Spark Consulting

Growth Strategies from Top Fundraisers Q&A

Spark Consulting

In my last post , I shared the link to the webinar my Steal Like a Fundraiser co-author Sohini Baliga and I presented for Wild Apricot on March 21.

Membership 101: Should You Reward Novelty or Loyalty?

Spark Consulting

It’s a trick question! You should reward both. . Associations generally do a good job rewarding novelty. The new member gets the special rate. The first time attendee gets the unique badge ribbon and the exclusive reception with the board of directors and committee chairs.

Growth Strategies from Top Fundraisers

Spark Consulting

My Steal Like a Fundraiser: Innovations in Cause-Oriented Fundraising for Associations co-author Sohini Baliga and I recently had the opportunity to talk with some smart people about the information in the whitepaper.

Membership 101: Ladders of Engagement Revisited

Spark Consulting

Once members join, the next question becomes: How do you keep them? How do you build real relationships over time that deepen your commitment to each other and lead to long-term loyalty on both sides? The answer is ladders of engagement.

Membership 101: What IS “Engagement,” Anyway?

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Association membership professionals, particularly in the last several years, talk about engagement A LOT. We want our members to be more engaged. We want to measure engagement. We want to score engagement. We want to reward engagement.

Your Baby Is Ugly

Spark Consulting

One of the great things about being a consultant is that we get to tell people when their baby is ugly without them getting mad at us – hey, they’re PAYING us to tell them when their baby is ugly. Well, your (campaign) baby is ugly. But it’s not your fault!

Treat Members Equitably Not Equally

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In the association world, we tend to want to treat all our members equally: nobody is more important or special than anyone else. That’s a noble impulse and helpful, up to point.

Q&A on D&I

Spark Consulting

Did you miss the July 12 webinar my Include Is a Verb co-author Sherry Marts and I presented for the Wild Apricot Experts series on living your talk on D+I? Never fear!

Associations Respond to Hurricane Harvey

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In case you missed it, ASAE’s Collaborate forum (member login required) has recently been hosting a robust discussion of how associations are helping their members and the local community in Houston and southwest Louisiana respond to Hurricane Harvey.

Letting Go for 2018

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I recently had the opportunity to contribute to Beth Brodovsky’s Driving Participation podcast year-end special. Beth posed the following question to her contributors: In 2018 what marketing tactics, social media, or tech tools are you letting go of and why? . My response? DeleteFacebook.

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Letter to John Graham and Scott Wiley

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Monday, November 21, 2016. John Graham, President & CEO, ASAE. Scott Wiley, Chairman, ASAE. Dear John and Scott: This letter is a call for meaningful community-wide dialogue and action on behalf of a nation at risk. One week ago, Associations Now Daily announced that ASAE signed a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) letter “to the president-elect” expressing a desire to “work productively” with the incoming administration.

Membership 101: Data, Data, Data

Spark Consulting

If you’ve been following this series – and I hope you have! – you’ve probably noticed that I talk a lot about data. You need data to calculate LTV. You need data to construct your ladders of engagement. You need data to personalize effectively.

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Membership 101: Life Time Value

Spark Consulting

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: “How much should I be willing to invest to recruit a member?” ” The answer is not obvious. For example, let’s say you invest $1000 on a recruitment campaign and bring in five new members.

Membership 101: Why Did They Join?

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My last membership 101 blog post addressed the question: how do I know when it’s time to ask a prospect to join my association? . The answer was: by studying your data.

Where are the YPs?

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“How can I recruit young professional members if there are no young professionals entering our industry?” ” I’ve been thinking about this question a lot recently, not least of which because I have a client that is in this EXACT situation.

Associations and Trump’s Travel Ban

Spark Consulting

Airports and cities large and small erupted into chaos this weekend as Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning Muslims from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from entering the US took effect.

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What Really Worked in 2016?

Spark Consulting

Beth Brodovsky, who hosts the Driving Participation podcast (and if you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for?) recently asked a bunch of her former guests this insightful question for a year-end episode.

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Are You Ready to SURGE?

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I’m excited to share that I’ll be speaking at Association Success’s inaugural SURGE virtual event, November 7-9. Around the world, thousands of association professionals confront the same challenges. We all have insights to offer on how to grow, adjust, adapt and innovate.

Membership 101: The Importance of Personalization

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Associations are built on relationships. .

Catch Spark at #ASAE16

Spark Consulting

I’ll be presenting two sessions at the upcoming ASAE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City in a few weeks: Unsession: The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm, Sunday, August 14. Deep Dive: The Lean Startup Changes Everything, Tuesday, August 16.

How to Be a Better Boss

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A good friend of mine recently returned to the 9-to-5 office world after several years of freelancing while her kids were small, and she asked me if I had any advice about being a better boss, since she’s managing a team for the first time in several years.

