Does Your Association’s Structure Stifle Success?

Associations Now

A startup mentality can help an association generate new ideas. But success has less to do with “failing fast” than knowing how your organizational structure stands in your way. Silicon Valley is the last place you’d look for hard-core fans of challenging Irish playwrights, but in recent years a few lines by Samuel Beckett have become a cliché in the startup culture there : “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”.

Retention is a Relationship

Spark Consulting

And you can’t claim to have a relationship with people you don’t know. This topic has come up frequently with clients in the past six months, both within full engagements, where we’ve been looking at how to increase membership, and in speaking engagements, where I’m trying to help chapter leaders learn how to be more effective. Retention is key to long-term membership growth and to maintaining vital, lively chapters.

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The Quantified Community

Higher Logic

Many people think that the Holy Grail for community managers is proving a community’s ROI. Wrong! In Rachel Happe’s Super Forum keynote address, she said that many people misunderstand this point. The Holy Grail for community managers isn’t proving ROI -- sometimes when you’re starting out, it’s negative -- it’s improving the value of your community to ultimately increase ROI. How do you increase your community’s value?

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Writing with Gusto

Reid All About it

If you’re looking for me, check out my food blog, Grabbing the Gusto. I write several times a week over there. You can also find me online writing on the blogs of some of the best technology vendors in the association market, but I’m doing that undercover in collaboration with some of the best brains in the industry. I’m also helping them with case studies, white papers, tip sheets and articles.

Don't Pick Your Next LMS Until You Read This Guide!

With so many factors and people to consider, how do you make sure you pick the right LMS? It’s simple: This guide covers crucial considerations with actionable advice and professional insights, so you know you’ve picked the perfect eLearning solution.

17 Free Non-profit Webinars For July 2015

Wild Apricot

This summer is a great time to get ahead on your non-profit education. Here's a list of 17 FREE live webinars that offer up a host of learning opportunities. webinar Wild Apricot

More Trending

Why Is Strategic Planning Repelling Association Boards?

SCD Group

“To dream big or dream small takes the same amount of energy. So, why not stretch a little bit?” – Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev A potential client called asking if I could facilitate a “deep dive session” on how to grow the association. As we talked, I shared with him the “strategic intent process” I use with organizations seeking to envision their future and create steps to help them get there. He said,“That’s it!”

Millennial-friendly meetings: Bring on the couches and big screens

Aaron Wolowiec

Google images of millennials and you’ll find young professionals connected to their smart phones and tablets. You might also find images of colorful workplaces and nontraditional desks. Maybe even a collaborative thinking space. Much to Baby Boomers’ chagrin, it’s a different world, especially since Gen Y now comprises the majority of the workforce. And with that comes a different set of expectations: Skype meetings and coffee shop conversations have replaced hours-long meetings.

20 Mantras Great Leaders Live By

Association Leaders

I came across a great blog posting recently related to – you guessed it – Leadership. What a cool story this blogger has to tell about their grandfather and the 20 Mantras of Great Leaders he developed through a business and teaching career. Read the full post here. I think my three favorite (maybe the ones I connect best with) are: 1. Followers choose leaders they trust, respect and feel comfortable with.

"Goodbye. Oh, and I'm Taking the Company Money with Me."


We've all heard of companies with excessive employee turnover. Sometimes the churn seems terminal. In response, we yearn for leadership to be caring, transparent and open-minded, saying something like: "Our turnover is atrocious and indefensible, and we must all work together to do something about it." Unfortunately, leaders often avoid the deeper problem, explaining away each employee defection as if external factors, personal issues, and unavoidably better job offers were to blame.

Build or Buy an LMS? How to Pick the Right Solution for Your Budget

BUDGET. When it comes to picking your next LMS that six-letter word is probably the most important part of the decision-making process. So, what are your options to get the best possible eLearning solution without breaking the bank? Build it or buy it. This guide from Lambda’s eLearning experts details absolutely everything you need to consider so you can pick the perfect eLearning solution for your organization and budget.

