team has made adjustments. Lesson for Association executives: Keep improving.

Who, Why & Where before What & How

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When associations and nonprofits contact me regarding consulting about social media or content management, they often begin by asking, “Should we focus on Twitter or Facebook?” Wrong question! Because you (associations, nonprofits, small businesses) should ask Who, Why and Where before you focus on What and How! Let’s briefly explore these four questions. WHO Who are you trying to reach? Members? Customers? Prospects? Media? Influencers? WHY What do you want them to do, not do or let you do?

How to Get Young Professionals to Engage In Your Association

GrowthZone’s guide, The Power of Young Professionals, tackles the challenges of engaging, recruiting, and retaining Gen Z and Millennial members, including: • Why they do or don’t join. • Communication strategies. • Myths and facts

Kids Skate Free: Association-Managed Cause Marketing Campaign

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I love the strategic thinking behind Kids Skate Free! Kids Skate Free represents a great example of a locally-initiated, association-managed cause marketing campaign that benefits a struggling industry. It demonstrates how associations can use cause marketing to enhance their members while benefitting a cause. And, with another generation (“Gen Z”) emerging, what better way to introduce your member businesses to millions of potential new customers.

While Walking on the Moon

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While Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon 50 years ago today, July 21, I was working in the garage of his parent’s home in Wapakoneta (Wapak). covering perhaps the world’s largest news story as a reporter for The Associated Press (AP). BTW: in the photo at the upper left, that's me interviewing Mrs. Armstrong.) A note on dates: The lunar launch was on July 16, 1969; the lunar module landed on July 20; Armstrong stepped on the moon 6 hours later on July 21.

Neil Armstrong’s Hometown Excited 50 Years Ago

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Fifty years ago, The Associated Press bureau chief called me to his office in Columbus, Ohio. “I’m I’m sending you – and Gene (photographer Gene Herrick) – to Wapakoneta. I want you to do an advance piece on Neil Armstrong’s hometown before he goes to the moon.” I was a young and inexperienced news reporter. I’d been on the job less than two years. Fortunately, Gene Herrick had 29 years of experience with much of that time on major news stories.

Veteran's Day 2014

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It''s been 44 years but I still remember my boot camp "call letters" at Fort Jackson: E-9-2. Here''s to all who served. Bless you and Thank you! ASAE SCD Group Veterans Day


Do You Welcome Your Association Members (by Name)?

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I went inside the bank (yes, they still have an inside) the other day and the tellers welcomed me by name. The same thing happens at our golf course. From the bag drop to the pro shop to the starter, I am welcomed with a cheerful, Hello, Mr. Drake. I see the same thing when Im flying. The flight attendants of some airlines (say Southwest) are far more friendly and personable than those of the legacy airlines (say Delta or United).

How to Sell Your Board on Better Technology

Use this helpful blueprint when you need to convince your board to invest in better software. It includes talking points and tips for your presentation, including quantifying ROI, outlining indirect benefits, and selling the potential of the purchase.

What Business Are You In? 10 Tips for Small Business Success

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“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Unfortunately, today’s businesses, companies & retailers don’t have a GPS offering directions. But, no matter what you’re doing today, you need to stop, take stock and decide – what you’ve always done – but what you should be doing to run a successful business. Back in the 1990s, my CEO boss was fired and I was “invited” to leave with him. With a daughter entering an out-of-state college, it was panic mode.

6 Great Reads for Association Professionals

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Leading from the Outside-In By Maddie Grant via Perhaps you and your organization grapple with some of the questions that preoccupied the executives I interviewed for my book as they contemplated how to take their organizations to a next phase. Should we create radically different membership and business models? Should we go “global”? Should we still have a print publication? How can we increase attendance at our conference? How can we increase engagement?

Add #TestimonialTuesday to Your Association’s Member Recruitment Plan

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As you may recall, I wrote recently about #ThrowbackThursdays and the opportunity it presents associations and nonprofits. The other day, my wife shared a #TestimonialTuesday Facebook note. correctly thinking that I might use it for an SCDdaily blog post! While #ThrowbackThursday (also known as #TBT) represents a great tool for retaining members (by reminding them of great things your organization has done in the past), #TestimonialTuesday represents an online member recruitment tool.

What Makes Your Association Stand Out?

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A friend of ours spotted this gold fish bowl in Chicago's Burnham Hotel. Intrigued and impressed, he took a photo and posted it on Facebook. So did others. A gold fish in a fish bowl? Yes, a gold fish is spreading word of mouth about a hotel. Makes me wonder what associations and nonprofits are doing to distinguish themselves from competitors? I worked for a national association who had a reputation for outstanding conferences and meetings.

