Spark Consulting

Membership 101: Who Counts?

Spark Consulting

Who do you consider to be your members? That seems like an easy question: “Anyone whose dues are current,” right? But if you dig a little deeper, it quickly gets a lot more complicated. Do you offer a grace period? Are there ways to pay other than money?

Membership 101: The Role of Volunteerism

Spark Consulting

“Engaged members renew. Disengaged members don’t.” ” If you’ve been around the association industry for more than a few minutes, you’ve undoubtedly heard at least one membership professional say that. Volunteerism is a MAJOR opportunity for engagement.

Membership 101: Effective Renewal Cycles

Spark Consulting

At some point, after generating leads and nurturing relationships and persuading people to join and helping them find their own individual engagement paths, it’s time to ask your members to renew, to stick with you another year.

Dallas 130

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.

The Passive Experienced Member

Spark Consulting

The MCI Group recently released the American Engagement Index 2017 (the link takes you to a page where you can enter your contact information to get your own copy, and you really should).

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.

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.

Reduce Barriers to Entry

Spark Consulting

Just about every association I know of is struggling to recruit younger members (aka Millennials). Part of the reason for that is that we’re erecting barriers to entry rather than removing them. What’s required to be considered part of your association’s community?

Is It Time for a Digital Detox?

Spark Consulting

Over-work and too much stress are pretty much the norm for most association executives. Every day, we’re trying to do a lot for our members, and most associations are perpetually understaffed and tight on budget. This makes a digital detox sound like a really great idea. “Yeah!

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!

Cost 164

Letter to John Graham and Scott Wiley

Spark Consulting

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.

Boosting Membership Retention from the Start: Your Members’ First 3 Months

Spark Consulting

Editorial note: the following is a guest blog from Callie Walker of MemberClicks. Does membership retention really begin the second a member joins your association? It should! The better you onboard, the more likely your members are to renew. So the question then becomes…how do you effectively onboard your new members? What should you be doing in their first few months? Here’s a breakdown: Month 1 – Welcome.

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.

Don’t Get Lazy!

Spark Consulting

Putting it all together, maybe the most important thing Sohini and I learned from fundraisers as we were researching Steal Like a Fundraiser (and as Sohini has worked with them over the past two decades) is: don’t get lazy.

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

Spark Consulting

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.

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.

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.

Letting Go for 2018

Spark Consulting

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.

Video 130

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.

Survey 176

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.

Course 170

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.

Survey 130

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.

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.

Are You Ready to SURGE?

Spark Consulting

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

Spark Consulting

Associations are built on relationships. .

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.

How To 130

Walking Your Talk on D+I

Spark Consulting

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.

Association Industry Response to the Election

Spark Consulting

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.

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.

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.

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: 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?

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 130

DC’s Capital Area Food Bank Needs Your Help!

Spark Consulting

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

DC 130

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).

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.

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.