5 Associations Rethink Volunteerism


Join a group of volunteer evangelists as we explore new solutions for association volunteering on an Association Trends. webinar series. Tom Hood, CEO, Maryland Association of CPAs , Debra BenAvram, CEO, A.S.P.E.N. Rick Grimm, CEO for NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement , and Laura Garrison-Brook, President & CEO, Engaging Communities Consulting provide a look at 5 association case studies ranging from total governance overhaul to ad-hoc volunteering to a simple board training make-over

Stop guessing and start knowing

YourMembership Blog

Without a doubt, two of the most important shifts occurring in the association industry are the use of cloud and analytics. Data is enabling us to receive, store and retrieve information in real-time. What’s being done with that data will allow for members to have more access and for associations to provide members exactly what they’re asking for.

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.

There Are 100 Million Millennials - Are You Ready?

Higher Logic

Generations expert (and my co-author and partner) Jamie Notter recently posted this extensive article detailing some numbers research he has been doing around exactly how many Millennials there are. It’s important stuff, so I’m going to interrupt my regular column to point you to it. Here’s an excerpt: When you look at the most recent population projections from the Census Bureau, it gets even more interesting. This is what they have for the population in 2014: Baby Boomers: 65 million.

Need Remote Learning ASAP? Don’t Pick Your Next LMS Before Reading This!

Need to go remote or move your training programs online? Download this guide to identify and overcome the biggest eLearning challenges so you can pick the perfect LMS without wasting time, money, and effort, even if you are just starting your eLearning journey.

ASAE Annual Exhibitors Miss Another Opportunity

Reid All About it

Yesterday, one of my friends started a conversation on Facebook about all the post-show emails sent by ASAE Annual exhibitors. We’re not receiving nearly the deluge of emails that go out before the show, but, once again, many of these emails are missing the mark. Segment your list. You scanned badges. You know the names of the attendees who visited your booth during the show. Right?

Your Volunteers Rock! Be Sure to Tell Them How During National Volunteer Week

Wild Apricot

April 12 to 18th is National Volunteer Week in Canada and the U.S. Here are some resources to help you recognize and celebrate with your volunteers - including our Expert Webinar on "Converting Joiners to Stayers", tips and tools from Volunteer Canada and Points of Light. national volunteer week webinar Volunteers

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Why Associations Are Making Their Private Member Community the Centerpiece of Their Membership Marketing Strategy [Research]


Each year, membership marketing firm, Marketing General (MGI), publishes the results of their Membership Marketing Benchmarking survey. It is the association industry’s deepest look into trends, tools, and tactics. This year over 900 associations participated, making the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report one of the strongest narratives to date on how to grow membership.

How the CIPD communicated about its rebrand and got it right

Optimist Consulting

A rebrand for a membership organisation can be an important part of a new strategic direction. It can revitalise the organisation and engage members and potential members. However, it can also raise questions in members’ minds – ‘What did that cost?’ and ‘Why do we need that?’, so it was good to see how the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) approached it recently.

Need Remote Learning NOW? Get Online Quickly & Easily With This Can’t-Miss Guide

Remote learning is becoming more important than ever. Whether you’re scrambling to get your eLearning launched, or need to upgrade to meet increased demand, this guide will eliminate the guesswork so you can find your perfect LMS!

Bonus content – Event Garde e-news – October edition

Aaron Wolowiec

Kate Pojeta, conventions and exhibitions manager. Q & A with Kate Pojeta, conventions and exhibitions manager, Event Garde. Q: What are you looking most forward to in your role with EG? A: Event Garde has some amazing clients and I’m excited to be on the team to help conventions succeed. Conference planning was a part of my work experience for years, and then I took a little hiatus from it.

Are Great Leaders Lean?

Association Leaders

To most people, the concept of becoming “lean” connotes having less or doing more with less. For example, I am 35 pounds lean er than I was fifteen months ago. My company is managing more associations today with fewer employees than we did two years ago – we are lean er. To many businesspeople the concept of lean is also associated primarily with manufacturing businesses. It’s a concept that’s applied to the operations of the business, not to leadership.