How to Select an Association Credit Card Processing Company

Right now, every penny counts. It’s an ideal time to check if your association’s credit card processing provider is offering competitive terms. However, there are many important factors to consider if when researching options.

Old Fashioned Tool May Boost Association Communications.

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Drinks on the Driveway Our neighborhood has a “drinks in the driveway” fathering every other Friday afternoon. It’s a great way for neighbors to stay in touch. The social committee promotes the event (including time and the driveway hosts) via email, notice on the website and sign at the street entrances. For the last two events, the social committee chair has been away. As a result, the signs have not been posted at the neighborhood entrance.

Association Boards That Fail

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The other day, an association executive called me about coordinating member research needed after a “failed” strategic planning session. He shared the association’s major issue: a board that doesn’t understand the organization and doesn’t seem to be able to look toward the future. “It It dawned on me that my own board wasn’t able to distinguish the organization from its convention. They don’t know what all we do. They don’t open our newsletters.

Social media can correct association rumors. if.

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In today’s hyper connected world, rumors become truth within 24 minutes! Rumors – whether shared via traditional media or social media – can harm associations. Quickly. Successful association executives ensure their organizations are listening and monitoring all forms of media. Private golf clubs are membership organizations. Like your association, they need to be aware of what impacts their members and their organization.

Throwback Thursday opportunities for associations & nonprofits

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A growing number of organizations (companies, churches, associations) have begun using Throwback Thursdays (TBT) as a social media strategy to promote elements of their organization. What is Throwback Thursday ? Throwback Thursday, better known as #TBT, is a weekly reminiscent photo movement that has taken off globally, particularly on Instagram. Here are some examples: Recent #TBTs from St.

The Ultimate Guide to Amazing Association Websites

Your association’s website needs to engage members AND deliver a great user experience so everyone who visits it leaves with a positive impression. But how? Get the free guide to optimizing your website “under-the-hood” (great for "non-techy" people).

To hell with your Association’s “grass seed”.

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what will it do for my “lawn?” As I was watching a couple of recent television commercials, I recalled a comment my PR professor made more than 40 years ago: If you are in the lawn seed business, remember that your audience is saying, “To hell with your grass seed, what will it do for my lawn?” I’ve never forgotten this (and some other gems from Walt Seifert). So, I wonder what companies/agencies/associations missed when their TV ads (or other marketing pieces) tell me.

5 Passion Busters within Associations

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Passion drives success. Passion grows associations. Passion permeates throughout the organization especially one that is “clicking on all cylinders.” This showed in Ohio State’s drive for the national championship in college football and was evident in Saturday’s celebration which drew more than 50,000 people to Ohio Stadium on a cold Saturday morning. And, passion drives publishing and advice! Amazon lists 198,435 books/products with the word PASSION in the title!]

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How to Engage Xers and Millenials on Your Board

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I wrote earlier this week about two friends and their reluctance to serve on association boards. I’ve mentioned before the impending rapid turnover of board members as Boomers retire. Engagement of Gen Xers and Millenials as volunteers and board members represents the key to filling board seats and volunteer positions that Boomers currently occupy. Xers and Millenials, however, have “issues” with serving in leadership positions of traditional associations and nonprofit organizations.

Is Your Association Stuck in Groundhog Day?

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Today is Groundhog Day. You know, if the groundhog sees its shadow, we’re supposed to have six more weeks of winter weather. But, for this blog, I’m thinking of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. the one where Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) ends up in a time loop, living the same day over and over again. Groundhog Day doesn’t just affect associations, corporations face the same issues. Here are some quotes from The Next McDonald’s Turnover , Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.,

Membership Recruitment: Converting Your Toughest Prospects

Here are the top 6 reasons to join an association – in one infographic. Use this infographic as a recruitment and retention marketing tool. Post it on your website, put it in presentations, or use it as inspiration for social media posts.

Strategic Intent Lessons from Cards-Cubs MLB Series

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A week or so ago I was facilitating a strategic planning session for an association. I use the Strategic Intent Model. which begins with where you are (current condition) and then “jumps” to the future status (desired condition). See image below.) A couple of the board members were rabid Cubs fans (you know, the professional baseball team that always gets close but never wins the World Series). After spending 35 years in St.

How does your association greet its members?

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Ken Williams, the singer greeter at The Home Depot in Fort Myers Walking in to Home Depot this weekend, we were welcomed by Ken Williams. a singing greeter! It shouldn’t surprise you that such a warm and friendly greeting lifts your spirits as you start your shopping experience. Nor that you leave this Home Depot with a really positive outlook on the store and company. My wife and I talked about this.

