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.


Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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?

CA 258

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.

The Pro’s Guide To Getting The Best ROI From Your New LMS

You need a Learning Management System when your courses and training programs need to be accessible online. Quickly build the perfect business case and easily determine which LMS will provide the best return on investment you need with this how-to eBook!

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.

eLearning demand is at an all-time high. Pick the right LMS!

The need for online learning is greater than ever having the right LMS is absolutely crucial. Quickly, easily, and cost-effectively decide which Learning Management System is right for you with this 12-step guide from LMS implementation experts.

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.

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.

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.

17 Free Non-profit Webinars for May 2015

Wild Apricot

Spring is here and there are lots of fresh new ideas for non-profits in a host of free webinars popping up this May! Check out the round-up of 17 free webinars. Non-profits webinar


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 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.

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


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!

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?

Course 254

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?

Tools 233

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?

Webinar Survey 2021 Association Universe

Can you believe we are in 2021? 2020 was a challenging year for association executives & management professionals. Here at Association Universe, we have worked tirelessly to provide guidance and a sense of community for our viewers. Association Universe’s many thought-leaders eased the physical distance between us by sharing their wisdom and empathy. Our goal is that through our webinars, we helped make 2020 as rewarding as it was challenging. We would love for you to share your experience about how webinars have affected your learning, and also your thoughts on how to make it better. The total time to complete the survey is 3-5 minutes. To view the survey, click the “View Now” button below:

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

Tips 329

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.”.

Team 202

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.