Spark Consulting

4: Five Ways NOT to Brainstorm

Spark Consulting

The 4th most popular blog post on the all-time top ten list is an unexpected entry: Five Ways NOT to Brainstorm. Written almost exactly eight years ago, it was intended to be funny and a little silly – mostly.

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Reflections After My First Time Back

Spark Consulting

This week, I attended the ASAE Technology Exploration Conference, my first in-person event since January 2020. My MAIN takeaway was that it was very good to see friends and colleagues in the industry who, for the past two years, have appeared only as small rectangles on my computer screen.

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Curiosity with a Purpose

Spark Consulting

As Zora Neale Hurston described it: Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. When you’re sponsoring a research study, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is what method(s) to use. What are your choices? Quantitative v. Qualitative. Primary v.

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Learning By Doing

Spark Consulting

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the January 2022 Association Insights In Old Town (ASAE login required) virtual educational session, Better Engage Your Members and Attendees to Solve Association Problems , led by Better Meetings ‘s Lee Gimpel.

Here's How to Write an Effective New-Member Welcome Email

Welcome emails have an incredibly high open rate (50-60%). Read here to learn tips for taking full advantage of your valuable, one-time opportunity to reach new members.

5: 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Marketing Piece

Spark Consulting

We’re at the midpoint of the Top 10 All-Time Spark blog posts, with #5: 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Marketing Piece.

Engagement Lessons from the Pandemic

Spark Consulting

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to appear on a virtual panel on engagement, organized by Mary Byers, for the Veterinary Medical Association. We covered a wide range of topics, a few of which I think others would benefit from thinking about, so I’ll be doing a few related blog posts.

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9: Why Is Membership the Only Relationship?

Spark Consulting

In position number 9 of the top ten all time Spark blog posts: Why Is Membership the Only Relationship ?

8: Membership 101: Effective Renewal Cycles

Spark Consulting

In position number 8 of the top ten all time Spark blog posts: Membership 101: Effective Renewal Cycles. Spoiler alert: you’re going to see more of the Membership 101 series posts in the countdown.). When I reviewed the initial post, I realized everything I wrote still holds four years later.

Rethinking Revenue: Your Membership Plan

Spark Consulting

What happens when your membership plan becomes reality? Join me and Dana Anaman (National Association of Professional Insurance Agents) Wednesday, September 30 at 10 am ET as we take you through our journey to increase membership for the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents.

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

What’s Changing for Chapters?

Spark Consulting

Mariner Management and billhighway recently released the third edition of their chapter benchmarking report , and I had the opportunity to interview Peggy Hoffman and Peter Houstle about it. Q: This is, I believe, the third edition of the chapter benchmarking report.

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10: Five Tips for Success with Ad Hoc Volunteers

Spark Consulting

Starting in position 10, Five Tips for Success with Ad Hoc Volunteers. When I first wrote this post in 2014, Peggy Hoffman and I had recently released The Mission-Driven Volunteer.

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Revisiting the Top Ten

Spark Consulting

I first started blogging about association management nearly 15 years ago (RIP Thanks For Playing). When I launched Spark (TEN years ago this year!), I ported all my old blog posts over and just kept on going.

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Tips for Working from Home

Spark Consulting

I have to caveat this by saying I can’t help you with what do to with your kids (I don’t have any myself) or with your team telework tech (it’s just me here at Spark). I have been working for myself from my home office for nearly eight years.

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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.

Want to Generate Explosive Membership Growth?

Spark Consulting

Join me and the nice folks from Grype Digital on Tuesday, October 12 at 3:30 pm ET for Explosive Growth for Associations Through Better Membership Management , the second episode of their second season of video podcasts.

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Help Your Members Find the Signal in the Noise

Spark Consulting

This is probably not news to you, but we’re at an information crisis point. Your members and other audiences are dealing with a flood of information during a time when the role of traditional information gatekeepers has become severely devalued.

Engagement: What About Scoring?

Spark Consulting

Back before Maddie and I launched The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation , I had been writing a brief series on member engagement, inspired by serving on a virtual panel on engagement, organized by Mary Byers, for the Veterinary Medical Association.