25 Reasons Association Boards Fail

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I''m joining four other association management professionals (see below) in an ASAE annual meeting session titled Why Boards Fail and How to Fix Them. (In In Nashville from 10:30 - 11:30 on Tuesday, August 12.) In preparation for the session, we have developed the top 25 reasons association boards fail We''d like your help! Do you have other reasons to add to the Top 25? What do you see as the Top 10 of this list? Which of these topics do you want to be sure that we cover?

All Politics Is Local: 5 Lessons Associations Can Learn from a Planning Board

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Alliance Red Shirts Jam Planning Board Hearing For my entire association management career, I’ve been involved with national or international associations. I’ve seen our profession from that perspective. Yesterday, my wife and I joined about 300 of our neighbors at a city planning board hearing with regard to changes our developer wants to make to our community. Here are my observations from the two hour meeting: Our Alliance urged us to attend and to wear red shirts.

The 20 Do’s & Don’ts for Associations in Email Marketing

The biggest question that many Associations have when it comes to email marketing is, “what are the best practices I should adopt?” This whitepaper is written from 21 years of email experience on the client, agency, and vendor side of email. It is also wr

Is your association letting new members slip through the cracks

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At dinner the other evening, two women shared stories about how the local organizations they had joined didn’t seem interested in having them volunteer. And, that as a result of not being able to volunteer, they dropped out of the organizations. What a shame! In one case, the woman said she volunteered for two different parts of the organization. But, never heard from anyone in either leadership or staff.

How is your association coping with generational change?

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The U.S. continues a massive and unprecedented generational change impacting business, governments, associations and nonprofits. Some organizations are making changes now; others “waiting.” The generational facts: 78+ million boomers. with more than 10,000 retiring each day 50+ million Gen Xers. those born between 1964 and 1980 76+ million Gen Ys (aka millenials). those born 1980 - 2000 Many associations (see U.S. Jaycees) felt the impact of the change from Boomers to Xers.

6 Lessons for Association Executives

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Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of the Coca-Cola Co, wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined Truett Cathy’s Lessons on Life & Business. Who was Truett Cathy? He was the Chick-fil-A founder who died last week at the age of 93. How did Truett do it?” Mr. Kent wrote. “As As someone lucky enough to know him, I saw six characteristics that defined the way he approached business, people and the communities he served.

Don’t rely on one form of communications for your association

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Ohio State recognizes 50 years of varsity ice hockey One common theme among association professionals: frustration about communication with members and prospects. See some of the ASAE Collaborate commentary below.) I just experienced poor communications of an event designed to include me and my teammates. As a college sophomore playing JV ice hockey, I was called up to the varsity team in late January, 1964, thus becoming part of the original varsity hockey team for The Ohio State University.

10 Common AMS Implementation Myths Debunked

Voicing the need for a new AMS may not win you any popularity contests. But if your business objectives aren’t being met, it’s time to broach the subject. Turn skeptics around with 10 hard-to-argue responses designed to showcase the value of a new system.

End of an Era: What Does It Mean for Associations?

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Various association professionals have been commenting and discussing on whether millennials and Generation Z will impact the future of associations. One “side” talks about the huge possible impact from two totally different groups (Millennials & Gen Z),while the other “side” states that people – no matter what generation – need associations. As a college junior, I participated in an “field trip” of Chicago that included stopping at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Is Junk Cluttering Association Membership Appeals?

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One day''s snail mail (Left); Inserts in Sunday paper (right) You’ve crafted a well-designed, well-worded appeal to recruit new members. The call to action grabs the recipient. But, despite these superior marketing aspects, your response rate is well below expectations. What is going on here? In a word: clutter. Note the two photos above: on the left, our snail mail for just one day (no political campaign mail in this!). On the right, the undesired ad fliers that came with our Sunday newspaper.

8 Tips on a Great Annual Meeting of Members

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As an association executive, I’m used to organizing and staffing association membership meetings. So, it is always a learning experience when I participate in an annual meeting of members as a member not a staff professional. This happened last week when our “residents alliance” held its annual membership meeting. We have about 950 members and no staff. So, the meeting is volunteer developed and volunteer run.

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Flipping the Classroom of Association Education

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AP Photo from The Wall Street Journal A week ago, the Wall Street Journal wrote a football story that offers ideas for association education programming. Headlined Taking the Buckeyes to School outlines some of the innovative coaching methods of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.

7 Signs It’s Time to Move to a New AMS

Do you need to break up with your AMS? Your association deserves a membership management platform that enhances staff efficiency, creates value, and delivers outcomes to drive membership success. Download this guide to uncover the 7 signs it’s time to move to a new AMS.