Spark Consulting

Membership 101: Why Did They Join?

Spark Consulting

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.

Retention is a Relationship

Spark Consulting

And you can’t claim to have a relationship with people you don’t know.

Trending Sources

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.

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.

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.

Membership 101: How Do I Know When To Ask?

Spark Consulting

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?

Seven Keys to Great Testimonials

Spark Consulting

One of the best ways to promote your association and its programs, products, and services is to let your members, customers, audiences, and other stakeholders do it for you. In other words, to use testimonials.

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.” ” .

Where are the YPs?

Spark Consulting

“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.

The Mission Driven Volunteer Rides Again!

Spark Consulting

Earlier this month, Mission Driven Volunteer co-author Peggy Hoffman and I had the opportunity to present about our research on this topic for Wild Apricot. As is often the case with webinars, we weren’t able to get to all the questions during the Q&A. So we’re answering them now.

Four Keys to Writing Good Marketing Copy

Spark Consulting

How do you write good marketing copy? In a nutshell: Think about your audience. Who are they? What do you know about them? Use that information to craft a personalized message. Talk like a real person, and write like you speak. Shorter and simpler is better than longer and more complex.

Five Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Sales

Spark Consulting

One of the toughest things in marketing is crossing over into sales. While our end goal is to get people to buy what we’re selling, no one wants to be this guy –> So how do you get one (sales) without the other (obnoxious dude everyone avoids at parties)?

Tips 89

What’s Your Marketing Resolution for 2016?

Spark Consulting

I’m totally stealing this idea from smartie Beth Brodovsky , who emailed me this same question recently for her Driving Participation podcast series. My resolution for association marketers would be for us to stop talking about segmentation and personalization and start doing it.

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.

Cost 39

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.

Five Ways NOT to Brainstorm

Spark Consulting

Brainstorming has come under fire recently as being a crummy way of coming up with new ideas. Perhaps it’s because people are doing one or more of the following? Inviting as many people as possible – the more, the merrier! (Of

Moving from Inside-Out to Outside-In

Spark Consulting

Anna Caraveli ( The Demand Networks ) and I recently had the chance to sit down with Justin Burniske ( fusionSpan ) to talk about some of the issues raised in our recent whitepaper, Leading Engagement from the Outside In , for the Small Staff – Big Impact blog.

You Engage By Being Engaging

Spark Consulting

Anna Caraveli ( The Demand Networks ) and I recently had the chance to sit down with Justin Burniske ( fusionSPAN ) to talk about some of the issues raised in our recent whitepaper, Leading Engagement from the Outside In , for the Small Staff – Big Impact blog.

The Whats, Whys, and Hows of Brand Identity Guides

Spark Consulting

A number of clients have been working on various branding related issues lately, so I’m so pleased to be able to share this guest post from my colleague Sharon Bending at Rx Creative Lab on the keys to putting together effective brand identity guidelines: A set of brand identity guidelines (also referred to as brand standards) is a part of every rebrand.

Bridging the Education to Employment Gap: Where Can I Learn More?

Spark Consulting

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn a little bit about the disruption affecting education, the changes in the employment market (both in the US and world-wide), the “wicked” problem that perfect storm has created, and how Shelly Alcorn and I think associations are uniquely positioned to respond, what if you’d like to learn more? We’ve got you covered. Download The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm white paper. Remember: it’s free!

The Lean Startup Changes Everthing

Spark Consulting

I’m excited to share the launch of the seventh whitepaper in the ongoing Spark whitepaper series, Innovate the Lean Way: Applying Lean Startup Methodology in the Association Environment. The whitepaper addresses a simple (but not necessarily easy) concept. To quote my co-author, Guillermo Ortiz de Zarate , Director of Information Services for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards : “There’s no bigger waste than investing resources working on the wrong thing.”

Coming Soon from Spark

Spark Consulting

All kinds of exciting goodies on the horizon, which is part of the reason the blog’s been fairly quiet of late. Whitepapers. Winter is for writing, and that’s what I’ve been up to! I’m excited to share that I’ll be coming out with two new whitepapers this spring/summer.

Collaborate LARP at #ASAE15

Spark Consulting

Many association executives are familiar with ASAE’s online member community, Collaborate. In just under two weeks, at the 2015 ASAE Annual Meeting in Detroit, I’ll be facilitating a session called “ Request and Re-gift.” ” It’s based on 2014 annual meeting opening keynoter Adam Grant’s concept of giving and receiving via reciprocity circles.

More Tips to Improve Your Open Rate

Spark Consulting

Tips to help your blast emails shine, Part 2: Personalize it – It’s 2014. We all have the ability to send emails to “Dear Elizabeth” rather than “Dear Colleague” so be sure to call people by name.

