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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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9: Why Is Membership the Only Relationship?

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

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Learning By Doing

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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.

What’s Changing for Chapters?

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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 Common AMS Implementation Myths Debunked

Voicing the need for a new AMS may not win you any popularity contests. But if your business objectives aren’t being met, it’s time to broach the subject. Turn skeptics around with 10 hard-to-argue responses designed to showcase the value of a new system.

10: Five Tips for Success with Ad Hoc Volunteers

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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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Engagement Lessons from the Pandemic

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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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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.

Want to Generate Explosive Membership Growth?

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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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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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7 Signs It’s Time to Move to a New AMS

Do you need to break up with your AMS? Your association deserves a membership management platform that enhances staff efficiency, creates value, and delivers outcomes to drive membership success. Download this guide to uncover the 7 signs it’s time to move to a new AMS.

Engagement: What About Scoring?

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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.

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.

Salon Conversation: Digital Transformation

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

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

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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?

8 Requirements Executives Should Look For in a New AMS

Selecting a new Association Management System (AMS) can be daunting, even for the most “seasoned” professionals. Learn what top association executives require when it comes to their most crucial investments.

Formality Is Not Always Good

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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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Digital Transformation: Want to Learn More?

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Digital Transformation: Where Do I Start?

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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

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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.

The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation for Associations

What the heck is marketing automation? Grab this informative guide that explains what it is; why and where associations use it; and how it’s like email marketing on steroids. The guide also includes a new-member onboarding schedule that is helpful whether you already use marketing automation or not.

Why Do Associations Struggle With Digital Transformation?

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What IS “Digital Transformation” Anyway?

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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.).

Preview: The No BS Guide to Digital Transformation

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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!

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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?

How to Choose the Right AMS Solution for Your Association

The Buyer’s Checklist for association professionals is designed to help you make an “apples to apples” comparison of association management software (AMS) systems, so you can make the right purchasing decision for your association’s unique needs.

Associations Are Communities

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It’s time to act like it.

Three Challenges – Three Opportunities

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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

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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 Ask Matters

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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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Membership Calculations for Association Pros Who Hate Math

Does the thought of having to calculate retention, churn, or the cost of acquiring a new member make your head hurt? If so, this cheatsheet is a lifesaver.

Partnership v. Membership: Wrapping Up and the BIG Question

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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.

What IS Content Curation?

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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: Communicating Change

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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?

We Have a Match!

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Update on my fall fundraising for Reading Partners (where I’m both a tutor and a board member): My initial goal was $1000, and, with ten days still to go in the campaign, I’ve raised $1300! To everyone who’s given so far, HUGE thanks.

Report: 2022 Association Survey Results

See how your association compares to others across the U.S. and Canada. The 8th annual report provides fascinating insights into association trends over the past year.

NP Tech Podcast: Cut Through the Clutter

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A few weeks ago, Hilary Marsh and I had the opportunity to sit down (virtually, of course) with fusionSPAN’s Justin Burniske to talk all things content curation.

Membership Q&A: Online Communities?

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No, I’m not going to get into which white-label platform you should use – for that, we have ReviewMyCommunity. Take one step back: white-label or public ? That is, the publicly-available, commercial platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, and their ilk). This is a tough one. The advantage – and it’s a BIG one – of using a public platform is that your members are already there. They already know how to access the site. They already have an account.

Membership Q&A: Why Won’t They Join?

Spark Consulting

Why aren’t our prospects joining our association? They don’t see value in joining. Let’s unpack that a little bit. The reason they don’t see value in joining may be because they don’t see it YET, or it may be because it isn’t there. They don’t see value yet. What that means is that you’re moving too fast.

Content Curation: Your Association’s Secret Weapon Against Information Overload

Spark Consulting

Did you miss the webinar Hilary Marsh (Content Company) and I gave last week on content curation and why your association needs to get on board with it to help your members and other audiences deal with information overload? You’re in luck! Thanks to our host Impexium, there’s a free recording available at the Impexium website. In the webinar, Hilary and I: Outline the problem of information overload. Discuss what content curation is – and isn’t.

The Four Culture Decisions that will Make or Break Your Return to the Workplace

Rethinking Work, Office, and Culture in the New Reality - How will you design the workplace for the needs of employees? How will you define what it means to collaborate or supervise? Find out here.