Spark Consulting

Membership 101: What IS “Engagement,” Anyway?

Spark Consulting

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.

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.

Trending Sources

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.

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.

How to Be a Better Boss

Spark Consulting

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.

Associations Respond to Hurricane Harvey

Spark Consulting

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.

Being a First-Time Attendee

Spark Consulting

Note: my good friend Joan Eisenstodt had asked for people to share our experiences as first-time attendees for her Fridays With Joan column for Meetings Today.

DC 32

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.

Video 83

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.” ” .

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.

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 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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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 !

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.

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