The # 1 (yes, one) Thing an Association Needs.and, No, it's Not a Top-10 List


It could be leadership. It could be a strategic plan. It could be even something as simple as focus. But I'm going to try and make an argument for a different top ONE thing an association needs - something on the slightly newer side of the house: a chief revenue officer, or CRO. At the time of this writing, there were only two CRO jobs listed on indeed.com. Not exactly a trend.and not exactly a ringing endorsement for the one thing all organizations need. Worse, perhaps, is that I don't

Context, continuity, and generations

Golden's Rules for Association

A lot of self-help books and personal development coaches advise taking a break from your area of professional focus every now and then to read things entirely outside your field. In today’s world of mass media, information overload, and 24-hour-a-day, day jobs, that is increasingly hard to do. But I have found this to be […]. The Nature of Associations context mission


How to Avoid Fundraising’s Quiet Killer: Donor Attrition

Speaker: Jay Wilkinson, CEO & Founder, Firespring

It doesn't take an industry professional to know that nonprofits highly depend on donations. The marketing emails, events, and website design are meant to attract new donors, when what we should be doing is trying to keep the donors we have. Teach a man donor acquisition and he'll get donations for the day--teach a man donor retention and he'll get donations for a lifetime. John Jay Wilkinson, CEO and founder of Firespring, and learn how to get donations for a lifetime. In this session, Jay will help us learn how to step off of the donor acquisition treadmill and rev up donor retention. Six out of ten donors give only once, but this doesn’t have to be your reality. Jay will help us understand how a 10% increase in donor retention will more than double the lifetime value of a donor and minimize our reliance on producing constant appeals for new donors.

The Top 5 Qualities of Great Customer Service Relationships: A Technology Perspective

YourMembership Blog

Quinn Brady, Vice President, Customer Success at YourMembership. Hello! Please allow me to introduce myself as the new Vice President of Customer Success at Yourmembership. It is my pleasure to make your virtual acquaintance. As this is a new role for me, our marketing team requested that I write a blog for you, which you will find below. Please enjoy. Although I am now recognized as YourMembership’s VP of Customer Success, customer service is integrated into every level of our business.

Leading Engagement from the Outside-In

Spark Consulting

I’m excited to share the launch of the sixth whitepaper in the ongoing Spark whitepaper series, Leading Engagement from the Outside-In: Become an Indispensable Partner in Your Members’ Success. Co-authored with Anna Caraveli ( The Demand Networks ), the whitepaper tackles the question: if engagement is so critical to associations (and we would argue that it is), why aren’t we doing a better job of it?

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Meet Your Community Managers: Jenny Taylor

Higher Logic

Ever wonder who the people behind the curtain are here at Higher Logic? We're introducing you to our three community managers. They’ll talk about why they love community management, helpful resources to use and weigh in on the dog versus cat debate (as you can see, this is serious stuff…). We hope you enjoy getting to know the first community manager we’re introducing, Jenny Taylor. Q: What excites you about community management?

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The ASAE Annual Exhibitor Email Deluge

Reid All About it

Every year, when I register for the ASAE Annual Meeting, I check the box to receive emails from exhibitors. As a writer/marketer, I like seeing how vendors in my community use email marketing. Some of them do it well, but some, oh boy, they really blow it. The list ASAE provides to exhibitors includes association execs and staff as well as consultant members like myself. Ideally, an exhibitor would scrub and segment this list because it includes people with a variety of job titles and needs.

AMC-Managed Organizations are More Stable than Standalone Organizations

Why do organizations managed by Association Management Companies outperform standalone organizations? This paper seeks to answer that question through the results of a study examining the rates of change in the length of chief staff executive tenure and changes in office locations of membership-based organizations between 2009 and 2015.

Free Expert Webinar: Converting Volunteers From Joiners to Stayers

Wild Apricot

Effective volunteer onboarding can lead to more motivated, satisfied volunteers – who not only join, but stay and become actively engaged. Here are details on our upcoming free Expert Webinar about Volunteer Onboarding with Tobi Johnson. webinar Volunteers


5 People You Need on Your Association's Online Community Management Team


Regardless of how talented your community managers are, it takes more than community professionals to create a sustainable community that provides consistent engagement and value. According to research from The Community Roundtable , “investing sufficiently in community teams so that the community is integrated across functional areas of the organization” increases both visibility with, and value to, the organization.”.

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Think QUICK for Better Board Members

Association Management

I’ve written before about how Boards need to be willing to drop bad members from the Board. Deadwood can kill a Board. But what makes a good Board member? Think QUICK. Q uestions: The best Board members have the courage to ask the hard questions of staff and their fellow Board members. U nderstanding: Board members don’t have to be subject matter experts, but they must take the time to develop an understanding of the organization and its mission.