Tips 70

Rethinking What It Means to Be a Member

Spark Consulting

A few months ago, I had a chance to sit down (virtually) with Beth Brodovsky and talk about what’s changing in membership relationships. The podcast is out !

Recapping the Outside-In Engagement #Assnchat

Spark Consulting

Anna Caraveli ( The Demand Networks ) and I had the opportunity to guest moderate #assnchat on Tuesday, July 14, with discussion focused around the issues we raise in our new whitepaper, Leading Engagement from the Outside-In (download your free copy at [link]. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the high points of the conversation. Q1 How do you currently learn about your audiences? How do you share that knowledge internally?

Team 57

Adopting the Mission Command Mindset

Spark Consulting

A few weeks ago, the Washington Post ran an article about some of the latest developments in military leadership , and, as part of it, they shared the idea of the Mission Command Mindset.

Matching Your Channel to Your Audience

Spark Consulting

One of the most important principles in creating successful multi-channel communications is to match your channel to your audience and your purpose. Are you sharing information about something that’s open to the public?

Turning Ideas into Reality

Spark Consulting

Also known as “the hard part.” ” I’ve been working with an association lately where the focus of the engagement is on transforming the organization. I’m specifically working with them on a membership transformation, but a piece of that is looking at transforming programs, products, and services. So we’ve been talking a lot about innovation. Now, this is not their first time at the rodeo on the subject of innovation.

Five Tips to Increase Your Email Open Rate

Spark Consulting

Want to increase your bulk email open rate? Of course you do! The subject is the most important part of the email. Spend time writing a meaningful one that will ensure your recipient will open and read more.

Tips 61

Is Growth Necessarily Good?

Spark Consulting

At CalSAE’s ELEVATE Conference last week, I attended a session on association trend spotting led by Shelly and Mark Alcorn. My team was assigned the mindfulness trend.

Price 66

Supercharge Member Loyalty & Power Community Engagement

Spark Consulting

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.”. During our April 16 Higher Logic Learning Series webinar on volunteerism in honor of National Volunteer Week (#NVW2015), Peggy Hoffman and I were unable to get to all the questions in our allotted hour. So we’re hitting the rest now: How do you find out what rewards the volunteers like/want? EWE: Ask them! And it’s OK to be forward about it: “What would be a meaningful way for us to show our appreciation for your contributions?”

Let Your Member Data Show You the Way

Spark Consulting

Last week, Associations Now did a story on my awesome client NICSA and the new membership model project we worked on together last summer. They’ve graciously given me permission to reprint it below: By Joe Rominiecki / Apr 30, 2014 .

What Is Your “Customer Journey”?

Spark Consulting

Reading a recent article in the Harvard Business Review on the topic of “ customer journeys ” got me thinking about their role in the association space. What is a “customer journey”? The example HBR used was of a solar company.

Team 43

Do You Know How to Be A Member?

Spark Consulting

You just got a new member! Hopefully, she’ll acclimate and find her place and stay with you forever. Wait: “hopefully”? We can do better than that. Here’s the question you need to ask yourself: does your new member know how to be a member of your organization?

What I’m Reading

Spark Consulting

Do you know the content marketing 4-1-1 ? MGI’s 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmark report is out. One, you should download it ASAP. Two, Associations Now has been doing a series of posts on the results, and I love the point of this one: “ you have to eat your vegetables.” ” Yep. Advice from Aaron Wolowiec about getting your comms and events teams to work together to create a better event. Kim Howard also has some advice on this topic on her NEW BLOG.

ISO Your Board Transformation Story

Spark Consulting

Sherry Marts (of S*Marts Consulting ) and I are starting to work on a whitepaper looking at what’s going on in diversity and inclusion in the association space. This will be the ninth whitepaper in the ongoing Spark collaborative series. You may have already read some of the others, on topics like the association role in the new education paradigm , lean startup methodology , member engagement , mission-driven volunteering , and data-driven decision making.

Three Keys to Inspire New Ideas from Staff

Spark Consulting

What does it take for associations to succeed at innovation? I’ve been doing some research on innovation initiatives in associations for a client and had written a bit about it for the Spark blog a few weeks ago. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Athitakis from ASAE about what I’d learned in a little more length, and he wrote the following piece for Associations Now. They’ve graciously given me permission to share it.

How Do I Know What to Charge?

Spark Consulting

One of the hardest things to do in creating a product or service is to set the price – too high, no one will buy because it’s too expensive; too low, no one will buy because they think what you’re offering isn’t valuable. So how do you determine your pricing strategy?

Price 55