Salon Conversation: Digital Transformation

Spark Consulting

Join me and Maddie Grant for the next Association Women Technology Champions Salon on Wednesday, October 13 at 4 pm ET.

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.

Which Is Better: a Lot from a Little, or a Little from a Lot?

Spark Consulting

One last question from my brief series on member engagement, inspired by serving on a virtual panel on engagement, organized by Mary Byers, for the Veterinary Medical Association. Would you rather have a lot of members lightly engaged or fewer members more deeply engaged?

Formality Is Not Always Good

Spark Consulting

Associations tend to default to a formal tone in communications. It feels safe. It can be hard to nail being appropriately funny, and no one ever got in trouble for being excessively formal, right? Well, no.

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Associations Are Communities

Spark Consulting

It’s time to act like it.

Digital Transformation: Want to Learn More?

Spark Consulting

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).

Digital Transformation: Where Do I Start?

Spark Consulting

This is what it really comes down to, right? Learning about what digital transformation is (and isn’t), why it matters, what barriers are unique to associations, what advantages our industry has – that’s all interesting and useful.

Culture Change + Vendor Selection

Spark Consulting

As my The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation: How Intentional Culture Change Can Propel Associations Forward co-author Maddie Grant is fond of quipping, that’s what digital transformation is: culture change + vendor selection.

Why Do Associations Struggle With Digital Transformation?

Spark Consulting

What IS “Digital Transformation” Anyway?

Spark Consulting

When Maddie Grant and I were researching The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation: How Intentional Culture Change Can Propel Associations Forward , we found all sorts of definitions, depending on the perspective of the definer (marketing, tech, HR, C-suite, etc.).

5 PIllars of Community

Today’s business communities are facing a period of transition to become digital first, which increases the need for people to feel belonging. Implementing the 5 Pillars of Community is a key component to organizational growth.

Preview: The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation

Spark Consulting

I’m so excited to announce that the next Spark collaborative whitepaper will be dropping ONE week from today.

Engagement: You’re Doing It Right!

Spark Consulting

One of the other hot topics on the engagement virtual panel Mary Byers had organized for the Veterinary Medical Association on April 22 was: Who’s doing member engagement well, and what can we learn from them?

Three Challenges – Three Opportunities

Spark Consulting

As we look to 2021, I see three main membership challenges for associations: Remember that membership is a lagging indicator. Per Marketing General’s annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report , the Q4 2007 economic crash didn’t fully show up in association metrics until 2009.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Spark Consulting

Today marks one year since DC shut down for the pandemic. I wrote a Twitter thread to memorialize that fact, and realized I should probably have written a blog post, even though it’s not very association-y. So here it is. One year ago today, DC shut down for the pandemic.

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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

The Ask Matters

Spark Consulting

About two weeks ago, DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, held a series of virtual budget engagement forums to share her draft budget for FY2022. The format her team chose was extremely clever.

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What IS Content Curation?

Spark Consulting

Associations use the term “content curation” frequently, but to quote the great Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Partnership v. Membership: Wrapping Up and the BIG Question

Spark Consulting

The Partnership v. Membership blog point-counterpoint series I was writing with Lewis Flax got abandoned a little abruptly almost exactly one year ago. I don’t know about you, but I could use some closure.

Partnership v. Membership: Communicating Change

Spark Consulting

Now that you’ve mapped out the changes you want to make to your membership program, and your board of directors is on board with those changes, how do you go about communicating them to the members who will be affected?

The Guide to Accessible Learning for Associations

Speaker: Dan Streeter, Vice President of Learning Strategy & Development at Blue Sky eLearn

In this 45-minute webinar, we’ll share real-world accessibility solutions and hidden tools in the applications you use every day such as Zoom, Microsoft Suite, Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Articulate Storyline 360, and Articulate Rise 360. This webinar will help you evaluate the accessibility of your current learning efforts and learn about the tools needed to ensure your eLearning is in alignment with the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (proposed WCAG 2.2).