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Walking Your Talk on D+I

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For those of us who are “on the bus” on the value of genuine diversity and inclusion, this is the crux of the matter: how do we effectively walk our talk on D+I? .

Happy Fabulous Five, Spark!

Spark Consulting

Today marks five years since I launched Spark Consulting. As I look back on the past five years, I have much to be grateful for. Leading that list is all the people who’ve contributed to the success of this Big Hairy Audacious Goal. First, I have to thank all my wonderful clients.

What Will 2017 Hold?

Spark Consulting

Aptify set out to answer this question, at least for associations, in their recent e-book: Top Association Management Predictions for 2017.

Steal This Idea!

Spark Consulting

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 20 years, it’s that associations don’t always have all the answers. We definitely have some major advantages, not the least of which is that we are highly cooperative and collaborative, not least of which because there’s not a lot of intra-industry competition (i.e., the AICPA and the American Nurses Association have basically zero overlap in audiences).

Calling All ASAE Allies

Spark Consulting

Guest blog from my Include Is a Verb co-author, Sherry Marts (S*Marts Consulting). A couple of weeks ago there was a fairly lengthy thread in the Executive Management Section on ASAE Collaborate, with the subject line “ ASAE Committees/Sections Feedback ” (member login required). At one point, that conversation turned to talking about gender-based (and other) harassment at ASAE meetings.

Include Is a Verb

Spark Consulting

Associations know the research that the Millennial generation that is rapidly becoming the majority of our workforce and membership base is the most diverse generation we’ve ever had in the US – and that the yet-to-be-named generation coming up behind them is even more so.

Association Industry Response to the Election

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As you may have seen in Associations Now Online , ASAE recently signed onto a National Association of Manufacturers-organized letter of support to President-Elect Trump.

Membership 101: How Do I Know When To Ask?

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My last membership 101 post ended: You continue to do that [make offers] for a few cycles, THEN ask her to marry you, once you both know it’s right. Which begs the question: how do you know when is the right time to ask?

The Perfect Storm

Spark Consulting

I’d like to share some sobering statistics about higher education and employment: In the United States, students graduate from college with an average debt load of nearly $29,000. Total student debt in the U.S. is $1.23 trillion and rising. 47% of college-educated workers under 25 work in jobs. that do not require a college degree. Worldwide, 73.3 million people under the age of 25 are unemployed, representing 36.7% of total global unemployment.

Membership 101: Ladder of Engagement

Spark Consulting

As I discussed in the last post in this series , membership is all about relationship building. The mechanism you use to build that relationship is the ladder of engagement.

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DC’s Capital Area Food Bank Needs Your Help!

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I was at my regular volunteer gig at CAFB this morning, and the shelves are BARE, y’all.

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This Is Not a Good Look for Us

Spark Consulting

It’s an open secret that associations are deeply concerned about – and struggling with – our ability to recruit and retain Millennial young professionals, both as members and as association executives and talent in our industry.

Membership 101: Recruitment versus Retention versus Renewal

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Three great tastes that taste great together. Recruitment, retention, and renewal are related, but they aren’t the same thing. Recruitment is what you do to get people in the door of your association in the first place.

What REALLY Drives Success for Your Association?

Spark Consulting

Information overload – we all experience it personally, every day, with our emails and social media feeds and online media and print media and broadcast media, and that’s hard enough to manage. But in 2016, our associations ALSO struggle with information overload.

Launching: Membership 101 Series

Spark Consulting

I’ve had several clients hire me recently to do webinars/presentations on basic concepts in membership. It occurred to me that other people might want this information, too.

Further Election 2016 Association Industry Responses

Spark Consulting

ASAE has posted further clarification of their position on the incoming administration. While I am heartened to see ASAE specifically mention “…work[ing] with the new administration in a manner consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion…,” I believe it to be, overall, an inadequate response. I should note that ASAE’s response was published before the Letter to John Graham and Scott Wiley came out on Monday, November 21.

Education to Employment #AMA

Spark Consulting

What are you doing Wednesday, February 1 at 12:30 pm ET? If your answer is “eating lunch,” or “nothing much,” I have a better option for you.

Why Do Our D+I Efforts Fall Short?

Spark Consulting

Our D+I efforts fail for a number of reasons: Beautiful statements and a handful of ghettoized programs don’t fundamentally change behavior. We create “goals” that are not actionable and have no measures attached. Every single person has implicit biases – sometimes against things that they themselves are – and we don’t do enough to combat them. Mandatory training tends to bring out our inner misanthropic teenager: “You’re not the boss of me!”

Membership 101: The Welcome Series

Spark Consulting

When last we left the Membership 101 series, you had just gotten a new member and were busy finding out why she joined so you could focus your marketing and communications efforts around those 2-3 things that matter most to her. Now that she’s here, you need to welcome her. She knew enough to join, but she doesn’t know what it means to be a member of your association.