Summer Update

I am having a hard time understanding that it is almost labor day.  Well, the summer has flown by, yes, I am seriously behind on posting here.  I guess it is time for an update on what I have been up to this summer.  Earlier this year I stepped in to Chair the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executive’s Education Committee.  This left me tasked with developing the content and program for our Mid-Year Meeting, which was held way back in April at Philadelphia.  The event had great numbers and the program was well received.  Also in April was my client’s Annual Forum, which serves as our major conference of the year.  We went to Scottsdale, AZ, which was a change of pace for the organization.  All in all it was a very successful event both in terms of attendance numbers but also in the feedback from the attendees.  The weather was just an added bonus!

The rest of the summer has been busy in other ways.  We have been hard at work finishing our ANSI Accreditation Application for our certification program.  Part of that was implementing a new policy/document management system.  This in it of itself was a huge undertaking.  We have been developing new policies and procedures while also revising current ones so that we can meet our ANSI needs.  Formalizing our processes through a policy management software has been good for us, but it has been work both in implementation and practice.  In the end though I am confident it will have been the right decision to go with it.  In addition to that we just finished implemented a new AMS system in Timberlake.

Earlier this month I headed out to Atlanta for the ASAE Annual Meeting.  Atlanta was a great host and the conference was top-notch.  This year I was able to find exactly what I needed content wise.

That brings us to now.  In September I am looking forward to attending the ASAE NextGen Summit in Reno, NV.  The ASAE is bringing together a select group of association professionals under 35 to discuss the state of young professionals in associations.  I am excited to share my thoughts and participate with the group.

Lastly, I am starting to ramp up study efforts for the CAE exam.  I am hoping to sit for the exam in December.  I have spent some time studying here and there, but I am starting a more scheduled routine to make sure I am ready for the exam come December.

Should be an exciting and busy end to 2013!  I will be sure to be a bit more active for the rest of the year.

 

Membership Madness Revisited

Recently, Talley’s Association Management Services Division made the trip to the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives’ March Membership Madness half day education session.  Led by Todd Von Deak, CAE and Ethan Gray, CAE, the session provided a unique overview of multiple membership issues.  Instead of a traditional session focused on issues that Todd and Ethan picked out, this session was totally crowd sourced.  The direction of the session was dependent on the attendees and what they wanted to cover.  This unique session format provided the attendees the opportunity to engage not only with the presenters, but also fellow attendees; which included a group of attendees who attended via virtual video conference.

So, what did we cover?  First, we dove into member retention; something every association faces.  Some key points were how to identify your year one touch points for members.  How are you contacting your members in their first year of membership?  Are you making a good first impression, one that will make a member’s renewal decision a no-brainer?  Another point was how often you are seeking feedback from your members.  Are you surveying your first year members in some format, to get a feel for their perceived value in their membership?  This does not have to come from a standard survey, but it can come from informal communications and direct calls to check in with new members.  Continue reading

Walking in the Board’s Shoes

Last week was a first for me.  I attended my first Board of Directors Meeting as a Director and not as a staff person.  This past November I was elected to the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives Board.  Having the opportunity to take a step into the role of a Director was something I have looked forward to.  The fact that it is with a group like MASAE, one that I have found tremendous value in was even better.  Continue reading

Team Innovation

The past few days I have watched a series on the History channel about some early American entrepreneurs,  Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt.  There was a quote from Jack Welch on innovation.  His main point was that for a company to be successful they need to innovate and that does not mean that the company needs some big bold idea every time, but they need to continue to find better ways to deliver a product or to improve the services they already provide.  This has been a topic I have had on my mind over the past few weeks and something I had brought up during a few staff meetings about team innovation.  What got me started on this topic was an article on FastCompany.com  by Soren Kaplan "4 Strategies For Winning Over Innovation Naysayers."  

Not that I was dealing with a team of naysayers, but this article was helpful in just developing a better platform for why I expect innovation from my team.  Too often it seemed that we had these lines drawn in the sand preventing our teams from offering up input on how to improve a process or service outside of their area of expertise.  Like the thought that innovation does not need to be some big, new product, it can be a better way to deliver a service or product; this type of innovation can happen at all levels within your team and across divisions.

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Optimize Your Membership Renewal Campaign

Like many organizations the last few months of the year means renewal time.  This is the time of the year where you find out if you have been engaging your members, if they are finding the value in their membership.  It’s time to craft that message that reminds your members of your association’s importance.  In a time when communication with your members is often 24/7 through the expanding role of email, social networks, and your association website you need to ensure your membership plan is up to date.  Make sure you are having a consistent message and taking advantage of the outlets that your members are using to communicate.  Here are a few things to consider when you get ready for your renewal campaign.  

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Where Did Summer Go?

Is it really mid October already?  The summer came and went a bit to fast.  ASAE was a great time, but came right in the middle of what I call the busy season for the day job.  In addition to getting ready for our own meeting and examination I was in the process of on-boarding a new team member, a first time for me and my first direct report.  This was a bit more time intensive than I had originally planned.  Going into the winter I am looking forward to having my team settled into place and focusing on some of our long term goals.  I also plan on staying a bit more active on here and return to posting regularly.  Until next time…

For Association Management Professionals